All roads lead to Gurteen College for the much anticipated FTMTA Grass & Muck Show 2018 this Thursday.
The biennial event has proved very popular with the farming and agricultural contracting sectors since it was first introduced in 2010. Some 12,000 visitors are expected to attend this year.
Recently improving conditions have brought good grass growth on the Gurteen College site, which is the largest agricultural college farm in the country at close to 1,000 acres. FTMTA boss Gary Ryan says the focus at Grass & Muck is on working machinery, with ongoing demonstrations throughout the day in the grass harvesting, reseeding, silage pit, slurry spreading and farm yard manure-spreading areas.
Over 20 firms will demonstrate their ranges of silage-making equipment across in excess of 100 acres of grassland. For the first time there will be five brands of self-propelled forage harvesters (SFPH) in action. Fendt will be making their first appearance at the event and the Katana is sure to attract much attention. Also in action on the SFPH front will be regulars Claas, Krone, New Holland and John Deere.
There will be comprehensive displays from the main Irish and international grass machinery manufacturers and, interestingly, this year sees Massey Ferguson taking a large demo area to showcase their evolving grass line.
Four brands will demonstrate their loading shovels and telehandlers on the silage pit and at the dung heap. The silage pit is always a visitor favourite with over 8,000 people taking their turn on the viewing platform to watch the big machines in action last time out. A new wheeled loader from Claas, the Torion, will no doubt attract much attention.
The dung spreading demonstrations offer a dual opportunity to view the spreaders themselves in action and also the telehandlers working hard to keep these hungry machines filled throughout the day. A total of seven exhibitors will participate in the dung spreading demonstration with a number of machines making their first appearance such as Teagle, Metal-Fach and Marshall.
Slurry spreading will take place in an adjacent area on an alternating rota with dung spreading and will feature demos from Irish manufacturers such as Abbey, Cross and SlurryKat.
Meanwhile, with the increased focus on quality grass production brought into sharp focus in recent months, the reseeding area is one many visitors are sure to be interested in with demos from Poettinger, Duncan Ag, Alstrong and DH Farm Machinery. The trade village features nearly 100 stands representing agricultural-related businesses, including seed, fertiliser, machinery and financial service providers.
Tickets for the event can either be bought on the day (€20) or for a discounted rate (€15) online at ftmta.ie. People buying tickets in this way will receive an e-ticket by email.
Industrial Strength from New Holland
The star of New Holland's exhibition will be the new flagship FR920 harvester, featuring the all-new FPT Industrial V20 engine developed specifically for forage harvesting applications. It delivers a massive 670 kW (911 hp) maximum power at 1600 to 1800rpm. The power curve is mapped to match the precise requirements of foraging applications ensuring the best transient response, reacting fast to changing load.
Demonstrating round baling operations will be New Holland's Roll Baler 125 featuring the latest pick-up, which was introduced on the Big Baler and Roll Belt balers. At 2.3m, the Roll Baler 125 is 300mm wider than in the previous model. The five tine bars with double cam drive and the adjustable suspension deliver ultimate feeding capacity and best-in-class pick-up efficiency. On tractors New Holland will demonstrate its new T6 Dynamic Command multi-purpose tractor with new, eight-step semi-power shift transmission. Offering between 145 and 175hp with engine power management, these tractors are expected to sell well amongst contractors and bigger farmers in Ireland.
New Holland LM telehandlers will also be shown. With the latest LM series, enhanced performance and economy are matched to improved comfort and reduced operating costs. The five-model range feature a strong boom and chassis with the latest engine and transmissions, while the cab sets a benchmark for low noise and comfort.
Take five with Claas
Claas will have a total of five new additions from their extensive green harvest, tractor and material handling ranges on display and working at this year's FTMTA Grass & Muck event, namely:
• the Jaguar 970 harvester;
• Torion 1812 wheel loader;
• Volto 55 tedder;
• Axion 900 tractor (Tier 4F);
• Arion 600 tractor (Tier 4F).
The Jaguar forage harvester always attracts a large crowd when working at grassland demonstrations and visitors to this year's event will be able to see the latest 775hp Jaguar 970 with the new Pick Up300 header being put through its paces.
New features include a hydraulic clamping system for the shearbar, resulting in reduced wear and improved chop quality, improvements to the sharpening system and automatic concave adjustment so that the distance between the concave and blades remains constant as the blades wear.
Fuel consumption has also been reduced thanks to a new running gear that allows the Jaguar to now travel at 40kph at just 1300rpm. A new ground drive system produces more hydraulic power and there is also automatic engine speed reduction at the headland.
On display for the first time in Ireland will be the new Torion 1812 wheel loader, which will be showing off its capabilities in the clamp. Powered by a 195hp Leibherr 4-cylinder engine, the Torion has a tipping load capacity of 11 tonnes and an operating weight of 18.7 tonnes.
