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On test: Challenging conditions test latest Kverneland Variomat plough

Insights

Previously only available with mechanically adjustable variable width, Kverneland has now introduced a hydraulically adjustable version of its 150 plough.

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The new Variomat version uses technology adopted from the firm’s larger ploughs to offer more flexibility and efficiency for users.

 

As the model number suggests, the plough is rated up to 150hp and can be specified with shearbolt protection, denoted by a B in its model number, or the firm’s legendary leaf spring auto-reset protection, signified by a S.

 

Three, four- and five-furrow reversible ploughs are available in the range which can be ordered with either 850mm (33.4 inches) or 1,000mm (39in) point-to-point clearance.

 

Under beam clearance is 800mm (31.4in) on the 150Bs and 700mm on the 150Ss - 750mm (29.5in) beam clearance is an option on the S.

 

To keep weight and power requirement down, but without losing strength, the plough’s legs comprise a hollow box section construction, which also provides just enough flex to negotiate obstacles, says the manufacturer.

 

Keeping weight close to the tractor, the headstock has been made compact using a parallelogram linkage, similar to that used on the manufacturer’s EO and LO ploughs.

 

This can be specced with either mechanical, via a turnbuckle, or hydraulic front furrow width adjustment. An alignment turnbuckle adjuster allows additional set-up refinement, which is hydraulic as standard on the five-furrow machines.

 

To get a rough estimate of furrow width, a gauge on the plough offers a clear indication, although for accuracy you still need a tape measure.

Specifications

Specifications

Depth control is via a standard wheel or a combi-wheel (also used as a transport wheel), which both include a dampening function and offer independent depth adjustment on both sides of the plough. This allows it to compensate for odd tractor wheel pressures or odd drop link lengths, for example.

 

The depth wheel has also been mounted nice and tight with its arm on the inside of the plough. This allows you to get right up to the edge. Two tyre options are available - narrow and ribbed or wide and cleated.

 

Manually adjustable turnover stops take care of plough angle on all the 150s.

 

Skimmer depth adjustment is via bolts which locate in recessed notches. Skimmer legs can also be moved back and forwards to advance or delay the skimming action to cope with different working speeds and trash conditions.

 

The 150B just gets the one rear disc, while the 150S can be fully loaded. That said, unless you are championship ploughing or trash is a real issue, then just the rear disc will do, as we found with our machine in challenging enough conditions.

 

Discs are fitted to the leg assembly, with alignment adjustment done via an eccentric cam. Depth adjustment comes from the tried and tested interlocking spline system.

 

Service requirements are two double-acting spools - one for turnover and one for furrow width adjustment.

 

Kverneland number 28 bodies are fitted as standard using the quick fit system. If working in heavy soils, twin stays can be fitted to the back of the body. 

Reducing Maintenance

Reducing Maintenance

To reduce maintenance, the plough employs a bush and cone system for all furrow pivot points along the beam. These do not need greasing, only the bush replacing when worn out.

 

There is also a decent level of storage on the headstock for shear bolts and tools.

 

Our test machine was a four furrow 150B Variomat with mechanical front furrow width adjustment, 850mm (33.4in) point-to-point clearance and 800mm (31.4in) under beam clearance.

 

Tasked with maize stubble to invert and working at 200mm (8in) deep in sticky, medium clay/ Cotswold Brash type soils, the 150 had its work cut out - not helped by the paint still on the mould boards. Providing power was a Kubota M135GX with 135hp.

 

While you can use the hydraulic vari-furrow width to make adjustments on the move, these can only be temporary, as the front furrow width does not move with it.

 

On this plough, front furrow width has to be adjusted manually via a turnbuckle, although a higher spec machine can be fitted with

hydraulic front furrow width adjustment and a memory system.

 

Even manually, front furrow width adjustment is easy enough and can prove useful as conditions change throughout the day, allowing you to make the most of your power.

 

Temporary hydraulic adjustment does, however, allow you to work around obstacles or tidy up headlands, for example. It is a plough which can make you look good.

 

Performace

While the tractor was fitted with a loader, it did not have any front ballast. However, even in these sticky conditions, the tractor managed well, cruising nicely at 6kph revving at 1,550rpm - testament to how efficient the plough is to pull.

 

The tractor also stayed fairly stable at the headlands when manoeuvring, without the plough throwing the tractor about.

 

It is also a quiet plough too, with no rattles or clunks from the likes of skimmers or depth wheel when it turns over. The overall quality of work was good, especially when you take into account the more than sticky conditions.

 

FG verdict

As the manufacturer suggests, the 150 Variomat is ideal for users with smaller tractors.

 

It offers a lot of flexibility, which lets the plough adapt to different tractors easily. More importantly, the Variomat allows you to make the most of the power available by choosing the ideal width, designed to keep the tractor at maximum capacity by adapting to conditions.

 

This results in more ploughing days and makes the most of fuel.

 

The Variomat element also maintains quality of work as you can keep headlands tidy and ‘steer’ around obstacles.

 

Also, for winter ploughing, you can open the furrows up to the elements, while in spring, you can close it down to make it easier for the power harrow or cultivator.

 

While aimed at smaller users, the 150 is still good for larger farms with a lot of varying soil types, as it can adapt to suit.

 

The 150 is not over facing when it comes to set up either, with just enough gizmos without being overly complicated.

 

Overall, Kverneland’s plough heritage is hard to ignore, and this handy versatile plough is definitely one to consider.

 

150B Variomat specifications (as tested)

  • Number of furrows: four
  • Headstock power rating: 150hp
  • Minimum power requirement: 95hp
  • Interbody clearance: 850mm (33.4in)
  • Underbeam clearance: 800mm (31.4in)
  • Working width: 300mm to 500mm (12 to 20in)
  • Weight: 1,120kg
  • Protection: shearbolt
  • Price: £16,375

If you’re looking for farm machinery or equipment check out our partner LammaXchange’s website. With thousands of pieces of kit you’re sure to find what you’re looking for www.LammaXchange.com

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