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Independent.ie

Monday 25 September 2017

Bomford's latest gets thumbs-up at Wicklow stud farm

First buyer marvels at the reach of new machine

Bruce Lett

Launched just this year, the Bomford Falco Evo is the latest addition to the Bomford hedgecutter range. A total of eight models are available with the Evo 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 having maximum horizontal reaches of 5.5m, 6.0m and 6.5m respectively.

These are available in 'standard' or 'parallel' geometry versions, plus the Evo 5.5 and 6.5 are also available with forward arms. According to importers IAM in Kilkenny, the Evo is suitable for use with tractors of 80hp and above.

The first to buy one of the new models was Richard Woodroofe, who farms with his brother at Raheenmore Stud not far from Wicklow town.

From their base, they produce and sell haylage, and provide a hedgecutting service.

While the brothers don't keep a stallion any more they still like to keep a few horses, says Richard.

According to Richard, this is his fourth Bomford hedgecutter and sixth tractor combination over roughly 20 years.

"We generally keep the hedgecutter around five years," he said.

The specification of his new Bomford Falcon 6.0T Evo is quite unusual in that it's a non-parallel machine and bracket mounted on a relatively small tractor for this size of hedgecutter, a New Holland T5060.

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"I like to have a compact unit with tractor and machine matched," he said. "This enables me to work in narrow road situations and, by using this model of Bomford, a 6m telescopic machine, I get maximum reach without the penalty of huge weight."

His Bomford Falcon has a nominal reach of 6m but, specified without the parallel arms, gives a considerable reach advantage of 23ft 11ins compared to 20ft 4ins maximum on the parallel version.

Having a telescopic boom allows Richard to raise the primary arm and then drop the dipper arm, extend the telescopic section and get the head working right down parallel with the tractor tyre.

"If you are working on grass verges, it's a gift as your overall width is just the tractor plus the 40-inch head, allowing a freer flow of traffic," he said.

To stabilise the outfit, the rear wheels are half-full of water. This keeps the centre of gravity low and safe to work.

The Woodroofes always use the tractor with a front loader and add weights to the bucket section of the loader to give a nice balance between front and rear.

"We do not use normal front tractor weights as this simply puts weight on the front axle. In hilly conditions we can lower the loader to make the operation even safer. The centre of gravity can be as low as we need it," said Richard.

Changes

Before putting the new hedgecutter to work, Richard generally makes a few minor changes.

"The first thing I modify is the head parking arrangement. I like to keep the machine within the tractor width in transport. So I fit a simple shackle to the tractor lift arm and use a ratchet strap to locate the main arm right behind the tractor."

To prevent debris being blown forward onto the tractor, he fits an additional piece of rubber on the corner of the head.

"Since doing this, we have never broken any glass on the cab," said Richard.

A homemade plastic cover over the tractor's fuel tank cover protects the fuel cap.

The addition of a narrow strip of steel just over the motor allows the electric fence to be 'carried' when tidying up along stud fences.

"We always fit a safety chain between the machine and the tractor. This is easy to do. Just attach a ring to the unused helper ram stub on the tractor and then to the top link section of the machine. This makes it doubly secure," he said.

For more information on the Raheenmore stud's operations, log on to www.raheenmorestud.ie. The Bomford range of hedgecutters is distributed by IAM. For more details, telephone 056 776 5826 or check out www.iam.ie

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