The Italian-built ROC merger – being presented to the Irish market on July 13 and 14 – is a viable alternative to rotor rakes. The Kverneland Group is also rolling out a range of upgrades to existing models
The ROC merger, a largely unheard of swathing tool in Ireland, could be on course to become a common feature in contractor fleets across the country. The Italian-built implement presents a viable alternative to rotor rakes giving a cleaner and intact forage which will be better for your livestock, Kverneland claims.
In October of 2021, Kverneland announced it had signed an agreement to acquire 80pc of the shares in the ROC company, a leading producer of mergers located in the Rimini province of Italy. The other 20pc share is held by the original owners, the Ubaldi brothers.
The mergers have remained with the ROC brand and distribution network but the overall manufacturing capacity and production knowledge is being phased into the Kverneland network.
Managing Director of Kverneland Ireland, Philip English, told the Farming Independent that the group’s first ROC merger, the RT 880, has just arrived in Ireland and can be seen this week.
“The Irish market will get its first glimpse at the merger at the FTMTA Farm Machinery Show on July 13 and 14 July in Punchestown Exhibition Centre,” Philip said. “We don’t have a price list made up for this product yet but it is expected to come into similar money as the four rotor rake.”
Kverneland anticipates its annual sales will soar past €1bn within the next five years, as the group continues to expand through acquisitions of well-known manufacturers of agricultural implements.
The history of the group dates back to 1879 when the founder, Ole Gabriel Kverneland, built a forge to manufacture scythes in the village of Kvernaland near Stavanger in Norway.
In May 2012, Kubota Corporation acquired Kverneland Group, taking full ownership. Kverneland has since enjoyed a new level of purchasing power with the backing of this multi-billion euro parent company.
As part of an international agri journalist event, organised by Kverneland, the Farming Independent travelled to the group’s headquarters in Ravenna and the ROC factory in Rimini, Italy.
The factory, located towards the north east of the country, currently produces over 300 mergers per year. The merger uses a pickup reel to load the crop onto a series of belts and subsequently transfers it to either side of the unit. Kverneland claims this process of lifting the crop, in contrast to raking it across the ground, will result in less damage to the forage.
Another advantage to the merger is a cleaner resulting swath for pickup by the baler or harvester. Less stones and dirt is likely to become entangled in the forage when compared with the traditional rake implement.
It is suggested that the merger will in turn lead to better health for livestock, with better forage quality and the reduction in foreign material within.
Minimum power needed to operate the RT 880 is an 80hp tractor. The unit is almost nine metres wide when extended for operation and almost 5.4m long. Fully folded, this width is reduced to exactly three metres. The unit is much more compact in comparison to the rake system commonly used in Ireland, but similar in weight with the RT 880 coming in at 4,950kg in total.
Kverneland Group’s business structure is divided across two divisions, arable and harvesting, with 10 production locations in eight countries.
The conglomerate has over 2,600 employees on the books and experienced a 16pc growth in sales in the year to date.
Despite this, Group executive vice president of sales and marketing, Arild Gjerde, warns of growing concern around rising input costs, particularly; steel, electronics, PCBs, hydraulics and energy among others.
“The war in Ukraine is beginning to impact our steel supplies. We are also seeing a strong change from a concern around demand for machines to the current situation of concern around the ability to supply,” Arild told attendees of the international agri journalist event. “Profit figures would be higher if the company was able to meet the market demand.”
Group product director Karl Engelbrecht highlighted that the overarching theme within the company is digitalisation and incorporating new technologies.
One such way the company hopes to achieve this is through the IsoMatch FarmCentre application which can track and control the movement of your fleet. There are 500 farmers currently beta testing the software across Europe.
Kverland has given a guarantee that farmers will maintain the right to the data collected by the system, acknowledging concerns around sensitive production and control data interference from outside sources.
An example of the system in practice is the Tractor Implement Management (TIM) tool. A baler with TIM installed will lead to eight steps out of 10 being saved during the bailing cycle. For every 100 bales the system can save 800 operations.