A particular feature is its massive torque of 1215Nm, which comes in at 1100rpm, which is far higher than any competing machine and ensures it has no shortage of pushing power. Drive is through a split-power CVT transmission, again another first for a machine of this type. In addition to its minimal fuel consumption and high productivity, the engine only needs servicing every 2,000 hours, and the transmission checked at 3,000 and serviced at 6,000 hours, far longer than with any other competing machine.
John Deere's New Generation
John Deere will be featuring the new generation HarvestLab 3000 crop constituent/manure sensing system and V400 Series variable chamber round baler for the first time in Ireland at FTMTA Grass & Muck.
Now available for the 2018 season, the new high capacity V400 Series variable chamber round balers have been designed to work more efficiently and productively in all crop conditions from wet grass to dry, brittle straw, offering farmers and contractors increased versatility and ease of operation.
Key features of the new baler include a durable, extra heavy duty welded frame and a proven feeding system with a larger diameter pick-up and one-piece in-line auger rotor for improved intake and crop flow. Heavier duty components such as bigger drive chains, oversize roller bearings, a new bale density tension system and Hardox steel rotor tines have also been incorporated in the new designs.
Features include a full width drop-floor unplugging system enabling the operator to remove blockages instantly from the tractor cab, and a range of BaleTrak monitors. There is a choice of net only or net and twine wrapping options, and models are compatible with John Deere's weather resistant B-Wrap system.
John Deere's 8000 Series self-propelled forage harvesters for 2018 are available with the new HarvestLab 3000 sensing system. HarvestLab was the first NIR (near infra-red) sensing system in the industry to measure silage dry matter and enable automatic length of cut adjustments.
The system was subsequently developed to analyse crude protein, starch, sugar and other silage constituents, and can now be used for maize, grass and manure sensing.
Other new features include the optional Active Fill Control rear-unloading system, which allows the spout to automatically fill a trailer when the tractor follows behind the forager, for example when opening a field.
Harvester with a big appetite
This is the first year the distinctive looking self-propelled Katana forage harvester from Fendt will be demonstrated at FTMTA Grass & Muck.
In addition to compliance with the new Tier 4 final emissions standard, the tried and tested swinging frame directly on the intake has six feed rollers and infinitely adjustable control to ensure best compression of the crop on the way to the cutter head. Moreover, the Katana 65 still has the largest cutter head on the market - now alternatively with 20, 28 or 40 knives. A full line of headers is available for all applications.
The tank design concept was also revised and can now be optionally equipped with a silage additive system, which is easily accessible and can be controlled and monitored from the terminal. Fendt claims the design of the Katana, with its longitudinally mounted engine, is cutting edge. Optional LED lighting packages are available for the entire vehicle, and the back of the forage harvester has been redesigned to offer generous storage spaces for tools and fast access to the batteries.
New extra wide and extra high front tyres with widths up to 900mm or 42 inch rims (for example, 900/60 R38 with an average of 2.06 m or 710/70 R42 for an outer width of only 3.2m) make the Katana suitable all operating conditions.
The harvester is powered with an MTU 6R 1500 engine with a 15.6-litre displacement and 460 KW/625 hp. The oil changing interval is 500 hours.
High horsepower from Massey
The Massey Ferguson offering in Gurteen is set to include the latest mid to high horsepower S Series tractors, the smaller MF 4700 and 5700 tractors ranging from 75 to 110hp, as well as new round balers and telehandlers.
Examples of the company's latest mower, rake and tedder models will also be on display at the event.
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Ready for action at the Gurteen College site will be the latest round balers, represented by the MF RB 2125 fixed chamber baler and the MF RB 4160 Variable chamber baler. This baler range now offers a wide choice of fixed and variable chamber machines to meet the needs of smaller stock farms, larger mixed grass/arable units and high-use contractors.
Taking centre stage will be Massey Ferguson's range of grass machinery. Since its acquisition of Lely grass machinery in 2016, the collection of rakes, mowers and tedders has gained major momentum and is becoming increasingly popular.
With the extensive range of MF rakes - in which there are more than 20 models - options include single, twin or four rotors, with side or centre delivery and a wide range of working widths, so there's one to suit all situations and preferences. Those coming to Grass & Muck will be able to see Massey Ferguson mowers, rakes and tedders working in the demo areas.
The MF TD 524 tedder operates via the three-point linkage covering a width of 5.2m and with six tine arms on each of the four rotors.
Another brand-new machine making its debut will be the MF TH.6534 Telescopic handler with its hydrostatic transmission, 3.4 tonne lift capacity and 6.5m lift height capacity.