FARMERS in one of Scotland's biggest arable areas now have a huge resource for their irrigation equipment needs.

Well-known dealership, Reekie, is all set to rejuvenate sales, service and parts back-up as a newly-appointed official dealer for Bauer’s range of crop irrigation equipment. The main focus of the new partnership is on the group’s depots at Perth and Cupar, which cover some of the largest potato and vegetable growing areas in Scotland.

This has already supplied a Bauer Rainstar E31 to a long-standing customer and to underscore its commitment to the new partnership, has taken a second E31 into stock and placed a substantial order for critical parts to support future customers for the machines.

Sam Mercer, general manager at Cupar and Perth, said: “We have a long-standing involvement with irrigation equipment and wanted to get back to supplying new irrigators again with a premium brand that would sit well alongside our agricultural machinery franchises.

“In Bauer, we have that premium brand – and a company that has a well-deserved reputation for its engineering and manufacturing quality, and the performance and durability of its irrigators.”

Rob Jackson, of Bauer UK, said: “We’re delighted to have reached this agreement with Reekie, an established and well-respected dealership with people in sales, service and parts who know and understand irrigation equipment and the crucial part it plays in growing high-quality, high-value potato and vegetable crops.

“We are already taking orders and securing build slots at the factory for irrigation reels to be delivered in time for next year’s growing season, so it’s important for growers to look ahead and plan their requirements now for next year and beyond.”

Bauer has been at the forefront of irrigation equipment design and technology for more than 50 years as a leading supplier worldwide. Its integrated manufacturing facilities in, Austria produces original Bauer couplings, rigid pipe and flexible PE pipe, precision components and the Rainstar units, with their fully galvanised chassis and hose reel structures.

Key features of the Rainstar E family of irrigators include the high pulling force – up to 40% greater than some reels – generated by Bauer’s highly efficient radial water turbines, which are designed and precision-assembled to ensure minimal water pressure loss.

At the same time, the unique Vario variable output nozzle exploits what pressure is available by delivering full stream flow over the turbine’s impeller at all settings. In combination with the intelligent touchscreen Ecostar 6000 controller – now fitted as standard for the UK and Ireland – this maintains a constant hose retraction speed from the beginning to the end of every strip.

Steven Player, Cupar area sales manager, is enthusiastic about the new partnership with Bauer: “There’s a fair few Bauer irrigation reels operating across our area and the fact that many of them are as much as 20 years old illustrates how well built they are. But many are ripe for replacement, and we can maintain continuity for growers – or replace other makes – by supplying a new top-class Bauer reel.”

One grower delighted with the appointment is Lindsay Ashworth, who was keen to replace his irrigation reel bought in 1996 and wanted no other machine than another Bauer after 25 years’ reliable service. “Apart from replacing a turbine seal and a bearing, the old reel hasn’t been touched,” said Mr Ashworth.

“We’re still using the Bauer pipes and couplings we bought at the same time – some of them second-hand – and have never had a burst, so over the long term it’s been a very low-cost system.”

His family-run tenanted farm at Abercrombie, near Anstruther, grows maincrop potatoes, spring and winter malting barley, high erucic acid oilseed rape and winter feed wheat. Grass is also part of the rotation, providing winter grazing for a neighbour’s sheep and clamped silage for beef cattle and dairy heifers housed on a winter ‘bed and breakfast’ basis to provide a good supply of muck to help maintain soil nutrients and organic matter.

Irrigating three or four times a year is a routine operation for the 50 acres of potatoes but the grass and spring-sown cereals also benefitted from some watering this year to help get crops going during the hot, dry spell.

With the long-serving irrigation reel having been traded in, this work was handled by a new Bauer E31 100/480 irrigator supplied by Reekie’s Cupar branch. “Everyone who’s seen it comments on how strong and well-built it looks, so I’m confident this one will also last 25 years or more,” he said.

“The old reel is purely mechanical, of course, and I was a bit sceptical about the electronic control system on the new one. but I’m now convinced. It’s very clear and simple to set up and to make adjustments.”

Wife, Marjory, added: “The text notifications we get from the controller have been a real time-saver; being able to ‘ask’ the machine how long it will take before finishing a run is really helpful because you can then decide whether there’s time to get another job done before heading out to the field.”