According to Kverneland, this technology will help reduce strain on labour supply, simplifying the overall baling system and making younger drivers more competent with the task.
The system also has the potential to reduce wear and tear on both the tractor and baler, combined with fuel saving with PTO management.
These advanced balers will be available in Ireland from spring 2023 onwards, with the first Kverneland and Vicon units available overseas from September 2022. Exciting new drone technology currently under development by Kobota group was also teased at the event. SeeTree is a drone with the compatibility of monitoring tree health and enhancing farmers’ decision making throughout the seasons.
Another interesting concept is the flying autonomous fruit picking robot, designed by Tevel Aerobotics Technologies, which could help reduce strains caused by the global shortage in fruit pickers.
Below, take a look at a range of upgrades being rolled out by Kverneland Group on the Irish market.
Kverneland is introducing the possibility to use the GEOSPREAD disc spreader range as a front-rear combination.
This combination will not only increase the total capacity up to 6,000 or 7,000 litres, but also the efficiency and accuracy will be increased by spreading two different applications in one pass, according to the company. This upgrade is hoped to result in time-saving and a reduction in soil damage.
Kverneland has boosted the appeal of its recently launched high-capacity fixed chamber baler with a new option targeted at professional farmers and contractors.
Kverneland 6500F model, which incorporates an 18-roller bale chamber, can now be specified with a film-on-film applicator option for those looking to take advantage of the improvements in silage quality claimed for this technique.
The PowerBind net injection system features a range of modifications including a modified braking system and additional rollers to allow for the differing characteristics of film compared to netting.
Kverneland has enhanced its stubble cultivators by adding a folding trailed model to the Enduro and Enduro Pro in working widths from four to five metres.
The tine distance of 280mm, row distance of 750mm and a high underbeam clearance of 870mm leads to a nice mixing and finishing without any risk of blockages.
A maximum working depth of 35cm is possible with the models of the Enduro Pro and 30cm with the Enduro.
A new high-capacity tedder is the 85156C, a 15.6m tedder boosting productivity and accuracy.
Featuring 14 small diameter rotors, the design provides a generous overlap between the rotors, giving an efficient pick-up and turning of the crop as well as equal distribution over the complete working width.
Kverneland is expanding its offering in the triple mower segment with two new triple mower conditioner combinations.
The heavy-duty build Kverneland 5387 MT is based on the 3300 series platform and includes well-established features like QuattroLink suspension concept, SemiSwing steel tineconditioning and dual adjustment of the conditioner plate. It is also available in a BX version with belt merger.
The 5387 MT is developed for maximum productivity and offers excellent ground tracking, easy operation, and versatility, according to the company.
Comprising two 3.2m mowing units, each with 8 round Kverneland discs, this combination can be operated by tractors starting from 180hp.
The iXtrack T4 comes with new features such as a 36 or 24 metre spray boom, SpotSpray, 25 cm nozzle distance and the next generation Boom Guide ProActive spray height control system.
Also existing features like the iXclean Pro cleaning and rinsing system have been updated with some useful new attributes. Kverneland claims that these changes now give the iXtrack T4 optimal protection of crops and the environment.
Seeding and fertilising in one pass is possible with Kverneland’s new f-drill front hopper as well as the combined application of seeds and companion crops.
In spring, the Kverneland f-drill can be used as a fertiliser hopper with the Optima F or for example in combination with the Kultistrip for strip tillage.
When joined with a power harrow drill combination, such as the Kverneland e-drill, the f-drill can be used as an additional seed hopper for sowing companion or spring crops.
In summer and autumn, the hopper can be combined with the Kverneland power harrow range and the well-known coulter bars to have a compact combination from three up to six metre working width.
There is a new generation of mounted reversible ploughs – Kverneland’s stepwise ploughs are about to be launched with two variations coming online; the 2300 S and 3300 S.
The Trailer Transport Solution (TTS) means that the plough behaves just like a trailer would behind a car.
The 2300 S is recommended for up to 225HP and the 3300 S model up to 330HP.