Eardly Agri Services of Kilkenny held a tillage demo day recently with a large selection of machinery on view.

Amazone, Krone, Topcon, Bomford and Gregoire Besson were some of the brands on show. Customers could also test-drive some of these machines.

One of these was from TopCon, the GPS guidance company. The X25 8.4in display, AGI-4 receiver and steering controller allowed the 2001 NewHolland TM 165 tractor have an operating accuracy of -/+ 2cm with the help of an RTK base station positioned in the field.

Craig England of Topcon said the main advantages of the system were that there was no need for an extra control box in the cab for the implement being operated. Full functionality of the mounted Amazone sprayer was through the Topcon control box along with GPS guidance on the same screen.

Provided the implement attached is Isobus-compatible, it’s not just sprayers that can be operated. Spreaders, balers, forage wagons, etc, can all be controlled through this screen with full GPS functionality. Yield-mapping, section control and variable rate are controlled from the one control box.

The steering wheel unit is neatly positioned below the steering wheel. Information transfer can be made via a USB memory stick. Remote support from Topcon is available as an optional extra, giving the farmer peace of mind should something go wrong.

Also on display were a selection of fertiliser spreaders from Amazone. The new machine from Eardlys was the mounted ZA-V weigh cell spreader. This is a hydraulically operated Isobus-compatible spreader with capacity from 2,200 to 4,200 litres.

Tom O’Connor of Farmhand said the advantage of this machine is that without the PTO, continuous oil flow allows for more consistent spread pattern as each disc on the machine can be independently controlled. The machine is fully GPS-compatible so automatic section control is available. When the operator reaches the headland or a corner, either disc will slow down and the volume of material falling on to that disc will reduce to the pre-set rate.

Tom said this avoids overlaps. A larger trailed version of this machine was also on display, the ZG-TS 8,200. This machine has the same functionality as the V mounted machine but is aimed at large-scale tillage farmers or fertiliser-spreading contractors.

The interesting point about this machine is that when operating on the headland, the point where the fertiliser falls on to each disc changes slightly and the shorter vane on the disc moves into position. The disc speed also slows according to the required spread width preset from the cab. When spreading in the main section of the field, the longer part of the vane is used to spread fertiliser full width. The machine is complete with weigh cells and hydraulically controlled cover.

Tom also showed the Catros 3003 Special, a 3m mounted disc cultivator with an open-cage packer roller which is ideal for shallow cultivation in stubbles or grass.

For large-scale tillage farming, a trailed Cenius 4003 Super-ZTX was present. This is a 13-legged spring-loaded cultivator aimed at farmers who want to cultivate ground deeply. Behind the tines was a row of levelling discs and for reconsolidation, a full-width rubber wedge-ring roller to level the cultivated ground.

To reduce wheel slip, there is the option of a selectable traction system that transfers more weight on to the tractor’s rear wheels. All machines displayed were eligible for TAMS.

Marianne Mulhall from Teagasc Kilkenny answered questions from farmers on TAMS applications. The most recent tranche of TAMS was launched on 1 July 2017. The closing date for applications is 6 October. Fertiliser spreaders are now included. Prior to this just the GPS controlling part of the machine qualified. The list of eligible investments includes both mounted and trailed fertiliser spreaders. These can be specified with full GPS section control. If a customer wants to install full GPS section control to an existing machine, this also qualifies. Marianne also said approval for grant aid can take six months and the machine purchased under the scheme must also be available for inspection.