Second-hand machinery appeals to many farms, from those looking for a bargain, to the backup planners.
Here, we take a look at the trailed potato harvester and things to consider when buying second-hand machinery.
Potato equipment is notoriously expensive.
However, for those who grow large acreages of potatoes, having the correct harvesting equipment is a must.
Ideal for those starting out in the potato business, looking for extra capacity or as a backup machine, there is a plethora of used machines at about £40,000 which could provide a shrewd purchase.
While this is not an extensive list of what is on the market, it will hopefully give some indication of what to expect for your buck when out shopping for a used machine. As always, make sure you thoroughly inspect the machine and, where possible, see it working.
What to look for
To find out what to look for, we selected the two most recognisable brands running in the UK; in the red corner we have Grimme, and in the blue corner we have Standen.
While other makes are available, at a range of price points, these two brands are the most numerous, with the things to consider universal across many makes.
LAUNCHED in 2006, replacing the GZ range, Grimme’s GT range of harvesters is one on the most popular across the country. The most common model is the GT170, designed for two-row harvesting and is available in ‘M’ and ‘S’ variants.
The main difference between the two is the ‘S’ model which has an intake web, making the machine longer, affording a larger soil separation area.
Over the lifespan of the GT range, little has changed to basic complexion, but alterations to strengthen various points on the machine, such as the drawbar and haulm roller supports, can be found on later models.
Several separation options can be found, including the company’s MultiSep, in single or double formats, and RollerSep.
GT range checks
- Other than the usual wear to soil engaging metal, areas to look out for have all but been worked out of the machine, however, wheel motors and pumps need particularly close inspection.
- Flat spots in webs identify high wear and wear to the drive rollers should also be considered.
- Structurally the machines are said to be tough, but very early models did see stress on the lower section of the chassis and around the area where the two halves of the chassis bolt together.
Grimme has been one of the biggest advocates of bunker harvesting technology over the years.
Favoured on the continent, less abrasive, light and stone free soils in certain parts of the UK are also well-suited to these machines. The SE harvesters come in single or two-row variants and have hopper capacities ranging from two to seven tonnes.
SE harvesters were always offset from the tractor, enabling wider tyres to be used, aiding traction and reducing compaction. Physically bigger than the GT range, the SE 150-60 has a digging width of 1,500mm.
Cleaning systems on these machines were limited to different webs and pinnacle belts, extracting soil and debris.
SE range checks
- Several direction changes and types of belts and webs are involved, and care should be taken to check that all the different routes can be adjusted for optimal harvesting.
- Depending on the acreage covered, teeth on the belts may be worn, leading to poor separation, and the bearings associated with the webs and belts should be checked.
- The bunker should be checked for excessive wear and the canvas belt in the bottom is free of holes and defects.
- A chain is responsible for providing the force to empty the bunker and should be inspected for wear and tension.
- Check for wear on the drawbar’s pivot pin and ram.
LAUNCHED in the mid-1990s, the Standen Enterprise was a well-regarded machine throughout its production which ceased in 2009.
Designed to be gentle yet have good output, the machine came with many different cleaning configurations.
By the end of its production cycle, nearly all inherent problems had been sorted. Nevertheless, cracking on the chassis and wear on the drawbar can still be seen.
On some mid-production machines, dealers or farmers may have strengthened these areas.
- When running the machine up, check to see that every function on the control box works and that sensors are responsive.
- Also check that all gearboxes are running cool and quietly and that there are no leaks or noises coming from the wheel motors.
- On the next generation, the T2, many of the chain drive functions had been replaced by hydraulic motors, so check each of these for any anomalies.
The vast array of cleaning options can be overwhelming, but often included the firm’s Proclean axial rollers, running lengthways in the direction of travel, Starflow, star rollers and Evolution, the pre-runner to Omega 3, fluted and plain rollers running the width of the machine.
Configurations of one or two of these systems allowed for thorough cleaning of the crop.
Some T2 harvesters are now of sufficient age to be slipping into this price point. As a direct replacement to the Enterprise, it offered increased capacity from longer webs than its predecessor and an improved Omega separation system.
A 1,120mm-wide cart elevator kept potatoes secure before dropping into trailers and a soft drop elevator web was an option.
Track width was adjusted through a sliding axle and later models featured a rotating wheel to adjust track width.
For the first time, the company included a touch-screen console to control the machine, which was connected to a joystick for controlling functions such as the cart elevator and digging web.