In pictures: retiring Laois farmer set to sell all
On Saturday 11 May, a farm retirement auction will take place in Clough-Ballacolla, Co Laois at 11.30am. Both farm machinery and dairy equipment are up for grabs on the day.

Hennessy Auctioneers are holding an on-farm retirement auction this Saturday on behalf of Laois-based dairy farmer, Canice Hyland.

Hyland has made the decision to retire from dairy farming leaving the farm with no use of the impressive collection of machinery he had built up over the years.

John Hennessy of Hennessy Auctioneers said: "All equipment on the farm has been exceptionally well minded which can be seen clearly in the pictures, we hope that interest on the day should reflect this.”

The auction will take place on the Hyland farm at Clough-Ballacolla, Co Laois (Eircode: R32 KX70) starting at 11.30am sharp.


This 2016 Claas Arion 630 CIS fitted with a 50km/h Hexashift transmission, 600kg weight block, full suspension, 650 rear and 540 front Trelleborg tyres. This is one of the stand-out lots, the tractor is being sold fully serviced and has just 1,800 hours on the odometer. Claas finance is available subject to terms and conditions.

This 2010 JCB TM310s telescopic wheel loader has 6,900 hours on the clock, fitted with a pin and cone headstock. A large range of pin and cone implements are available on the day which includes shear bucket, pallet and dung forks, bale handlers and a sweeping brush.

These two Case IH tractors, an 856XL 4WD and 885XL 2WD respectively are set to go under the hammer, both in original condition.

Both these Belmac machines are up for grabs, a 2014 Belmac 700 zero-grazing machine and the 2,100-gallon slurry tanker, both in good working order. The tanker is hydraulic drive and is fitted with a Moscha swivel spreading plate.

This 2015 20-foot Tuffmac tandem-axle cattle trailer is in mint condition.

This fresh 2017 Claas Volto 52 four-rotor tedder will be on sale Saturday.

This 2012 Lely Splendimo 320 classic disc mower has a cutting width of 3.2m (10.5ft) and is in good working order.

This 600-litre galvanised Carraro mounted sprayer is set to go under the hammer.

This 2012 Amazone ZA-M 1200 3.5t fertiliser spreader is seated on a trailed Bogey and is for sale.

This 2018 ProDig shear bucket is fitted with a bale plastic retainer and comes on pin and cone loader brackets.

This 2013 Fleming 10-foot land roller is for sale.

Some of the other lots set to go on sale on the day include:

  • Fleming galvanised yard scraper.
  • Nugent 12x6 plant trailer.
  • Abbey super 350 galvanised slurry agitator.
  • Trailed Bale carrier.
  • Ifor Williams 10x5ft cow trailer.
  • Feedall 12cu/m tub feeder with discharge conveyor.
  • 28kVA PTO driven generator.
  • John Hennessy told the Irish Farmers Journal that the auction will include a range of dairy equipment. “Various dairy equipment will be on offer including a DeLaval 10-unit double-up milking parlour and a Packo 10,000-litre bulk tank all of which are immaculately maintained.”

    Viewing is on Friday 10 May, 1pm-5pm and on Saturday the morning of the auction from 9am.

    It is worth noting that all bidders must register to bid and pay a €100 refundable deposit on the morning of the auction.

    VAT doesn’t apply to any of the equipment going on sale on the day.

    Watch: up close and personal with the Krone Big X
    Krone has been manufacturing Big X self-propelled forage harvesters for almost two decades. Peter Thomas Keaveney travelled to Scotland to take a look at the company’s latest offering.

    The self-propelled forage harvester market is hotly contested worldwide. It’s estimated that the total global market for foragers is in the region of 3,000 units per year, with an average power output of 580hp. A Krone spokesperson told the Irish Farmers Journal the company is building 320 units per year. Based on this information, it means that Krone has a current share of between 10.5% and 11% of the worldwide market, with the company aiming for a 20% share. This isn’t bad seeing as it is still relatively new to the game, building its first forager in 2000.

    Krone machines are imported into Ireland by Farmhand Ltd. Based in Dublin, the company sold the first Big X forager in Ireland in 2009. It is believed there are almost 90 Big X foragers working throughout the island of Ireland.

    Below, we take a look at some of the features that the latest eight models of the Big X forager series bring to the market.


