A WHOLE raft of arable related technology and machines will be making their UK debut to farmers visiting the forthcoming LAMMA machinery show at Peterborough, on January 18 and 19.
Here, we look at a few of the highlights to look out for:

Kuhn’s twin-disc spreader

Kuhn is launching a new, high capacity trailed fertiliser spreader at LAMMA.
Aimed at large scale arable and grassland operations, the new Axent 100.1 uses two spreading modules (one for granular products and a second for powdered material) and is the first trailed machine to offer variable rate spreading and automatic section control.
Capable of spreading a wide range of granular, pelleted or powdered fertilisers, the hydraulically driven Axis PowerPack uses the same technology as in the established Axis range, which have been proven across working widths of 18 to 50m.
This uses electronic mass control to continuously adjust the spreading rate across the machine’s width, achieved by constantly measuring the torque on each spreading disc and adjusting the flow rate on a second-by-second basis to ensure spreading accuracy.
A lime PowerPack uses larger spreading discs (700mm) which are designed to spread powdered product to a distance of 15m and is capable of output up to several tonnes per ha.
Switching the spreading modules is a simple procedure that can be completed in less than 10 minutes on the farm.
It has a hopper capacity of 9400 litres and uses an 800mm conveyor to feed the spreading module. A steering axle can be specified to prevent crop damage and it can also come with weigh cells. It retails from £93,657.
Kuhn will also be displaying its upgraded Deltis 2 mounted crop sprayer, which has a new chassis, tank and valve system. The chassis design makes it one of the lightest mounted sprayers on the UK market and the tank can hold up to 1300 litres.
Controls are available in two formats – the manually operated Manuset valve system of two steering wheel type valves to control the machine’s main spraying and flushing circuits; or the electronically controlled Diluset+ system which controls the sprayer’s main functions from the cab.
A range of booms, steel or aluminium, come in widths from 15 to 24 m. |All use the Optilift suspension system and the side folding booms are mounted on a parallelogram lift system for vertical stability during spraying whilst allowing the boom to float during road transportation.

big Spirit

Lower fuel consumption, reduced noise levels, improved ride quality and stability are some of the benefits of the latest Spirit model in the Househam self-propelled crop sprayer range to be seen at LAMMA.
The updated Spirit will be fitted with a four-cylinder 150 hp MTU engine, which uses selective catalytic reduction (SCR) exhaust after treatment technology for Tier 4 compliance, with no need for a diesel particulate filter.
The new engine also provides higher torque at lower engine rpm, has an efficient engine exhaust brake, plus a saving of up to 5% in fuel consumption.
In addition to the new MTU engine the Spirit S3-24 now features load compensated, self-levelling independent suspension by using fast react levelling valves for its four airbags. Suspension ride height is automatically adjusted whether full or unloaded.  
A temperature controlled hydraulic cooling fan gives better economy and reduces noise, only operating when required.

Latest Team sprayers

Team Sprayers’ new Leader4 has major design improvements and promises a better ride for farm contractors and larger farmers.
These have a re-designed low-profile tank and a ‘low-folding’ boom for a low centre of gravity and better stability. The range is available with 3000, 4000 and 5000 litre tank and boom options from 21 to 32m, with the wider formats being tri-fold.
There’s also a new heavy duty pto pump and air compressor combination for boom recirculation and immediate application readiness.  
The ride is improved by axle air suspension, with load sensing valve and a steering axle is standard.
Also on show will be Team’s latest front mounted liquid fertiliser application system for vegetable growers.
Ground level pipes incorporate the solution into the soil at rates from 50-1000 l/ha, while a high capacity hydraulic pump gives tank agitation. Planter mounted placement tines are offered on a potato version, either as standard single outlet left and right, or a double outlet Y’ shaped version.
Its new 1000, or 1500-litre low line tank is close coupled on a CAT 2 linkage for better forward vision. Supplied with a fold-away de-mount leg kit, quick demount is also aided by quick fit couplings on liquid and hydraulic hoses.

