MAKING hay while the sun shone was one of the highlights of last week's Scotgrass event at the SRUC's Crichton Farm, near Dumfries.

With perfect conditions and a big crop of grass, the event will go down as one of the most successful yet for seeing grassland machines in their 'working clothes' and though it was thought that the good weather had actually kept some at home making their own 'hay', organisers reckoned that 4500 people visited the triennial event.

With multi-millions of kit on parade, there certainly was no shortage of things to see. Here are some of the highlights:

McHale rakes it in

McHale Engineering has been refining the details of its twin-rotor rake designs while producing a limited number of machines but says things will be ramped up to full production numbers for next year’s hay and silage season.

The McHale R68-78 worked at ScotGrass for the first time is the larger of two models, covering working widths of 6.8m to 7.8m using telescopic rotor arms.

These are adjustable hydraulically from in the tractor cab to get the best swath size and shape for the amount of grass and the implement following. A smaller model with 6.2m to 7.2m working widths – the R62-72 – offers the same flexibility and only lacks the central greasing of the larger implement.

Both have a simple low-maintenance steering system on the unusual ‘U’ shaped axle, which works with the pivoting headstock mounted on the tractor’s lower lift arms to deliver tight headland turns.

Drive to the rotors is from a central shaft to a wide-angle gearbox where the driveline is divided with a shaft to each rotor.

KV’s four rotor machine

Four tine rotors covering 10m to 12.5m working widths are deployed on the new Pro-Line version of the Kverneland 95130C rake, which also has in-cab control of the hydraulic telescoping rotor arms.

Aimed at larger farm operators and contractors, the higher-spec’ machine has ISOBUS electronics that can be operated from any ISO-compliant tractor display or third-party terminal. Using this opens up additional functions, including individual rotor lift, folding and unfolding with a single control selection, different headland rotor lift delay functions and swath width memory to simplify setting up.

Bergmann’s new wagons

Hydraulic drive to the pick-up reel is an unusual feature of the Bergmann Carex 390K seen working at ScotGrass.

This is one of the German manufacturer’s latest-generation self-loading forage wagons, featuring a hydraulically-adjustable bulkhead and twin-cylinder hydraulic suspension on the drawbar.

Apart from complementing the hydraulic axle suspension, this feature also provides the opportunity to increase ground clearance when entering and leaving gateways.

Driving the shallow pick-up reel by hydraulic motors enables the operator to fine-tune the tine speed to match forward speed and crop conditions to get maximum throughput with a clean lift of grass. It also means the reel can be reversed quickly and easily should a big intake of grass overwhelm the mechanism.

For slicing, the Carex has a larger diameter helix rotor set low in the pick-up assembly and working with a set of static knives high in the assembly to minimise the distance travelled by forage from the reel to the downward sloping floor of the body.

The hydraulically pivoting bulkhead is set at its most upright position for initial filling before being moved forward to liberate extra capacity.

There are four models with 67.5 to 77.4cu m nominal capacities.

Kverneland goes supersize

Increased interest in zero grazing once more has prompted Kverneland to develop a large capacity rear-mounted side delivery belt, shown at the event on a 17-tonne, 45cu m 10045 RD.

The 800mm wide belt is driven by hydraulic motors at both ends for a positive ‘pulling’ drive to left or right. Cleats are shallower nearest the back of the machine than those at the far side of the belt to help even out delivery of the ‘raw’ grass at a good rate into a trough or along a feed passage.

Long-life from Strautmann

A fully galvanised chassis for greater corrosion resistance is now incorporated into all Strautmann pick-up forage wagons, including the Giga-Vitesse at ScotGrass.

There are also new rear door sensors to help improve the overall reliability and functionality of the machine, along with better connectors for the ISOBUS electronics that allow the wagon to be operated through a common display interface on compatible terminal.

SIP keeps it clean

A CLEANER crop for the clamp is the main promise of a new idea in swath merging from Slovenian manufacturer, SIP.

This business has been making machinery for 60 years, but has only been selling in the UK for two years. It’s sales director, Martin Holden, said the brand was aiming to build up a network of UK dealers.

Starring at Scotgrass was the SIP Air pick-up rake, which was fitted as a front and rear merger, the latter of which can switch to either side of the tractor. The upshot of which is that it can have a pick-up delivery of 16m on a double run – though its single pass of 9.5m, is thought to be enough for most forage harvesters.

It uses pick-up tines similar to that used on a baler to lift the crop onto a conveyor belt for final delivery. This means it only picks up grass and reduces the amount of contaminants like stones, soil and dried slurry etc.

“Increasingly, dairy farmers are looking for very clean silage to feed their cows on and this delivers that. While a four-rotor rake might cost £45-£50k, the equivalent SIP pick-up rake might cost £60-£65k. However, it works much faster and can cover more ground – we’ve had it working at 18/19kph in good conditions,” said Mr Holden.

The rake bed sits on a series of discs which means the camless flexible pick-up reel follows the contours well. And, across the machine, there is also and adjustable hydro-pneumatic suspension on the chassis.

MF’s latest trailed wrapper

The MF TW 130 trailed wrapper was a new addition to the MF hay and forage range at Scotgrass.

A straightforward wrapper with a rigid frame, the MF TW 130 offers an exceptionally low wrapping table and semi-automatic controls for fast and reliable trouble-free operation. A strong, welded loading arm easily lifts bales up to 1.3m diameter and a weight of up 1000kg with one press of a button.

The number of film layers can be adjusted to suit conditions and crop while the pre-stretching device is designed to work with 500mm, or 750mm rolls and can be set at 55% or 70% stretch for tighter wrapping.

There’s a gentle bale discharge thanks to a low table height which tilts close to the ground when unloading – an optional bale tipper is available to prevent the bales from rolling in hilly conditions. It is capable of handling 1.25m wide bales from 0.9m to 1.30m in diameter and the simple to use E-Link Basic control offers semi-automatic control of the wrapper loading, wrapping and unloading requires only one push of a button per cycle.