An ambitious ‘arrive and drive’ event at two locations allowed new and existing Claas Eastern customers to try out handling, spreading and cultivation products, all on the same day. David Williams attended.
Claas Eastern looks after customers in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire from its seven branches and represents premium brands including Lemken, Samson and KRM to complement its main Claas range.
Two autumn demonstration days were arranged; at Hemswell, Lincs and High Mowthorpe, North Yorkshire. Both included the full range of Claas tractors from 90–530hp, Claas Torion articulated loaders, new Scorpion telescopic handlers, Lemken cultivators and drills, Samson spreaders and slurry applicators, Cherry Products loader and handler attachments and KRM Bogballe fertiliser spreaders.
“It’s the first time we have held working demonstrations including the full range of Claas tractors,” explained Claas Eastern manager Richard Sharman. “These were all paired with cultivation equipment, or spreaders loaded by the Torion and Scorpion handlers.
“This style of event where customers can arrive and drive machines with guidance from our product specialists has proved successful, and we were pleasantly surprised that many attending were keen to try models from across the whole range. This generated very positive feedback, with many commenting on the significant range improvements over the past 14 years.”
The event attracted farmers and contractors from across the trading area and Richard said the sales teams will be very busy preparing quotations and arranging on-farm demonstrations as a result of enquiries generated.
“We asked customers to complete a simple questionnaire as they left and will use this feedback when planning events in future,” Richard continued. “We would like to thank everyone who attended, making the days a success and the landowners for allowing us use of the two superb venues.”
Claas Eastern took on the Samson franchise at the start of this year, responding to customer requests for reliable and high performance spreaders and slurry applicators. Customers in the trading area include all sizes and types of farm and spreaders are needed for solids including livestock manure, compost and digestate from anaerobic digesters, and slurry applicators are mainly for liquids from livestock farms and AD plants. “So far demand has been predominently from large arable farms,” commented Richard Sharman, “and is mostly for 17 and 19t spreaders equipped with discs and beaters.”
Samson offers two spreader ranges; the SP with capacities 9–17m3 and the higher specification Flex from 16–23m3. SP models have vertical beaters and are mainly for manure. “Samson was the first manufacturer to fit vertical beaters in the 1970s,” explained Samson export sales manager Svend Skov Olesen. “Our exclusive split spiral design means the lower section spreads to the centre and the upper section spreads out wide for optimum distribution.”
Samson builds its own gearboxes to cope with a high 540rpm rotor speed for fine chopping and a wide spread width. A flat 30mm chain drive is used for the double carpet feed system ensuring a long working life, and a more rugged 40mm chain is used for Flex models. All are available with automatic bed chain tensioning and 90 per cent of machines sold in the UK are specified with it fitted. “It saves wear on the bottom chain,” said Svend. “It allows easier reversing of the bed feed if blockages occur and, because it shares the oil circuit driving the bed motor, if the load increases then bed tension increases with it. It’s a simple but practical design.”
Drive to the beaters is direct from the PTO by slip clutch. Bodies are Domex steel, which is three times stronger than standard steel and lighter, and Svend said this saves 1–2t of unladen weight compared with other spreaders of similar capacity. Inside width is 2.05m and the body tapers front to rear, helping the load empty easily. Large wheels are set well back optimising drawbar weight and drawbar suspension is standard.
Flex models can be fitted with discs or beaters, and swapping between the two takes just 1–2 hours. The discs provide an overlapping spread pattern for even application.
Increased accuracy is available through the volumetric dosing option which automatically adjusts the rear door opening and bed speed to maintain spread rate, regardless of travel speed.
Pictured with the SP and Flex spreaders at the event are (l-r) Richard, Svend and Samson service engineer Adrien Griffon.
Claas displayed Torion loading shovels for the first time at Lamma this year and product specialist Alastair Bourne (pictured) said they have been very well received. “To date most sales have been the mid-sized model,” he explained, “but we have also sold four larger machines and demand has been from both farmers and contractors.”
He said high productivity and low fuel consumption have proved attractive while the main applications have been for handling and loading silage, grain, muck, straw and woodchip and that dealers have many customers waiting for demonstrations as soon as the root crop harvest starts.
Alastair said the 40-degree steering angle is seen as a big advantage and the overall specification has been well received by agricultural users.
“We have also had great feedback from those already operating Liebherr loaders in the UK who are delighted that Claas is providing back-up through its dealers,” he added.
Another advantage of the Liebherr design, pointed out Alastair, is the low-revving engine, reducing operating noise and fuel consumption. “Even while pushing on the silage clamp, it doesn’t sound as though it is working hard. Contractors who have tried it have commented that farmers refilling the fuel tank as it leaves the farm have been surprised at the small volume needed compared with other brands.
“Overall it’s a great package from the excellent performance to low running and ownership costs, and the after sales support from our dealer network,” he said.