Micron’s Varidome S5 sprayer

Micron’s Varidome S5 band sprayer is a 9m wide inter-row sprayer designed for use in crops planted with an 8m drill.
Aimed at bigger users, this will control persistent weeds, such as blackgrass, in OSR, sugar beet, maize and many other row-crops.
Chemical is applied inter-row via hydraulic pressure nozzles which are housed under oval domes for drift free spraying. This results in a targeted and accurate application, with savings in chemical compared to blanket spraying.
It can be fitted with up 24 shielded heads to suit crop row spacings and spray width is adjustable on each individual head from 100mm to 800mm.
It can also be supplied with two spray lines for inter-row weed control and over the row application to crops using different tank mixes being fed from Micron’s dual tank system. This means users can treat the inter-row with a contact weed spray under the shield and simultaneously apply a selective spray over the row.

Ending the P and K holiday

When the value of arable crops is low, there is a temptation to remove costs to maintain profitability and common cost-saving is a ‘P and K holiday’ – but it’s a strategy not without risks, according to Yara’s UK agronomist, Natalie Wood.
“Such decisions are valid, providing the ‘cut back’ doesn’t expose productivity to higher risks and long term sustainability issues,” said Mrs Wood, who will be on Yara’s stand at LAMMA to talk about the topic. “This P and K decision, in many cases, is not reversed when crop values increase and long term soil statistics clearly show how this is negatively affecting our soils and putting future yields at risk.”
A target index of 2 is the optimum to maintain soil fertility, but during the last few years, soil values have fallen considerably – 60% of soils now have a P and K Index below 2 and 30% of soils had an index of 0-1 in 2015, which was evident in only 18% of soils in 2000.
“This shows that the situation is rapidly getting worse,” said Mrs Wood.
She added that optimising the timing of applications would also pay off.  “This spring, a February/March timing, will ensure that  P and K applications are made when the crop needs it most,” advised Mrs Wood. “This will typically increase wheat yields by 0.3 t/ha.
“For those that have taken ‘holidays’, there’s two issues to consider – you’re missing out on yield increases associated with spring NPKS applications. If a P and K holiday has detrimentally effected soil index, there is a risk of dramatic yield penalties as fertility is eroded.
“With soils nearly 100% deficient in sulphur it is essential to include this with NPK applications to avoid detrimental effects on crop health, quality and yield losses,” Mrs Wood advised.  
“If you’re concerned with in-year crop performance, then applying a minimum amount to address current nutrient demand from your crops would be your best solution. However, if you want to safeguard all future harvests, then a longer term nutrient replenishment strategy would be better.”   
Black-grass control via nutrition

With black-grass in 54% of cereal crops and, when severe, causing a 50% yield reduction, all methods of control need to be explored, including crop nutrition.
“This is especially true as 97% control is needed to contain this weed’s population,” said Mark Tucker, head of agronomy at Yara UK, “and whilst it is widely accepted that cultural controls – ploughing, rotation, and drilling date – are essential components of the black-grass strategy, it is rare to see crop nutrition mentioned in the debate. This is an oversight.”
Research has shown how nitrogen and phosphate impact on a wheat crop, with an increase in leaf number, leaf size and rate of development, tillering and root growth, he argued. “All of these give the growing crop a competitive advantage and under normal conditions, to optimize yields, wheat will go in around September 15-20 at which time soils will be well aerated, warm and contain available moisture.
“However, where black-grass is a problem, a popular control mechanism is to delay drilling by a month or so,” he argued. “Whilst delaying drilling can contribute 30% control over black-grass, it does leave crops coping with wetter soils that are less aerated.
 “This leads to reduced nutrient availability to the growing crops,” said Mr Tucker. “Because crops are weaker, they’ll offer less competition to developing black-grass.
“Crop nutrition can help by recovering some of the crop biomass lost due to poor conditions and to provide plants with competitiveness to keep black-grass in check.”