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MAY 2018
Machinery News
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31/07/2017 11:05
As it turned out, Derek and co. went ahead with a static
machinery display at Tinryland GAA grounds with a big
farmer attendance to view the array of machines that
Lemken had assembled. There have been huge changes in
how tillage operations are carried out, as Derek explained:
"It's been our experience that semi-mounted ploughs are
increasing in popularity. Those include seven and eight-
furrow units that can get through a lot of ground in a
hurry." Justifying the investment involved in equipping
a farm with these large-scale machines is a question
often asked: "There are significant savings to be made
from larger units. Labour, for instance, is both scarce and
expensive. Reducing labour requirements on a tillage farm
can deliver real cost savings and larger machines mean that
the work output doesn't suffer. There are greater demands
on operators to get through more work, more quickly. We
are finding that this is leading to tillage operators kitting
themselves out with bigger output machines."
Back to the future
There was a time when disc harrows were the most
common tool for tilling ground. It's a case of back to the
future, according to Derek: "When ground turns up wet, it
can dry out hard and `slabby'. Operators need machines to
break up that ground and many of them are turning to the
well tested disc harrow technology to get the ground ready
for sowing. That allows you to move in faster than with a
power harrow, for instance. Scale still holds with the new
disc units. Five and six-metre harrows are popular, and the
new disc harrows are a refined machine compared to their
previous counterparts."
Investing in hard times
With grain prices on the floor for four years, it must be
difficult to justify the investment required to renew tillage
equipment on farms. Not so, says Derek: "Farmers have
their budgets set out. They realise they can't run their
machines into the ground. It's often cheaper to regularly
upgrade than be faced with the prospect of facing huge
investment at one time and also experiencing high wear
and tear and service costs if machinery is let run down."
A field-based weather monitor
Field-based weather stations are a novel introduction by
Lemken. The Irish sales manager says that it is all part of
Lemken's weather protection programme: "The challenge
in Germany was for R&D personnel to examine what would
bring real value to their customers in terms of increasing
crop protection efficiencies. Its introduction in Ireland
will be a real boost, where spraying opportunities can be
scarce. The technology involves a weather station in the
field that measures soil temperatures at crop height on
an ongoing basis. It also monitors air temperatures and
wind velocities. Most importantly, the weather station
can extrapolate disease pressure from the data and deliver
that information back to the farmer's phone. There is
even advice on the best times to spray to maximise spray
efficiency taking the likes of wind, sunlight and moisture
levels into account. That can reduce leaf burn, run-off and
potential spray drift. It's another piece of technology to go
with automatic boom and nozzle shut-off to deliver both
savings and efficiency in spray operations."
Fergal Wilkinson, Co. Antrim, discusses the new Lemken weather station system with Derek Delahunty, sales manager, Lemken Ireland.
Looking at Lemken options
In normal weather and with
normal soil conditions, a
tillage demonstration in
early March wouldn't have
posed any problems. This
year, as everyone knows,
was di erent. When Derek
Delahunty and his colleagues
in Lemken decided to hold
a demonstration of their
equipment in Carlow in early
March, they hardly anticipated
that all fieldwork would be
rendered impossible by the
ongoing rain that hampered all
field operations in the spring
of 2018, writes
Matt O'Kee e
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