Machinery: A good spread from Amazone
German manufacturer Amazone is raising the bar for spreader and sprayer technology
As a rule, German manufacturers aim to be ahead of the curve in all aspects of research, development and engineering. The latest offerings from Amazone are no exception.
Last week I travelled to one of the company's main manufacturing facilities in Hasenberg-Gaste, Germany, to tour the factory and view the firm's latest offerings.
While much of the machinery produced by Amazone is aimed at the eastern and central European landscape, and is therefore quite large, they also produce an array of smaller equipment aimed at markets like Ireland. Farmhand are the Irish distributors for Amazone.
Amazone offer a range of fertiliser spreaders, with a wide variety of add-ons. As with all modern farming procedures, the aim of the game is reducing input costs.
This particularly applies to countries like Ireland with its smaller and irregular shaped land blocks.
Spreading on short ground and wedge-shaped fields is an ideal opportunity to waste fertiliser if you so wish. If you don't, Amazone has developed an innovation called the DynamicSpread section control for its ZA-TS hydro mounted and ZG-TS hydro trailed spreaders.
The system is based on newly developed software for the job computer on both fertiliser spreaders.
This new software is able to switch 64 or 128 part-width sections, resulting in a dynamic matching of spread width and the spread rate to the field shape.
When run in conjunction with a GPS guidance system, the spreader has the ability to cut its spreading area in sections called part-width sections.
Put simply, this means that if you are applying fertiliser at a spread width of 30 metres, the fertiliser spreader has the ability to divide that width anywhere between 64 and 128 times.
The spreader will then only apply fertiliser in the sections that require it. When spreading towards a wedge shaped headland, it will reduce the spreading width to the headland side to prevent overlap and costly double spreading.
The speed of the hydraulically driven discs and electrically operated drop point of the fertiliser will then be calculated by the on board computer to give less overlap spreading.
One of the biggest innovations in the fertiliser department was the app developed by Amazone for testing the spread pattern of the fertiliser spreader.
It is a very basic system comprising of a number of rubber mats (40cm by 60cm) that are placed across the full working width of the machine. The operator lays the mats out in preset areas, then spreads as normal across the area where the mats are laid.
A picture of each mat is then taken on your smartphone, and an app analyses the picture of each mat to determine if the spread pattern is even or not. If it is not, the app will offer assistance in calibration.
The system will be available in Ireland next year, and undoubtedly sounds a lot easier than tray testing.
Recent government legislation regarding sprayers and sprayer operator training has seen a surge in sales around Ireland.
Val McAuley, product support manager with Farmhand, sold 31 mounted sprayers in total in 2015. However, such is the demand that Farmhand has already sold that number to date this year.
Mr McAuley said the most common sprayer for the Irish market is the Amazone UF 901, a basic 15m unit with a 1000 litre capacity and a price tag of €15,000 plus VAT. Farmhand currently offer a deal of €3,000 up front, with four instalments thereafter. At the opposite end of the scale is the Amazone 1201. This beast offers a working width of 30m.
There were only five of these machines manufactured, one of which is currently employed spraying Christmas trees in Co Wexford. This is no cheap sprayer, clocking out at approximately €50,000 plus VAT depending on specification.
As an innovation to its range of crop protection sprayers, Amazone has introduced its electric AmaSwitch individual nozzle switching system.
The benefit of this individual nozzle switching is the possibility of operating with smaller part-width sections in wedge shaped fields and in short work, as well as on the headland, meaning that it can be even more precise.
The overlap areas are significantly reduced by up to 85pc in comparison with conventional section width shut-off. The new technology is based around three-fold nozzle bodies with electric on/off switching to each body.
It essentially means that as you approach a running headland or short ground, each individual nozzle can be turned off automatically, as opposed to turning off boom sections containing six or more nozzles.
Ploughs and cultivators for all terrains
Cereals 2016, one of the biggest shows of the year for tillage farmers, takes place tomorrow and Thursday in Cambridgeshire in the UK. The event has traditionally drawn a strong contingent of Irish contractors and tillage farmers. Krone will use the show to exhibit its Big X 630 self propelled forage harvester and Big Pack high capacity square baler.
One of nine models in the forage harvester range, the Big X 630 is the company’s largest powered option with the narrow body and powered by a 15.6 litre six cylinder engine.
The PowerSplit feature matches power to crop yield and has two operating modes; Eco-Power (460hp) and X-Power (596 hp). There are new 710 / 70 R 42 front tyres and a choice of rear tyres fitted to the wishbone suspended axle.
The cab features a large touch screen terminal and Krone joystick for easy and comfortable operation. The chopping drum with a choice of 20, 28 or 36 knives provides a chop length ranging from 3mm to 31mm.
Meanwhile, Krone claims that its new generation high-capacity square baler (pictured above) will deliver up to 50pc more bales than its predecessor, while bale density has been increased by up to 10pc.
Its higher performance required design upgrades, from the pick-up all the way down to the eight double knotters. The flywheel on the baler now weighs 608kg and is backed up by an intermediate gearbox that increases its speed to 1,180rpm.
Operators can select 26 or 13 knives quickly and without the need of tools. Six pressure rams operate the HDP II chamber doors, the top door being operated by two 140mm rams and each of the two side doors by two 110mm rams.
The eight double knotters are supplied with 54 balls of twine, with an option for two further compartments, each storing six balls.
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