A high output, high tech combine harvester and a revolutionary new product to protect potato crops from soil pests, were the winners of the Farmers Guide Awards for Excellence 2019. The ceremony was held at the idyllic Hintlesham Hall near Ipswich, Suffolk on 13th March.
Farm machinery manufacturer Agco’s leading brands; Massey Ferguson and Fendt were the recipients of the ‘Machinery’ award category for their Ideal Combine, while agrochemical company Bayer CropScience scooped the ‘Arable’ prize for its potato nematicide, Velum Prime.
The ‘Awards for Excellence’, now in their 4th year was created to highlight excellence within the farming industry and commemorate the magazine founders, Doug and Florence Potts.
As well as representatives of Massey Ferguson, Fendt and Bayer CropScience, also in attendance were supporting farm machinery dealers TNS; Chandlers; Peacock & Binnington; RW Crawford and Wilfred Scruton.
Speaking at the event, Farmers Guide machinery editor, David Williams, who presented the awards to Massey Ferguson and Fendt personnel, said that while combine design has remained largely unchanged since the 1970s, the Ideal offers new technology offering genuine advantages for users.
“Starting with a pair of wheels at maximum permissible transport width, Agco’s design team designed the new combine from the ground up with revolutionary new threshing, separating and cleaning technology. It’s relatively simple, offers class-leading performance, it’s very user-friendly and promises low operating costs.
“Since my test-drive report was published last summer I have been astounded at the levels of interest and excitement from potential users, and the Massey Ferguson and Fendt dealers who will be selling it. It’s a very worthy winner.”
Farmers Guide editor, Dominic Kilburn said that Bayer’s new product to control potato cyst nematode (PCN) – a soil-based pest that costs the industry about £26m each year in lost yields – was a stand out product launched in the past year.
“Velum Prime is the first new product available to farmers to tackle this problem pest for 20 years and, importantly, it is used at a fraction of the rate of existing products, giving it a favourable environmental profile while costing growers far less to use.
“In addition, the product comes in a liquid form (rather than granular, like others) making it far easier to apply during potato planting operations.
“It will be a key benefit if it performs as trials have indicated. Anything that can help to control PCN at a reasonable cost is something that growers can’t ignore.
“Available for use this spring, Velum Prime is a worthy winner for this year’s Arable award and it has the potential to be a big plus factor for potato growers across the country,” he concluded.
The event was boosted by the appearance of an Ideal Combine delivered by Fendt UK, and which provided the perfect backdrop for the post-awards photographs.