    The header and pickup reel is always a hot topic among forager owners and operators, especially in recent years with the increasing popularity of tedders and rakes and the difficulties these machines can pose such as lumpy swaths.

    The Krone EasyFlow header uses a camless pickup system. Krone claims the camless pickup has 58% fewer moving parts when compared with a conventional pickup. The company also claims that a camless reel runs smoother, with less wear, and operates 30% faster than a conventional reel.

    The camless pick-up reel comes with six rows of tines arranged in a W-arrangement.

    The header comes in two working widths, 3m and 3.8m. All machines in Ireland are equipped with the 3m header. The pickup reel comes with six rows of tines arranged in a W-arrangement. The reasoning behind this is to provide a consistent crop flow and to catch the little bits of grass that can escape the ends of the header on the headlands.

    Header features

    When the machine reverses, the auger and the crop roller are automatically raised to allow for easy access to the intake system so objects detected by the metal detector can be removed. When resuming work, they automatically return to their working position.

    The infinite height setting and adjustable spring relief allow the crop press roller to roll smoothly, adapting to the varying swath widths. The SynchroSpeed feature allows the header RPM to be adjusted automatically to the forward speed. It can also be manually altered from the cab. The EasyFlow header sits on a pendulum frame. This makes for easy attachment and removal and allows the header to follow the contours of the ground. Two locking pins then secure the header on to the machine.

    The header is supported by two height-adjustable guide wheels and one rear cam follower roller underneath the header. The large feed auger (600mm diameter) is fitted with replaceable Hardox wear plates. These serrated plates can be set to one of two positions to provide different levels of aggressiveness.

    Intake system

    Unlike those made by other forager manufacturers, the Krone machines are fitted with six intake rollers over four. These rollers are used to compress the grass as it is fed in from the auger. As there are six pre-compression rollers, it means there’s a distance of 820mm between the front roller and the rear roller.

    The Big X foragers are fitted with six pre-compression rollers meaning that there’s a distance of 820mm between the front roller and the rear roller.

    Krone claims that this distance is required to ensure that if any metal is detected, the slip clutch will initiate before the metal hits the drum. Tension springs are used to keep pressure on these rollers.

    The hydraulic drive of the intake system means that operators can choose between setting the cutting length manually or automatically. If the engine speed falls below 1,200 RPM with an increasing load, the intake and header are stopped automatically, while the chopping drum is running. This is to prevent any blockages due to slow rotational speeds.

    A feature standard on many foragers nowadays is the full-width metal detection sensors. Six magnetic coils are installed in the front lower intake roller to detect metal. A rock-protect feature can also be ordered on these machines. It detects the sudden opening of the feed rollers causing them to stop immediately. The sensitivity can be adjusted to suit varying conditions.

    The four smaller narrow body foragers (Big X 480-630) have a crop flow channel of 630mm, while the larger wider body models (630-1180) have a crop flow channel of 800mm.


    When Krone initially began building foragers, the company’s design brief was a high-horsepower machine capable of producing a short chop length for the biogas industry, predominately in Germany. Nowadays, the company offers four different drums with variations from 20 knives up to 40 knives.

    Krone offer four different drums with variations from 20 knives up to 40 knives. The vast majority of machines working in Ireland are fitted with 28 knife drums

    The vast majority of machines working in Ireland are fitted with 28 knife drums (theoretical chop length 4mm to 22mm), with most working on a half set of knives for an increased chop length.

    The blades on the drum are arranged at an angle of 11° relative to the counterblade. When it comes to sharpening the knives, the Big X has automatic shear bar adjustment. Only one knock sensor is necessary to adjust the shear bar. This can be set up from the cab.

    The Big X machines are equipped with Krone’s VariStream system. This is essentially a spring-loaded bottom to the drum and a spring-loaded accelerator backplate. It is designed to avoid any blockages and keep the flow of material through the drum constant. The floor underneath the chopping drum is linked to the anvil of the shear bar, meaning it is adjusted automatically when the shear bar is adjusted to the blades, maintaining a consistent gap.

    Engine and driveline

    The narrow-body foragers (models 480-630) are powered by MTU engines, while the wider body foragers (models 680-1180) are powered by Liebherr engines.

    The narrow body foragers (models; 480-630) are powered by MTU engines while the wider body foragers (models; 680-1180) are powered by Liebherr engines.

