The biennial Power in Action autumn cultivations demonstration took place on the 9th September
The biennial Power in Action autumn cultivations demonstration took place on the 9th September on more than 150 acres at Thurlow, near Haverhill, Suffolk. David Williams reports.
The event is organised by Farmers Guide in conjunction with Suffolk Farm Machinery Club and is always held on heavy land, which provides a challenge for machinery working. This year’s event was no exception with conditions which were especially demanding, as the Hanslope series clay proved difficult to break down having just dried out enough for the event to go ahead after heavy rain during the preceding 10 days.
Almost 1,000 farmers attended the event, despite there being a lot of wheat still to harvest in the area and feedback from exhibitors was extremely positive, with many reporting a large number of enquiries for follow up later, as well as requests for on-site demonstrations. Orders were taken on the day, despite many of the machines struggling in the conditions that were so challenging that even some of the ploughs blocked up and were unable to work successfully.
Many of the cultivation products working were being demonstrated in public for the first time in the UK, ahead of their official debut at Tillage Live the following week. There was also at least one tractor seen working in the UK for the first time. Almost all the major brands were represented at the event, which included manufacturers, dealers and importers.
Feedback from visitors to the demonstration was very positive; including one Lincolnshire farmer who commented that he attends every Power in Action, because he knows that if a machine will work on the site chosen, then it will perform on his own farm.
Thanks are due to Thurlow Estate Farms for allowing us the use of the land for the demonstration and to all the exhibitors who brought products and machinery to show, and to the many farmers and contractors who attended to see the machines working.
Ernest Doe & Sons was demonstrating its New Holland and Case IH tractor brands as well as cultivation machinery from Great Plains, Dal-Bo, Horsch and Lemken. Pictured with the Lemken Rubin 12 compact disc cultivator are Lemken UK and Ernest Doe representatives (l-r) Chris Scott, Paul Creasy, Ernest Doe sales director Graham Parker, Niels Veltmann and Aaron Graves. “The Rubin 12 has been especially popular this year,” explained Graham, “due to its ability to move soil across the whole profile even when used for shallow stubble cultivations.” The two rows of large 736mm symmetrically arranged discs penetrate easily and cope effortlessly with post-harvest trash and the heavy rear press consolidates the soil to retain moisture and encourage germination of weed seeds in the stale seedbed. Graham said there were a large number of orders placed before harvest as farmers anticipated demand for such a machine, but that the weather since harvest had resulted in many more orders being placed. “Farmers are telling us that they need to change their techniques for establishing crops and adapt to tackle the increasing grass weed problems,” explained Graham. “Many are cultivating well ahead of the drilling operation, to give weeds seeds time to grow and be treated and then the crops are planted with a minimum of soil disturbance,” he said. The Rubin 12 is available in 3-6m working widths including mounted 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0m rigid and 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0m hydraulic folding versions with a Uni-wheel which carries much of the weight during transport, and allows use with smaller tractors.
J Brock & Sons has its base close to the event site, near Thaxted in Essex, and was exhibiting and demonstrating a selection of products. The company manufactures cultivation equipment and also imports and supplies Farmet cultivators and TWB subsoilers and mole drainers. Replacement wearing parts are supplied too including the Speed-loc range of points, coulters and shares from Bourgault. “We stock and supply genuine and non-genuine wearing parts and find strong demand for both,” explained J Brock & Sons sales manager Derry Morton.
The Farmet range includes cultivators of all types and operating widths and was shown and demonstrated at the Cereals event in June, but creating considerable interest at Power in Action was Brock’s own Under Burst 6m folding cultivator. Designed for deep cultivations to break up the plough pan, it can be used fully extended, or folded on smaller tractors. The number of tines and their spacing is adjustable. The most popular version, with a standard heavy-duty rear packer, as shown, is priced at 18,250.
Opico Maschio demonstrated a Perfecta 3m combination disc drill and a 6m Primavera tine seeder at the event, and was working with its dealer for the area, Ernest Doe. “Maschio products have enjoyed a very successful year,” said Maschio sales manager David Day (pictured). “We have seen strong demand which has really bucked the overall trend in machinery sales as the brand name is becoming more widely recognised with a solid reputation for excellent reliability. The manufacturer has invested heavily in the products and assistance available to us and, as a result, we have been able to provide very high levels of support to customers, before sale and after, including running very successful demonstration campaigns.”
As in previous years, Suzuki GB supplied ATVs for the stewards to use, making it easier for them to provide support to visitors and exhibitors across the large event site. Pictured with the ATVs are Farm Machinery Club members and stewards Ian Dryden and Chris Keeble.
