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Productivity, accuracy and efficiency benefits from new products and updates

Kverneland announced and demonstrated many new products at an exclusive press event in Italy during late June. David Williams was there

As well as displaying new products from Kverneland and Vicon, the event included an opportunity to see ROC belt mergers at work, and to visit the ROC factory. ROC is the global leader in belt mergers, and the company was acquired earlier this year by Kverneland in a joint venture with the Ubaldi brothers who founded the brand, and who retain a 20% holding in the business.

Grass and forage

A new 8.75m QuattroLink triple mower-conditioner was announced. The Vicon Extra 787T is based on the 700-series platform and comes with proven features including the QuattroLink suspension, SemiSwing steel tine conditioning, and dual adjustment of the conditioner plate. Consisting of two 3.2m mowing units, the Extra 787T comes with simple, mechanical controls as standard, or the optional Dual Lift Control joystick for electro-hydraulic folding and unfolding.

A new version of the mower-conditioner with swath belts is available. The BX is designed to work with high volume crops including heavy, first-cut silage. Open-centre hydraulics and a pre-selection control box are standard. The BX version provides great flexibility as the belt units can be removed in under 15 minutes, leaving them stored on specially designed transport rollers.

As the QuattroLink name suggests, four mounting arms form the suspension system which allows exceptional ground-following capability. Vertical movement up to 400mm upwards and 300mm downwards is available, as well as adaption to transverse angles up to 30 degrees.

Break-back protection operates across the full working width and  if an obstacle is encountered –  then the mower moves back and then immediately returns to its working position.

High-capacity tedder

A new high-capacity tedder was demonstrated. The Vicon Fanex 1564C has a 15.6m working width made up of 14 rotors. Vicon has retained its small diameter rotor concept – providing generous overlap between each unit for even crop distribution across the working width.

Accurate adaptation to ground contours is provided by the new TerraFlow solution. The frame is highly flexible, and there is also a large amount of movement possible between the frame and the rotor units, ensuring excellent tedding performance across the full width with minimal soil contamination.

A single acting hydraulic spool is needed to raise and lower the tedder and a double-acting spool is needed for folding. The transport width is under 3m.

A border spreading device means crop is kept within the field boundaries at the headlands. The hydraulic activated swath board  keeps the crop within the confines  of the tedder.


ROC mergers

Demand for belt mergers is growing. “They provide the best opportunity to keep forage clean as it’s transported clear of the ground where there is no chance of contamination,” explained ROC sales and marketing director Denis Ubaldi, who runs the business with his brother, Raffaele. “Creating fewer swaths without losing any of the forage means that productivity of  the forage harvester or baler is kept very high. It’s also possible to deliver the swath to either side, or if two beds are used there is the option  to combine it in a single row in  the centre.”

Features of the ROC mergers include durable plastic guards around the pick-up which resist wear and operate more quietly than conventional metal surrounds. The pick-up tines rotate slower than those of a rotor so are gentler on the crop. Floating guide wheels under the pick-up provide accurate ground contour following.

Drive to the belts is hydraulic using oil flow provided by a PTO-driven pump, but for folding and adjustment the tractor hydraulic spools are used.

The gooseneck coupling allows extreme manoeuvrability, which is essential for efficient operation in smaller fields.

The factory visit demonstrated the incredible attention to detail which has made the Roc brand such a success. Only the highest quality components are used, and rather than source standard fixings – many bolts and pins are designed especially. Only high-quality steels are used, and the welds and the overall finish, which was visible prior to painting, are exceptional.


Fixed chamber baler updates

Film binding is a new option for Vicon Fixed Chamber 500 balers. The recently launched FixBale 500 which has an 18-roller bale chamber can now be specified with a film-on-film applicator option for users wanting to maximise silage quality.

Plus-series RV variable-chamber, and FixBale 500 fixed chamber balers are now available with TIM (Tractor Implement Management) which allows control of compatible tractors by the balers – reducing operator fatigue and maximising working efficiency. The two-way communication between the tractor and baler means that the operator can focus on tasks such as feeding crop evenly into the baler, as the rest of the baling cycle is fully automated. This includes control of forward speed, then slowing the tractor as the bale reaches full size, then operating the binding cycle, and opening and closing the tailgate to discharge the bale.

Company representatives explained at the event that with eight steps of the bale making process looked after by the TIM system, an operator making 500 bales per day would benefit from 4,000 fewer tractor control actions to manage. Manual control is available at any time – for example, to ensure bales aren’t released on steep slopes.

Tillage updates

Plough technology evolves

A new generation of Stepwise ploughs offers higher ploughing performance and safer road transport. Following the success of the Kverneland New Generation ploughs – 2300 S Variomat and 3300 S Variomat, Stepwide versions will soon be available – the 2300 S and 3300 S.

For safer transport, the plough mount pivots to match the turning angle when cornering, as a trailer would.

Aero-profile legs optimise the soil flow with 80cm of under beam clearance for outstanding performance when trash residues are high.

Smart leaf springs provide auto-reset protection, and adjustment to suit the conditions is achieved by adding or removing one leaf – with just two bolts to unscrew by hand.  Bodies release independently and return to the set working position automatically.

Skimmer adjustment requires only one bolt to be loosened to optimise trash burial, and central adjustment allows the left and right skimmer depths to be adjusted simultaneously.

A unique memory cylinder limits triangles created at the headlands by adjusting the depth wheel so that the rear furrows lift at the same point that the front furrow was taken out of work. Double ploughing is reduced; headlands are left flatter, and following seedbeds are improved.

