While sterling’s fall since the Brexit vote has helped to firm up commodity prices, and tractor and equipment sales have risen from their recent low point as a result, there is still a significant level of cautiousness in the UK’s arable sector. That has been exacerbated by uncertainty over agricultural policy post-Brexit, and what form Brexit will take, particularly given the hung parliament resulting from the recent general election.

Couple this with rising costs associated with exhibiting, such as stand rent and staff accommodation, which are deterring some makers from committing to the event, and the result was a noticeably quiet Cereals event in the UK last week, in terms of both visitor and exhibitor numbers.

However, the absence of big stands full of tractors and combines gave manufacturers of crop establishment, treatment and handling equipment the opportunity to give their machinery a higher profile. There was plenty of new machinery to see among the stands at the Lincolnshire farm venue.

Moro Unico

Opico, the UK importer for Maschio products, is extending the range of the Italian manufacturer’s machinery it brings in with the addition of a plough line, reflecting a resurgence of interest in rotational ploughing as a grassweed control tool, particularly in light of increasingly difficult-to-control blackgrass.

The range comes courtesy of fellow Italian firm Moro, whose products Maschio has sold in other parts of Europe for some time, and in which, since May, it has owned a controlling share. There are two ranges, the 3-5f Unico M and the 4-6f Unico L. Key features include mechanical or hydraulic variable furrow width, double-arm parallelogram linkage adjustment for the front furrow width, and a turnover memory function, which closes up the bodies automatically when turning the plough over and then resets them accordingly, using the beam alignment ram to reduce wear on pins, bushes and link rods. A centralised hydro-pneumatic circuit with piston nitrogen accumulator is said to result in faster leg reset if you encounter an obstacle.

Claydon Terrablade

Making its debut on the Claydon stand was the firm’s front linkage-mounted Terrablade inter-row hoe, designed for shallow working between wide-row band-sown crops established using one of the company’s drills to reduce demands on herbicides and cut crop protection bills.

Claydon said that the Terrablade can be used at forward speeds of approximately 6km/hr, working at up to 20mm deep. Guide wheels are installed at the front of the implement.

Triton drill

Farm-designed and -built, the Triton drill attracted a lot of attention on the working plots, largely because of its simplicity, said to ensure it moves the minimum amount of soil to avoid disturbing weed seed, while still filling the seed slot.

Claimed to be suitable for a range of soils, the key feature of the drill is that each tine coulter is followed by a slightly offset closing tine, which shifts soil sideways to close the seed slot, negating the need for a press wheel or packer and eliminating the risk of weed seed disturbance they can cause. Seed is piped from a front-mounted hopper. A standard 3m drill is priced in the UK at £23,950, excluding VAT.

Bristows subsoiler

Simplicity was also a theme with the split-level subsoiler from Bristows, a firm based not far from the Cereals site in Lincolnshire.

Targeted at the oilseed rape establishment market, it can be specified with leading loosening tines or discs, which precede subsoiler legs of various types depending on the level of shattering and surface movement required.

The interesting bits come next, with a multi-tooth tiller roll comprising staggered points providing a consolidation and levelling effect.

Then, arranged in pairs, come 45 degree-angled disc coulters, down the back of which the seed is placed. Each is followed by a flat roller.

Kuhn performer

Cultivation and drilling equipment from bigger names included a 3m version of Kuhn’s performer deep-working disc/tine cultivator. Key components include two rows of 510mm independent and hydraulically adjustable discs and four rows of non-stop hydraulic breakback tines capable of working to a maximum depth of 350mm. Tine point choices include standard 80mm shares, 50mm subsoiling shares or wing shares. At the rear is a notched roller providing up to 225kg/m of hydraulically adjustable pressure. The firm also showed its new Prolander tined seedbed cultivator and articulated Vari-Challenger plough of up to 10 furrows.

Zuidberg Next tracks

Retro-fit rear track units have found homes with many UK cropping businesses seeking increased traction and flotation from high-horsepower tractors yet wanting a fully wheeled tractor at other times of the year, but the downside is the 40% reduction in road speed they impose.

Lynx Engineering is offering a new 40km/hr (25mph) rated system from Dutch maker Zuidberg.

Suited to tractors of 250hp to 400hp, the Next tracks use a revised gearbox that bolts on to the tractor axle to achieve this, and feature full hydraulic suspension, plus flexing mid-rollers to absorb bumps.

Cross Engineering Chaser bin

Among the exhibitors from Ireland was Cross Engineering, whose managing director Simon Cross said that the firm has now sold three of its giant 46cu metre chaser bin/drill fillers into Ireland.“In addition to one working in the UK, we’ve also exported five units to the US,” he said.

Agrifac Condor sprayer

A number of sprayer-makers debuted new products. Dutch manufacturer Agrifac is offering the trailed Milan range alongside its well-established Condor self-propelled sprayers. There are 3,500l, 4,200l, 5,400l and 6,800l tank options, with booms from 27m to 45m, and individual nozzle section control available.

Househam Predator

The flagship self-propelled sprayer from Househam is the Predator, available in 4,000l and 5,000l capacities, with booms of up to 36m. Innovations include a hydraulic load-sensing suspension system which adapts responsiveness according to tank load. The engine is a four-cylinder MTU producing 230hp.

Mzuri Razorback

Away from tillage, drilling and spraying, one of the most interesting launches was from Mzuri, the direct strip-till drill firm whose boss founded and used to own Spearhead.

The company chose Cereals to launch the Razorback, a new hedgetrimmer design incorporating two distinct features.

A hydraulic levelling system automatically levels the trimmer independently of the tractor, while the head drops the conventional horizontal rotor and flails in favour of three vertical rotors, each featuring with a pair of three blades and mounted one above the other to pulverise the trimmings.

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