On-hand to explain the features and benefits of the Gregoire Besson product range were Ben Burgess sales and service staff as well as representatives from the manufacturer. The new Crossland cultivator was well suited to the working conditions, and is available in 3.0-4.5m mounted versions and 4.0-8.0m trailed, but Gregoire Besson UK managing director Rob Immink explained that there are wider versions, up to 12m, in development currently. The 3m model demonstrated has 10 Euro-chisel tines each fitted with point and goose shares followed by a set of rear leveling discs and an Impak rear press. “It has lots of clearance for trash,” explained Rob, “and the outer leveling discs are easily removed and stowed on the machine for transport to provide a 3m transport width. Tine spacing is 306mm but it is available also with 13 tines providing 230mm spacing. A special offer price for the version displayed was available, at 9,500.
Pictured with the popular Crossland cultivator are; (l-r) Rob Immink, Ben Burgess area sales manager from the dealer’s Coates, Cambridgeshire branch James Aspden and Gregoire Besson service manager Josh Spence.
Thurlow Nunn Standen is a main Agco dealer with branches in Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, its franchises including Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Valtra and Challenger as well as many premium implement brands. In its working area were products from Kverneland, Opico and Keeble Brothers which all created considerable interest from visitors.
Pictured with the Opico He-Va Combi-Disc are (l-r) Opico representatives Charlie Thompson and Glenn Bootman, and from Thurlow Nunn Standen; Richard King, Simon Bonfield, Steve Plumb, Sam Albutt and James Clarke. The Combi-Disc was launched this year and is available currently in just a 3m version and Power in Action was its first public working demonstration in the area. The Combi-Disc is a deep tine and disc cultivator, with tines in front followed by two rows of discs and a rear packer, and all elements are adjustable from the cab. “It is very versatile,” explained Opico He-Va territory manager for the area, Glenn Bootman. “The operator can select all the working elements, or use just the discs or legs, to suit the conditions, so it is totally universal. Hydraulic auto-reset legs are standard allowing the break-back force to be adjusted to suit the conditions.”
Pecks AgriTrac is a main Case IH and JCB dealer with branches in Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Norfolk and was demonstrating the latest JCB Fastrac 4000-series tractors working with products from the Amazone range, for which it is also a dealer.
Two Fastracs were working; both 4220s with up to 235hp available from their 6.6-litre Sisu engines operating through a CVT transmission for optimum efficiency. An Amazone AP-P3000 drill was on one of the Fastracs and a Catros disc cultivator was on the other, behind a TL deep soil loosener.
“The Fastrac 4000-series has been well received by farmers and contractors,” commented Mel Neale, who is a JCB sales specialist based at Pecks’ Ely depot. “Demonstrations tend to generate very positive feedback with few criticisms and orders that have been placed so far have been as much from owners of other brands as existing Fastrac users. Operating speed and comfort have proved especially popular and features such as the 4-wheel steering and CVT transmission aid productivity. These new tractors have everything our customers have been asking for, for a very long time.”
The Amazone franchise was awarded to Pecks in 2013, and the move proved immediately successful with increased sales of its products in the trading area. “We enjoy being able to supply the Amazone range,” said Mel. “It has an excellent reputation and the spreaders are known for their performance and accuracy. We have sold several Pantera self-propelled sprayers and the latest cultivation products are generating a lot of interest too. Those who have already taken delivery are very impressed, and we are seeing increased numbers of enquiries from neighbours of existing users.”
Pictured with the two demonstration Fastracs are (left) Mel Neale with Amazone area sales manager who looks after the Pecks AgriTrac account, Rupert Batho.
Power in Action was the first opportunity to see Pottinger’s Fox Aerosem drill working. The Aerosem seed drill is available currently in 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0m working widths with rigid bodies, but is will be available in wider working widths in a folding format later. The drill is very versatile, being capable of mounting over different cultivators from the company’s range and changed over quickly, to suit varying conditions. “Most sold in the UK have our dual disc coulter system from our larger Terrasem drills,” explained Pottinger UK general manager Shaun Groom. “Basic mechanical drive can be specified, which includes electronic control of tramlining, or there is the option to step up to an electronic system with Isobus compatibility for control and variable rate planting. There is also a more advanced system which provides full electronic control through our IDS distributor and this allows the operator to shut off any combination of rows, which means the drill can cope easily with different wheel track settings used on different farms, an ideal feature for contractors.
“Precision Combi Seeding (PCS) can be specified too, which allows maize drilling units to be mounted on the standard drill coulter frame and this makes the drill suitable for maize and cereal establishment, providing a cost-effective solution for farmers. UK users have been particularly interested in a drill which can be used for both crops and we already have several units out working,” he added.
At the event the Aerosem drill was mounted on a new Fox short disc cultivator which, Shaun explained, is also proving popular for mounting on the rear of slurry tankers for incorporation of slurry, due to its light weight and compact size.
