Despite recent tough economic times, Irish manufacturers continue to develop new products. Richard Bradley takes a look at some of the highlights from the recent Irish Ploughing Championship event.
Following the launch of its mower range at the event two years ago, County Mayo based round baler specialist McHale launched the first of its rakes.
Featuring two, 2.7m wide rotors, the R62-72 offers hydraulically adjustable working width from 6.2m-7.2m.
Up front, a pivoting headstock is featured which is linked mechanically to steer the rake’s rear wheels. Drive is sent from the tractor via a wide-angle pto up and over the chassis into a Y-type gearbox and onto each rotor.
Designed to make a clean sweep on the ground, three pairs of sprung tines are fused on each of the rotors’ 13 tine arms. Running underneath each rotor is two fixed and two pivoting wheels, and rotors pivot from the centre to provide contour following.
Working height of either rotor can be set independently via crank handles and a visible scale, and a seven-position adjustable cam-track used to set when the crop is released. To simplify maintenance, greasing points are grouped together in a number of locations.
For those looking for larger working widths, McHale says a rake with up to 7.8m working width is likely to be launched at Agritechnica in November this year. R62-72 rakes will be available for the 2018 season.
By effectively incorporating two machines into one, County Limerick based Samco System has updated its bag filling press.
As its name suggests, the Bag Press compresses material into storage bags of 1.5m, 2m or 2.5m diameter. For materials such as silage, maize, brewer’s grains and straw, an auger in the bottom of the receiving hopper forces material into the sausage-shaped bag.
The element which makes the Bag Press different according to Samco is the fact it can also be used to mill grains before being compressed into a bag. This is done via trap doors and a transfer auger, which sends material through a front-mounted crimper.
If additives or small volumes of material need to be added, small liquid and solid induction hoppers are fitted to the machine.
To maintain pressure in the bag without straining the tractor’s brakes, the Bag Press uses a hydraulically extending drawbar, and skids which press against the tractor’s tyres. To increase pressure in the bag the drawbar is shortened, increasing friction against the tyres and in turn reducing forward speed. If pressure is too high, the drawbar can be lengthened with the opposite effect.
Currently, all controls are manual from the side of the machine. However, the firm is looking into automating pressure control.
Power requirement is about 200hp, and the firm claims bagging capacities of up to 100 tonnes per hour for silages, and up to 20t/hr when crimping grains.
Following the development of high capacity and self-propelled mixers, Keenan is aiming to offer customers better ration control and has given its InTouch ration control system a major overhaul.
Replacing the traditional ‘all-in-one’ box straight out of the 90s, the new system sees all sensor connections mounted directly to the mixer itself, with freedom to put the display on the mixer or in the loader cab via a wireless connection.
While not only larger, Keenan says the new colour display is easier to read in obscure light, and can display more information. Improved data transfer to the firm’s cloud-based ration system is also possible thanks to the addition of Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G connections, according to the firm. Another feature new to the firm is the ability to set desired weights for each group in a single ration which in turn will tell you feed-out rates for each pen.
Keenan says, this information can also be broken down to see how rations and different groups are performing against each other.
Aiming to reduce downtime through preventative maintenance, the sensor link box which mounts to the diet feeder can be fitted with a number of sensors to monitor chain tension, bearing heat and unwanted component movement. Any warning signs are flagged up to the InTouch centre and through the control box.
For those looking for a second in-cab controller, the firm’s app which is due for imminent release allows any tablet or smartphone to remotely display information as it appears on the InTouch screen. Along with this, the app should allow users to adjust rations, and input desired load weights.
New InTouch screen will be fitted to all new Keenan mixers, including self-propelled and vertical auger machines.
On show for the first time, ProDig launched a feed-out bucket. The attachment features a full width auger which forces beet through a cutting screen on one side.
Drive to the auger is via a hydraulic motor, which features an overload protection system if any rocks or other unwanted objects find their way into the bucket. The firm says the attachment could be used to chop material straight into a trough or heaped for incorporating into a TMR, for example.
As angled rather than straight cutting edges are used, the firm says beet is chopped into a pulp rather than large lumps. Bucket widths include 2m, 2.3m and 2.5m, with respective capacities of beet of about 500kg, 750kg and 1,000kg.
Along with the Chop-N-Feed, the firm says it is developing a Wash-N-Chop system.
Northern Irish aerator manufacturer showed its latest machine at the event, which it says is the largest machine of its kind available.
