POTATO EQUIPMENT REVIEW
By Top Crop Manager
Planting, harvest and loading machinery
By Top Crop Manager
Over the last year, dozens of new models and designs of
machinery have been introduced by manufacturers. Many of you will have
seen these introductions at farm shows and in various industry announcements
– but, can you remember the details? This feature provides a reference.
-30- Peter Darbishire, Editor
While Top Crop Manager editors make every
effort to be objective when reporting on new products, they cannot be
held responsible for claims made by companies. Readers are encouraged
to contact the companies for more details.
Planting to harvest
Grimme says its GL-T series potato planters are multi-talented! Available in
four, six and eight row configurations, they are based on the company's Z and
ZS series. A five-in-one cultivation-planting combination to improve productivity.
The bunker lowers behind the carrying wheels to allow ground level filling.
A compact planter, twin wheels allow accurate row alignment. A pivoting furrow
opener is ideal for stoney soils, says the company. Two liquid fertilizer tanks
can be mounted in front, or a stainless steel fertilizer hopper can be chosen.
Other options include spring-loaded ridging bodies and bed shaping board.
The GL34T, GL36T and GL38T models are for four, six or eight rows, respectively.
They feature 3500kg, 5000kg and 6000kg hoppers. A bed planting version can also
be ordered for two and four row beds. A three bed system is another option.
Also new from Grimme is the GT170 harvester. Weighing about 13,000lb, it requires
a 70hp to 90hp tractor, depending on features chosen and conditions. Intake
web width is just over five feet (1.631m) and there are choices of chain pitch
of 28mm, 32mm, 35mm, 40mm, 45mm and 50mm on the intake web and the main web.
The harvester features a mechanical agitator. A star roller separator feeds
to a second separator and a picking table is available on the GT170S model.
The Dirt King eliminators are in production at Gagnon Ornamental Works (GOW).
Built with a split elevator in back, the Dirt King is available in 60in and
72in widths. All eliminators are fully hydraulic to maximize capacity. Self-propelled
with hydraulic steering axle, these machines are easy to use and manoeuvre in
tight spots. They are available in many combinations: stand alone, with inspection
table, sizer and/or cross conveyor. -30-
Adjustment easy for pre-sizer
From Milestone, the model 6050 and 7250 potato cutters are new. The hydraulically
operated coulter quick-adjust enables the operator to choose the size and type
of seed piece preferred without stopping the unit to adjust it manually, thus
compensating for uneven seed profiles and conditions as they occur.
With the quick adjust pre-sizer, the operator can adjust the pre-sizer for
undersize potatoes that do not need to be cut into halves, which allows the
remaining sizers to be more efficient in the sizing process.
Progressive rolls are a larger diameter which will align potatoes more consistently.
Reversing their rotation helps manipulate larger or misshapen tubers.
The top and bottom knife sharpeners allow the operator to sharpen individual
coulter blades, as needed, by moving the sharpening tool with its easy adjustable
handle directly to the dull blade and sharpening it without stopping the operation.
Safety features included are an electric eye, limit switch and slip clutch.
Also new for 2006 is the Milestone directional flight in the elevator for a
more consistent flow and longer durability. -30-
Hopper speeds harvest, reduce wear
Lockwood has introduced a bulk boom hopper for its 474H and 484H four row harvesters.
The hopper has a capacity of 30cwt to 40cwt and features a 42in wide fold-over
boom. A smooth bruise-free flow of potatoes into the hopper is assured with
the electronic sensor which automatically raises and lowers the boom intake
for minimum product drop into the hopper.
The hopper allows continuous digging with the harvester while switching trucks,
along with quicker turn-around time at the end of the field. Operators also
have the option of digging up steep slopes and through low spots without the
need for a truck alongside. Since there is less starting and stopping of the
harvester with the bulk boom hopper, there is reduced wear and tear, and lower
Lockwood has also introduced a new engine driven vine blower for its harvester
line. This package uses a 4.5L 110hp Cummins diesel to drive the vine blower
fan as well as a hydraulic pump that runs the boom and shakers. The vine blower
allows the operator to finely tune the airflow to the desired amount for optimum
cleaning for any vine type and condition. In addition, the reduced horsepower
requirements of the blower system allow a more economically sized tractor to
be used with the harvester. This option can be ordered on Lockwood models 472H,
473H and 474H. -30-
Don't cut the corners
Reinke Navigator GPS guidance offers a GPS controlled option for irrigation
systems. The technology increases accuracy resulting in more precise irrigation
practices. The company also intends to apply the technology for guidance of
lateral move systems. -30-