THE UK'S first two self-propelled Vervaet 'Beet Eater' chaser bins have been delivered to a UK contractor.

With conditions particularly tricky during this season’s sugar beet campaign, the low ground pressure chasers have already proven themselves invaluable. They could also prove useful in harvesting beet for the likes of bio-digesters.

The chaser bins are based on a reconditioned Vervaet Beet Eater 625, or 925 harvester which is an ideal base machine to keep costs at a sensible level.

The engine and drive train are retained and given a thorough service with parts replaced as necessary. The 16-litre Deutz V8 engine produces 600hp and drives through a Sauer/Danfoss hydrostatic transmission with diff-locks, the combination providing plenty of power for working in adverse conditions – as they have had to do this season.

The holding tank is modified to take advantage of space gained by removing the ring trace and to allow for easier loading when running alongside the harvester. New tank floor chains and sprockets and Hardox wear sheets can be fitted depending upon the customer’s wishes and requirements.

When in work, the unloading elevator can be lowered down to 2.5m for gentle handling when discharging onto the ground or raised up to 4m when topping up an established heap or emptying into a trailer. A full tank load is discharged in around 40 seconds.

Running on six 800mm wide tyres, the machine treads lightly to minimise soil impact. It’s also surprisingly manoeuvrable for its size, with all six wheels steering and a 7.9m turning circle.

The first example in the country was snapped up by Nottinghamshire-based contractors JP Plowright and Son, which runs a pair of six-wheel Vervaet harvesters – a six-row 625 and nine-row 925. The chaser was bought to complement the latter machine.

It’s based on a 925 harvester featuring an extending front axle so that each of the six wheels runs in a separate track, spreading its weight exceptionally well over 4.5m, just like the unique harvester it works alongside.

“It does exactly what it’s meant to do,” said Ed Plowright. “It travels much better than tractors and trailers, going where they won’t, and it rides well too. It leaves the field in better shape, and there are no ruts underneath the beet heap, which is especially important when making one for a Maus.

"Although this year’s conditions were part of the reason for purchasing it, it will definitely be useful in drier conditions too. Previously, the only Vervaet chaser available was mounted on a Hydro Trike, which didn’t really appeal to us, and this machine complements our 925 harvester which has been performing very well.

"Earlier this year in drier conditions we lifted 103 acres in two fields in 16 hours, which was 3400 tonnes of beet,” he said.