Featuring two vertically folding, 2.5m wing sections and a one metre centre section, the roller aerator covers an impressive six metre working width. To sink the roller’s Hardox plates into the ground, it boasts a hefty 11.25 tonne weight thanks to a heavy-duty frame and large 1.2m (40 inch) diameter barrels. Biddy says additional water ballast is not required.
For transport, the machine folds to a width of 2.7m, and a hydraulically lowered 10-stud rear axle features wide 710mm tyres. Hydraulic soft-ride suspension and LED lights are standard fitment, and the firm is currently developing a system to ensure even downward pressure across the machine’s full working width.
Retail price for the machine is about £27,000, and Biddy says due to the weight and drag of the plates in the ground, well in excess of 200hp is required to pull the machine, along with decent tyres and some rear-end ballast to provide traction.
Aiming to offer a flexible machine to drill into existing leys, ploughed or finished seed beds, Alstrong showed its 3m wide Actus drill at the event.
Featuring five main sections, the machine scratches and rolls the ground, before creating a tilth, applying seed and re-consolidating. Corrugated paddle boards for scratching and tilth-generating 12mm spring tines are both hydraulically adjustable with a scale on the side of the machine, and a rear Guttler consolidation roller moves on its own frame to maintain constant pressure.
The firm, based in County Galway, says along with grass, the seeding unit can apply OSR and cover crops, and claims working speeds of up to 15kph, which along with its 4.5 tonne weight allows the paddle board and tine sections to work effectively.
When raising the machine at headlands onto its 500mm-wide tyres, a switch automatically shuts off the seeding unit, and re-engages it once the unit is lowered.
Options include upgrading to larger 710mm tyres, which also adds brakes due to larger axles. Other options include adding GPS control to the seeding unit.
Retail price for the machine including seeder is £21,000 plus VAT.
Following on from the launch of its round bale chaser trailer, County Laois based manufacturer A Wilson Engineering has developed a chaser for large square bales.
Based on customer demand, the firm fitted its existing chassis system with a hydraulic clamping frame which allows up to 10, 120 by 90cm bales to be carried at any time. Rather than trying to compete with high-speed chasers often used for straw bales, the firm says the Super Move 10 is more suited to speeding up silage bale handling, and can cope with bale lengths from 1.5 to 1.7m (five to five and a half feet) in length.
To clamp bales, sides of the chaser independently fold down hydraulically, with sides also on hydraulics to clamp bales on their ends. This, according to the firm, prevents deforming the bales during transport.
Running gear features 10-stud bogey axles with 550mm wide tyres, and a sprung drawbar and airbrakes are on the options list.
Retail price for the chaser is about £25,170 (€28,500).
Along with a range of other equipment, Blaney launched a new mobile pressure washer, which can be mounted to a loader or tractor linkage.
Shown at the event on its compact pivot steer loader, the firm says the washer removes the need for trailing leads and hoses, as the pump is driven via hydraulics.
Standard fitment is a 25m long hose and lance, which can be swapped for a high-pressure spray bar for cleaning yards and roads. Water is supplied by an on-board tank, with tank capacities ranging from 500 to 1,000 litres.
To complement its range of slurry tankers, Abbey has launched a tanker mounted, hydraulically folding dribble bar.
Offering a 7.5m working width, the dribble bar features a Vogelsang hydraulically-driven macerator to feed 30 outlets across its width.
Thanks to a lightweight design and chassis mounting brackets, the firm says the dribble bar can be retrofitted, as well as specified on new machines without the need for any additional bracing. For simplicity, feed is taken directly from the tanker’s rear 150mm (six inch) outlet, without the need to remove the rear door.
To provide some flexibility, a splash plate and two fill points can still be used at the rear of the applicator, and LED lights are standard fitment.
Hoping to cater for a wider range of customers, Major has added a number of new models to its Cyclone topper range.
Along with a mid-range 2.8m machine, new 4.2m and 5.6m wide models extend the range’s working width. Both larger machines feature hydraulic folding, with the smaller 4.2m effectively offset with one sided vertical folding, and larger 5.6m with two vertically folding wings.
Each of the topper’s rotors feature four discs, two higher and two lower, which Major says are designed to better cope with heavy material such as brush and shrubs, as well as topping grass pastures.
The firm says the range is targeted at the flail mower market, with a lighter design and lower horsepower requirements, with the 5.6m working width model requiring about 140hp according to the firm.
Retail price for 4.2m single folding machine is £15,800, while larger 5.6m working width mower is £22,500.