Sales of KRM products by Claas Eastern have increased this year explained technical sales representative for central England, Michael Britton. New models added earlier this year are selling well and stocks of the previous version sold out quickly.
“We have seen increased demand for Isobus-compatible models,” added area sales representative Ted Barker. “Almost everyone wants variable rate capability with section control and full spread control from the tractor screen.”
Michael Britton (left) and Ted are pictured at the event with the latest M35W spreader which was launched earlier this year replacing previous M2W versions. “It’s the same basic design but offers precise application at even higher spread rates and it’s easier to clean after use too,” said Michael.
The Lincolnshire demonstration was on land farmed by Limestone Farming Company, owned by Graham Rowles Nicholson. Farm manager Stuart Meeson explained that approximately 1,900ha is farmed at the location and crops include winter wheat, winter and spring barley, oilseed rape, sugar beet, vining peas and maize for the farm’s 0.5MW AD plant. Livestock include 320 suckler cows and 750 sows and fatteners. Much of the machinery is supplied by Claas Eastern and sales representative John Bell, based at the Brigg depot, looks after the account. Claas tractors include an elderly 697 and newer Arion 630, 640 and 650 models plus an Axion 950. A Lexion 770TT combine harvests all the cereals. “When I came to the farm 14 years ago there was no Claas machinery,” said Stuart. “One of my first major changes was replacing two previous combines with one Claas. I knew about Claas reliability and the level of service back-up from a previous role so was confident relying on one machine. Then we tried a tractor and it proved popular with users being far more comfortable than our other brands at that time. It was reliable too and when we needed anything the dealer always looked after us well and we gradually added more Claas tractors, updating them every five years.”
Stuart said the Claas Maxi Care service package has proved worthwhile for the tractors and combine. “We know from the start what we will be paying through the life of the machine,” he explained.
Stuart is pictured (left) with John Bell.
Lemken’s Solitair 6m power harrow combination drill created considerable interest at the event. “With its central wheels it can be used on tractors from just 250hp,” explained Richard Sharman. “It’s versatile too and the drill can be removed allowing just the power harrow to be used if required. Many farms want high work rates and precise drilling performance but don’t have larger tractors to lift the weight, and so the Lemken solution is very popular.”
Lemken UK sales manager Paul Creasy said the Diamant 11 9f plough was also impressing potential users. “Ploughing at 16in furrows there is plenty of room for 900-series tyres,” he said. “The Claas Axion pulls it easily at just 1,200rpm and the fuel gauge barely moves.”
With the drill (l-r) are; Lemken area sales manager Craig Brown, Paul Creasy, Richard Sharman and Lemken support manager Richard Dixon.
Trading as R Hills (East Rigton) Ltd, Steven Hills farms at Bramham Park, near Wetherby, Yorkshire. The mixed farm has beef cattle and fattens lambs mainly on stubble turnips during winter. A Claas Axion 810 tractor carries out heavy fieldwork and a Tucano combine harvests the cereal crops. Claas Eastern Wilberfoss branch salesman Mick Bird looks after the farm account. “We had Claas combines for many years, since running a Matador in the early 1950s,” said Steven. “We like Claas for the excellent reliability and back-up and the grain sample is always good too.”
Steven’s son Sam (pictured with him and the latest Axion) explained that the open day provided an excellent opportunity to try the new tractors. “Our current Axion has worked 7,000 hours and remains excellent, but it’s due for updating so we came to find out about suitable replacements. Our driver, Ian Courtman, very much likes Claas tractors and finds the C-Matic transmission a significant advantage so we will almost certainly go for an Axion with CVT again. It’s worked hard but has only suffered one minor issue in all the time we’ve had it and it’s incredibly smooth and fuel-efficient. Even while ploughing the engine settles down to just 1,200 revs and we fill the diesel tank every few days. It’s excellent.”
Farmer Ian Briggs of GH & M Briggs was keen to see the Samson spreaders in action. Based near Retford, Notts, Ian farms 120ha and has 20 suckler cows and said he deals mainly with the Claas Eastern Markham Moor depot. “I run a Lemken Juwel 7 plough which is very good and always enjoy excellent back-up from the dealer,” he said. “I like the look of the Samson spreaders, their build quality and light weight makes them a good option and I have an SP9 model coming next week on demonstration. Today is an ideal opportunity to obtain hints and tips from the Samson team on getting the best from it before it arrives.” Ian is pictured (left) with Adrien Griffon.
Members of the Claas Eastern, Claas UK, Lemken, KRM, Cherry Products and Samson teams are pictured. (l-r) Bob Taylor; Philip Gandy; Richard Dixon; Paul Creasy; Craig Brown; Graham Cherry; Richard Sharman; Ian Whitwell; Chris Mackman; Ted Barker; Alastair McCallum; Dale Griffin; John Bell; Mike Britton; Jeremy Preece; Harriet Simpson; Matthew Traves; Colin Blow and George Warr.