The combination demonstrated at the event was priced at 39,338, which included 9,895 for the Fox cultivator and 29,443 for the drill, complete with electronic metering.
Shaun Groom is pictured (left) with Shaun Kent, Pottinger’s recently appointed territory manager for East Anglia and the south-east.
On the Knight Farm Machinery working area, the Bednar Terraland, Fenix and Swifterdisc cultivators were in action. Knight began importing Bednar products during 2014, having previewed some of the products at Power in Action during 2013, to gauge customer opinion.
Most interest is in the Terraland cultivator because it is different to what most other manufacturers have available,” explained Knight sales manager David Main. “The Terraland provides a viable alternative to a plough, but requires much less power to pull it, and offers considerably higher work rates. The 3m version is equivalent in terms of work-rate to a 7f reversible plough but needs just half the power. It mixes trash thoroughly throughout the soil profile for maximum soil contact so that it breaks down quickly and it doesn’t create a mat. We have seen a great deal of interest from maize growers keen to smash the stubble and cultivate it in rather than plough.”
Pictured with the Terraland is David (left) with Knight northern area sales manager Dan Hutchison.
Power in Action was the first public demonstration at which the Kockerling Rebel heavy-duty compact disc cultivator was working. Kockerling importer, Samagri Ltd explained that this is the first disc cultivator imported from the Kockerling range, and its introduction was in response to requests from farmers and contractors for a disc cultivator capable of dealing with high levels of crop residue after harvest, as well as cover crops. “We have had a great deal of interest in the Rebel,” reported managing director Steve Berry, “and its performance here at the event attracted several requests for demonstrations, including one on our journey back to our Hampshire base this evening. On this ground, big discs proved a good option.”
Agrihire managing director Tim Hubert is pictured with a Kongskilde PowerTill power harrow which was on show. “We are excited to have been appointed Kongskilde dealers for East Anglia as it is a well-respected range of traditional products and will certainly complement our McCormick tractor range well,” he said.
One of the largest working combinations at Power in Action was Ernest Doe’s demonstration New Holland T9-560 with up to 557hp available, with a Great Plains SLD420 a and tine cultivator.
Great Plains equipment demonstrated by the dealer at the event included the SLD 420, the Centurion CDA 600 drill and the DTX. “The SLD proved its worth in challenging ground conditions in both surface and deeper soil-loosening operations, while the DD700 rear roller left the ideal finish for weathering ahead of seeding with the Centurion,” said Jason Weston of Great Plains. “The DTX also performed well on the heavy soil and the adjustable disc angling function on both machines really came into its own. A number of enquiries taken at the show from Ernest Doe staff have already been converted into firm sales,” he added.
Claydon Drills demonstration area was busy throughout the event. Managing director Jeff Claydon farms just a few miles from Thurlow and developed his company’s range of direct drills to cope with the heavy land. As well as the latest Hybrid drill, capable of direct drilling, drilling into min-tilled or ploughed land, the company has developed a range of straw harrows and rolls, to complement the drills. Pictured with the rolls which, Jeff commented, have been particularly popular are (l-r) Luke Edgeley, Jeff Claydon, Lee Fisher, Stephen Edgeley and Frank Claydon. The Edgeleys are arable farmers, based at Chatteris, Cambridgeshire and they farm approximately 930ha (2,300 acres) of land stubble-to-stubble, with crops including potatoes, wheat, oilseed rape, sugar beet as well as winter and spring barley. Luke and Stephen had come to the event with machinery operator Lee Fisher to look at cultivation equipment and rolls.
Suffolk-based Agrihire demonstrated a used Dowdeswell plough from its current stock, as well as Kongskilde implements, for which it has recently been appointed a main dealer. The company took on the McCormick tractor franchise during 2014, and the latest X7-670 Power Plus model, with CVT transmission was operating the plough, the first time the tractor had been seen working at a public demonstration. The CVT transmission allows up to four virtual speed operating ranges to be programmed, to suit different uses or operating conditions. “We are very pleased to have it here,” commented Agrihire managing director Tim Hubert. “It is pulling six 14in furrows with ease on this heavy land, at 5-7kph. It is putting its 188hp maximum power down to the ground well and visitors to the event have been very impressed. It is a tough market generally, but we have the right products, particularly with the recently launched tractors with their CVT transmissions which customers have been waiting for, and we remain busy with our traditional activities; hiring and selling our own range of muck spreaders, and servicing and repairing Dowdeswell ploughs.
Tim is pictured (left) with McCormick sales executive Dick Bath.
