A raft of push-off trailers have appeared in the last couple of years, and Hi-Spec joined the pack by launching its Kompactor at Lamma 2016. Jane Carley speaks to one of the first purchasers.
Contractor David Fox has added a Hi Spec Kompactor to his fleet of trailers to increase capacity for high workload tasks such as transporting maize as a feedstock for AD.
With a fleet of 14 Bailey trailers used to transport crops for his forage harvesting-based business, contractor David Fox likes to stay on top of the job.
So when he was offered the chance to try Hi-Spec’s new Kompactor trailer by dealers SAS Trailers, which also supplies him with tankers, he was keen to give it a go.
He says: “We harvest 5,000 acres of maize plus 2,000 acres of grass and 2,000 acres of wholecrop rye for energy production.
"It’s important to get the crop chopped and ensiled quickly, so anything that improves the transport process is of interest.”
Contractor David Fox.
Mr Fox had studied other push-off trailers at shows, but comments that at the time of purchase most of the competitors’ machines were very much at the prototype stage, with only Hi-Spec appearing to offer the ‘finished article’.
As its name suggests, the Kompactor uses a moving headboard to compress the crop as the trailer is being filled. The same mechanism also empties the body, pushing the crop out without tipping. This is said to increase the payload by up to 40 per cent, depending on load, and also cut unloading time to as little as 40 seconds, says the manufacturer.
Mr Fox says; “In grass silage we can fit in 15-20 per cent more depending compared to the 16 tonne-capacity Bailey trailers.
“When filling, the operator activates the pusher arm, usually when the trailer is three quarters full to compact the load.”
A hydraulically driven pusher empties the trailer without tipping, increasing stability and allowing access to low-roofed stores.
In addition to forage crops, Mr Fox has used the Kompactor for grain, where it has proved useful for farms with low sheds which were difficult to tip into, although he comments that oilseed rape and peas, which rolled under the seals, were less successful.
“The maximum load depends on the nature of the crop. As maize becomes coarser and more dense as the season progresses, it’s harder to compact. It’s also important not to exceed maximum legal weights on the road simply because you can get more crop in – we put everything over the weighbridge so we know the limits.”
The Kompactor is pulled by one of the firm’s Claas Arion 175hp 640 or 184hp 650 tractors in his fleet and requires only the Arion’s 110l/min standard hydraulic flow and three spool valves to operate it.
“We do find that it empties a bit more slowly on an older tractor with ‘tired’ hydraulics though,” he comments.
Mr Fox points out that the low slung design of the trailer makes it much more stable, improving safety on rough roads and allowing it to follow the tractor well.
Another plus is clear visibility into the trailer, with the driver easily able to look up through the glass into the body.
Maintenance is straightforward, and build quality looks good, although Mr Fox expects to replace wear strips on the floor and the headboard seal at the end of the year.
Mr Fox comments that the ability to use the trailer for grain in addition to forage crops tips the balance in favour of its affordability, with the list price about 10 per cent higher than a conventional trailer, and the resale value is something of an unknown quantity as yet.
“There is always strong demand for a good second hand trailer but I’m not sure what this would fetch. We will keep it for a bit longer than a standard trailer and see.”