    Overall, the Big X offers power output ranges from 490hp right up to a significant 1,156hp, which currently holds the title of the highest horsepower forager in the world.

    Models inclusive of the 580 upwards have Krone’s power split engine management system. This system has two power curves to control the engine’s output and automatically match it to the conditions based on engine load and torque sensors. Operators can chose the Eco Power option, which is used in lighter swaths to reduce fuel usage. Alternatively, the X-Power option is used when maximum output is required.

    The machine design means access to the engine for servicing is very easy. The latest engines used by Krone have a 1,000hr service interval.

    The transversely mounted engine allows for direct drive of the drive pump, the cutter drum, the discharge accelerator and the pumps from the header and intake through the use of belts.

    The transversely mounted engine allows for direct drive of the drive pump, the cutter drum, the discharge accelerator and the pumps from the header and intake through the use of belts.

    All components for crop flow are activated through belt coupling.

    Running gear

    The Big X foragers are driven hydrostatically using Bosch-Rexroth wheel motors. This drive concept frees up space to fit a larger-diameter chopping drum in the machines and offers additional ground clearance.

    The Big X foragers are driven hydrostatically using Bosch-Rexroth wheel motors.

    The foragers come as standard with front-wheel drive, with four-wheel drive being an optional extra. For front-wheel drive, the wheel motors of the rear axle are replaced by wheel hubs. The wheel motors have a maximum speed of 40km/h. The spring-mounted independent wheel suspension system allows for a large turning radius.


    The Big X range of foragers share the same SilentSpace cab as the Big M self-propelled mower. This cab is wider and quieter than the previous cab, with additional glassware, meaning more visibility.

    The Big X range of foragers share the same cab as the Big M self-propelled mower.

    It has also been fitted with a double floor to help reduce noise levels. It is fitted with 16 headlights, with LED lights available as an option. The cab encompasses a large 10in operating terminal. This records all major machine data and displays them on the colour screen.

    The multi-function joystick has more than 20 functions programmed to it, including driving speed, direction of travel and the header and spout controls.

    Grimme fairytale: four-row doubles throughput and halves diesel usage
    Peter Thomas Keaveney took a trip to Headfort Farm in Co Meath to catch up with the Sheridans, who recently made the move to a four-row Grimme potato planter.

    Planting between 350 and 400 acres of potatoes each year means the Sheridan family need to run an efficient high-throughput system when it comes to planting potatoes.

    When planting, the Sheridans aspire to plant every bit of ground they prepare on the day.

    This means the same ground is ridged, bed-tilled, destoned and planted in the one working day, with the ridging usually taking place no more than an hour ahead of the planting.

    The Grimme four row potato planter has an output of around 25-30 acres per day.

    Up to this year, the Sheridans, based in Co Meath, were running a 2017 Grimme two-row potato planter. In order for the two-row planter to keep up with the other machines preparing the ground, it had to be operated from early in the morning, through lunch and late into the evening. Cousins Noel and Mark Sheridan both agreed the two-row planter was definitely the weakest link in their planting operation. This led to the leap from the two-row machine to a four-row machine.

    Noel and Mark Sheridan

    Four-row planter

    After carrying out some research on a four-row planter, the Sheridans soon found out there was only one four-row planter working in the country up to last year. The cousins said they were a little nervous as it was a big move but it has paid dividends.

    The new four-row planter has brought many benefits. From a labour perspective, the move from two rows to four rows means the planter operator has time to load the planter with seed, rather than requiring an additional telehandler operator. This frees up Noel or Mark around planting time, an important factor at a busy time on farm.

    60% less diesel

    The four-row is being operated on the same tractor (John Deere 6175R) as the previous two-row machine. The move to the bigger planter has cut diesel consumption by about 60%, explained Mark. This is because the system used in the previous two-row machine had the fertiliser hopper mounted on the tractor’s front linkage, requiring the fertiliser to be blown back underneath the tractor to the drill where it was placed in the soil.

    The two tanks on the tractor's front linkage have a combined storage capacity of 800 litres.

    This system required a lot of hydraulic power, meaning the tractor was working harder and thus burning more diesel. The new four-row planter has a fertiliser hopper mounted on the machine. The fertiliser is fed down along using gravity, before being applied close to the seed.