East Anglia based Quivogne UK displayed one of its huge Perard grain chaser wagons and demonstrated several machines from its cultivation range. The Sub Evo 6m 12-leg folding subsoiler was shown working for the first time in the UK, behind a Case IH Quadtrac. The Sub Evo is capable of working down to 16in and has a double-acting hydraulic rear linkage capable of accommodating a 6m drill, to work directly behind the loosener, and there is also a heavy-duty hitch to take a trailed implement. The subsoiler is designed to achieve low disturbance close to the surface and its performance on the heavy land of the demonstration area was impressing event visitors throughout the day. The Sub Evo folds to just 2.5m for transport and costs 15,500.
Pictured with the Quivogne mole drainer are; (l-r) Quivogne UK sales director Ben Clowes, Will Partridge, Tony Clowes and Hugh Partridge. Trading as HM Partridge & Co Ltd, the Partridges farm near Ipswich and purchased a similar machine two years ago. “We are on fairly heavy soils,” explained Hugh, “and the Quivogne mole drainer is well designed requiring little power to pull it. It is linkage mounted which makes it easy to use, and short too, so it is great for working up to headland drains.”
The large Perard grain chaser wagon had been borrowed back for the day from its owner, nearby Bartlow Estate, and Ben said its performance this harvest has impressed its users, saving time, damage to the field and fuel. An unloading rate of 29t of oilseed rape in just 58 seconds and its ability to unload with the auger in any position had enabled it to replace several trailers.
Conditions at Power in Action provided a challenging environment for any of the rolls on site to be demonstrated, but the Dal-Bo Maxirolls on the Ernest Doe Power stand attracted a great deal of interest. Seen working in public for the first time was the Maxiroll black-grass harrow, attached to a set of 12m rolls. “Working conditions were difficult,” explained Dal-Bo UK sales manager Steve Atkin, “but we have been unfolding and folding the rolls for potential customers to see the clever design which is quick, and practical. Rolls are being considered more a part of the cultivations process by farms in recent years, and having the right type of roll to suit the land is important. We have sold seven sets of our largest 18m rolls so far this year, and there are always requests for even larger versions. Rolls have kept us busy all year, and this event has been no exception. We have sold the set of rolls which was demonstrated on the stand to a visitor to the event today, and he is collecting them direct from the site tomorrow.”
Pictured with the set of Maxirolls sold at the event are (l-r) Ernest Doe Power, Fyfield branch sales executives Ian Kirby and Charlie Webber, with Steve Atkin.
British Sugar provided an informative demonstration aimed at encouraging farmers to consider the effects of different tyre equipment on soils. Working with Richard Western, which had supplied several identical trailers, and Vredestein which had equipped the trailers with tyres of various specifications, the demonstration involved travelling with the loaded trailers over cultivated land to assess the performance of the different tyres. Super singles are cheap, but had created deep ruts at their correct inflation pressure of 85psi, while Vredestein 560/65R22.5 low ground pressure tyres, operating at their recommended road transport pressures of 3.6 bar, (50psi) performed considerably better and the same tyres operating at their recommended field pressure of just 1.8 bar (25psi) had created only shallow ruts, through which could clearly be seen the tractor tyre tread marks. “We see 15-20 per cent of farm trailers still running on super singles,” explained British Sugar area manager Philip Reeve. “This demonstration clearly shows that, whether transporting beet or cereals from the fields, there is a significant advantage to running trailers on flotation tyres inflated to the correct pressures. Look after the soil structure and nutrition, and arable yields will follow. It is all about attention to detail.”
Pictured examining the wheel marks are (l-r) Philip Reeve, Matt Cobbald, Oliver Cobbald and Vredestein agricultural tyre specialist Eddie Lonergan. Brothers, Matt and Oliver farm at Little Bentley near Colchester.
Suffolk Agri-Centre is based at Pakenham near Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk and is the main Deutz-Fahr dealer for the area. The company also took on the Amazone implement franchise during 2014 and Suffolk Agri-Centre managing director David Eley commented that the appointment has been well-received by local farmers and the full range of products are in demand. “We have sold machines from across the range,” he said, “including a large trailed sprayer, a Pantera self-propelled sprayer and many of the smaller mounted sprayers which are well suited to many farms in the area. Drills and power harrows as well as cultivators are all in strong demand, so we are really pleased to have just three or four main quality brands to offer, which satisfy the needs of most of our customers, The Deutz-Fahr tractors are proving superb, and delighting users with their performance and ease of use. We have sold several of the black Warrior special edition 7250 tractors too,” he added.
Working at the demonstration were a Deutz-Fahr 6180 C-shift and a 6180 CVT, as well as the latest addition to the range – the flagship 9-series which was seen working at a public demonstration in the UK for the first time. “We have had lots of interest in the 9-series tractors,” said David, and this one is travelling from here direct to a farm for an on-site demonstration.”
David Eley is pictured (centre) with Deutz-Fahr UK managing director Mark Ormond (left) and Amazone area sales manager Rupert Batho.