Changing the working width  is also simple and quick – as there  is just one bolt to move on each  leg assembly.


Shallow ploughing

Kverneland is offering an ultra-shallow plough – capable of achieving full inversion and effective trash burial even at very shallow working depths. “We offered a shallow plough approximately 20 years ago,” explained Kverneland UK managing director Joe Bell. “The plough worked well, but the plough didn’t prove popular as the shallow tillage concept was relatively unknown at that time, and many users simply operated it at the same depth as their conventional ploughs. However, now that the principles of shallow tillage are more widely understood, we believe it will prove very popular.”

The Ecomat On-land plough provides familiar benefits of ploughing including reduced use of chemicals to solve weed and pest issues, while requiring less power and fuel than conventional ploughs. Working on-land, it avoids the compaction risks of tractor wheels operating in the furrow. The Ecomat bodies achieve full inversion while working at a recommended depth between 6–18cm.

The TTS safe transport system is included – allowing the plough to angle into corners when turning, in a similar manner to a trailer.

Kverneland illustrated the reduced power and fuel consumption by explaining that for every extra 1cm of plough working depth, 150t more soil per hectare is moved.

The new ploughs are available with 8 and 10 furrows and with working width adjustment between 30–50cm giving overall working widths of 2.4–5.0m.


Trailed Enduro T

New folding trailed models have been added to the Enduro and Enduro T cultivator line-up, in 4.0, 4.5 and 5.0m working widths.

Designed to suit medium-sized farms, the new models have a tine distance of 280mm, row distance of 750mm, and 870mm under beam clearance for trash. Maximum working depth is up to 35cm.

The choice of packer rollers has been extended to include the new Actipress Single, Actipress Twin, and Double Cage Rollers. A new following harrow leaves the surface even with a fine tilth.

Two types of tine are available with bolted or knock-on shares.


New f-drill front hoppers

New f-drill front hoppers have been designed providing additional flexibility for all farming systems. Suitable for use with many types of implements, the metering system will handle a wide range of seed  sizes and fertilisers.

Kverneland suggests that the new hoppers are extremely versatile – supplying fertiliser to the Optima F or in combination with the Kultistrip for strip tillage, for example. When working with power-harrow drill combinations such as the e-drill, the f-drill can be used as an additional seed hopper for sowing companion or spring crops. In summer and autumn, it can be combined with a power-harrow and a coulter bar seeding system providing a compact combination with working widths from 3–6m.

Advantages of using the front hopper include even weight distribution across the tractor and implement, and an unrestricted operator view to the drilling system at the rear. An optional wheel packer beneath the hopper relieves the load on the front axle while maintaining good steering ability. The hopper has a self-steering system, and is pull-attached to reduce the power requirement and fuel use.

Hoppers come in two sizes – 1,600 and 2,200 litres. Standard versions have a single metering unit, but higher application rates can be achieved with the Duo version which has two Eldos metering units – with a combined flow capacity of 800kg/ha.

Isobus plug-and-play capability allows set-up and control through the tractor terminal.

Yields maintained with  25% less fertiliser

For maize sowing by the Optima TFprofi SX precision drill, the new Pudama spot fertiliser application system allows 100% of yield to be maintained while reducing the fertiliser application rate by a quarter. The system works by applying a spot of starter fertiliser beside every maize seed as it is placed in the row. The system was displayed in public for the first time, and Kverneland said that by applying fertiliser in spots rather than in a continuous band, costs of expensive fertiliser are reduced, and significant environmental benefits are achieved, while weeds between the maize plants don’t benefit from the surplus nutrients. The fertiliser is delivered through pressurised pipes at rates of up to 25 shots per second.

“For farmers growing 800ha of maize, the fertiliser cost savings will pay for the Pudama investment in only 1.8 years,” explained product specialist Mathis Mattern.

Spreader use extended  to front and rear

An updated design and new features for the Geospread spreader range were announced, including the ability to operate two machines as a front and rear combination. Total capacity is increased to 6,000 or 7,000 litres, and accuracy can also be increased by applying two sets of applications in one pass. “Instead of spreading blends of fertilisers where each type has different physical properties and spread characteristics, applying the two fertiliser types through separate spreaders which are each set up for the product  will result in a perfect spreading pattern and nutrient distribution,” explained product application specialist Pavel Dvorak.

From early January next year, a new user interface will be available for the Intelligent Disc Control spreader, increasing spread precision especially when working against borders. The system will separately adjust the speed of each disc, so that the outer disc operates at the optimum speed to work up to the boundary, while the inner disc continues to provide maximum spread width.

Sprayer upgrade

The iXtrack T4, part of the iXtrack T-series comes with new features including a 36/24m spray boom, SpotSpray, 25cm nozzle spacing and next-generation Boom Guide ProActive spray height control.

The new 25cm nozzle spacing reduces drift as it is possible to spray closer to the target at 30cm spray height while maintaining accurate distribution of the spray liquid at the correct rate and optimal droplet size.

Based on pre-defined prescription maps, the sprayer shuts on and  off in combination with the SpotSpray application. Only designated spots are sprayed, which is of particular benefit when targeting weed spots, thistles, wet areas, non-germinated areas, and where there are soil problems.

SpotSpray reduces costs by only applying chemical where it is needed, and healthy crops don’t receive unnecessary treatments. Based on areas determined from  the VRA map, it is easy to work  out exactly how much liquid is needed in the sprayer. Working capacity is increased as more hectares or fields can be treated with one tank of spray fluid.

The standard iXspray software allows a 10-hour free trial of SpotSpray before investing in the SpotSpray licence.


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