    The stainless stell fertiliser hopper has a 1,500kg storage capacity.

    Noel and Mark also highlighted that the new planter has reduced compaction on their farm by 50%, as the four-row requires half the passes that the previous planter did. In addition, the planter has doubled throughput capabilities. On a typical day with the four row planter, the Sheridans would plant in the region of 25 to 30 acres.

    On a large tillage operation in the spring such as the Sheridans’, halving the time required to sow potatoes allows the family to keep on top of other tasks such as spraying and applying fertiliser to cereals.

    The four-row planter has sectional control, divided up into four sections.

    The Sheridans explained the weather window for planting potatoes has and will always be a challenge, but the four-row planter will make it much easier. In addition, planting more ground as early as possible when the conditions allow also means the potatoes can be harvested earlier.

    Sectional control

    The Sheridans’ new four-row planter has sectional control, divided up into four sections. Linked in with the tractor’s GPS, each section, which includes spray, fertiliser and the potato tubers, will automatically shut off.

    The tubers are fed through a belt system from the hopper and are placed into the bed

    Although fertiliser storage remained the same with the switch to the four-row planter (1,500kg), liquid storage has increased from the 120l tank that was mounted on the two-row planter to two tanks on the tractor’s front linkage, with a combined storage capacity of 800l.

    A support wheel runs on the outer right-hand side of the machine to help evenly distribute the weight.

    The four-row planter also has a 3t seed storage hopper. The stainless steel fertiliser hopper along with the flow-board for bed cultivation are extras on the Sheridans’ machine.

    The GB 430 is designed to work in both conventional planting and for planting in beds. The machine comes with the option of two different chassis to combine the various options of ridge shaping depending on requirements.

    Typically, the Sheridans plant at a speed of around 7km/h, with the tractor running at around 1,200rpm, planting at a depth of 6-7in into the ridges.

    How does the machine work?

    The planter is pulled using a hydraulic steering drawbar attached to the tractor’s three-point linkage. As the tractor needs to travel between the pre-shaped ridges, the planter works in a slightly offset position to place the tubers centrally in the ridges. To keep the distribution of weight on the three-point linkage balanced, 12 50kg weights are placed on the left hand side of the drawbar. In addition, a support wheel runs on the outside of the right-hand side of the machine to help evenly distribute the weight.

    Hydraulic depth control of the furrow opener and automatic shaping board steering ensures consistent bed formation.

    A central hydraulic ram is used to set the working depth of the planter. Two-furrow openers sit in front of the main frame, beginning the bed forming process. Hydraulic depth control of the furrow opener and automatic shaping board steering ensures consistent bed formation.

    Discs in each of the four rows slit the ground and fertiliser is placed in the bed.

    Directly behind, discs in each of the four rows slit the ground and fertiliser is placed in the bed. Meanwhile, the four beds are constantly being formed at the same time. Behind the slotting of the fertiliser, the tubers are fed through a belt system from the hopper and are placed into the bed before eight nozzles (two nozzles per row) spray each of the beds.

    The planter is pulled from a hydraulic steering drawbar, attached to the tractors three point linkage.

    Stainless steel shaping boards leave each of the four rows with a loose-to -firm ridge with a smooth surface. The chassis is fitted with two wheels (270/95 R44). It has a hydraulic steering axle with a large steering angle of up to 42°, making the machine agile and manoeuvrable in the field.

    Machine spec

    Model: GB 430.

    Seed hopper capacity: 3,000kg.

    Weight empty on basic spec: 4,000kg.

    Number of rows: Four.

    Row width: 75-91.4cm.

    Tyres: 270/95 R44.

    Throughput: 25-30 acres/day.

    Transport width: 3.9m.

    Prices starting at: €110,000 plus VAT.

    Living on a sprayer: the SAM Vision 4000 self-propelled sprayer
    Now that spraying is in full swing on tillage farms, Gary Abbott caught up with Eugene Headon, Co Kildare, to see how his recently purchased SAM self-propelled sprayer is working four months on.

    Eugene Headon operates a silage contracting and tillage enterprise alongside his son Garrett on the outskirts of Naas, Co Kildare. Spraying up to 9,000ac each year leaves Eugene and Garrett busy on the sprayer from the time crops are planted until harvest time.

    The SAM Vision 4000 sprayer was bought to replace an older Househam self-propelled sprayer.

    Eugene made the move to self-propelled sprayers a number of years ago for several reasons. One of the reasons was that there was less headland damage when turning as all four wheels steer, leaving the sprayer more manoeuvrable than a trailed sprayer.

    It is clear the sprayer has been built with the end user in mind

    Eugene also noted the better ground travelling capabilities of the self-propelled sprayers, having owned both variants, trailed and self-propelled.

    “Self-propelled sprayers eliminate the need to drag an extra axle around the field which would have to be done with a trailed sprayer,” he said.

    The 25l stainless steel induction hopper.

    This extra axle may seem like a good idea but it is the pulling force exerted on the tractor’s back axle that causes it to sink into soil when gripping. The hydrostatic drive of a self-propelled machine, on the other hand, keeps on travelling, on leaving less damage to the surface.

    Sands Agricultural Machinery

    Sands Agricultural Machinery Ltd (SAM) has been involved in the application of agrochemicals since the 1960s and has been designing and building self-propelled crop sprayers since 1975. The British-built machines are relatively new to the Irish market, although since being appointed main Irish agents, Furlong Equipment Services Ltd has sold a number of both new and secondhand machines throughout the country.

    Eugene and Garrett made the decision to buy a SAM sprayer after seeing the strong build quality of the machines.

    The sprayer's manual controls are simple and straightforward from an operator's point of view.

    “It is clear the sprayer has been built with the end user in mind,” noted Eugene when discussing the sprayer’s construction and neat layout out of cables and pipes throughout its body and boom sections.

    The Headons were on the market for a straightforward, reliable sprayer with a backup service that could be relied upon.

    They bought a secondhand 2010 Vision 4000 equipped with a 24m single-line boom with triplet nozzles and automatic section control. It has a 4,000l tank with a 400l fresh water tank for rinsing.

    The sprayer is powered by a 180hp six-cylinder Deutz engine which is very easy on diesel in comparison with his older Househam self-propelled sprayer, according to Eugene.

    The sprayer is fitted with 24m booms and automatic section control.

    The sprayer is fitted with 380/85 R30 Continental row crop wheels but early spraying is done using the wider 600 tyres to give the sprayer a larger footprint. A rear mounted stainless steel induction tank allows for the easy straightforward intake/mixing of chemicals.

    Switching between suction, rinsing and spraying settings is simple using the handles located to the rear left hand side of the machine. Once folded up, the induction tanks sit away neatly and can only be pulled out when the booms are lifted.

    Eugene Headon spraying wheat near Naas, Co Kildare.

    A feature Eugene particularly likes about the sprayer is its mounted pressure washer for cleaning purposes. This along with the tanks’ rinsing feature makes cleaning up after a day’s work that much easier, he noted.


    Inside the cab are the sprayer’s controls. An RDS terminal controls the sprayer operations. Operators can view each section of the boom’s seven-part section control, litres/ha, km/h, tank level, etc.

    GPS information is provided by the Hexagon touchscreen GPS terminal, which Eugene noted is very easy to use.

    Boom controls, such as end nozzle shutoff and rinse functions, are turned on and off using the pneumatic switches on the armrest-mounted console.

    There are two foot pedals. The left pedal engages and disengages the sprayer’s four-wheel steering. Once disengaged, the wheels will automatically align to their straight position.

    The foot pedal to the right of the steering column shuts on and off the nozzles.

    Eugene noted that the sprayer’s hydraulic suspension allows for a smooth ride both on the road and in the field.

    Engine revs are adjusted using the linear sliding switch compared to the pressing of a button as was the case with his previous sprayer, a small feature that makes road travelling easier. Greater control can be achieved to slow the sprayer down without pulling back the hydrostatic joystick.

    The specs

  • Engine: 180hp six-cylinder Deutz.
  • Working width: 24m boom.
  • Mixture tank capacity: 4,000l.
  • Fresh water tank: 400l.
  • Induction hopper: 25l.
  • Steering: selectable two- and four-wheel steering.
  • Suspension: Hydro-pneumatic.
  • Max road speed: 40km/h.
  • Section control: seven-section cut-offs.
  • Boom: Single-line steel boom.
  • Fuel tank: 270l.
  • Ground clearance: 1,000mm.
  • Unladen weight: 8,000kg.