Building a first class product and getting face to face with growers at the country’s leading technology show has proved a winning combination for a Yorkshire-based machinery company

Low-disturbance cultivation specialist Grange Machinery is gaining a keen following among farmers looking to reduce establishment costs and improve soil structure, especially those with a blackgrass problem who need to loosen soils at depth but who cannot risk bringing seed to the surface.

After initially concentrating on developing and marketing the successful LDT (Low Disturbance Toolbar) which helped put Grange Machinery on the map, last year the firm introduced a new machine, the LDL (Low Disturbance Loosener), primarily aimed at growers in the direct drilling and min-till sectors.

Grange Machinery is a family-run company, based in Holderness, East Yorkshire, that distributes machines across the UK and Europe. Sales manager Rhun Jones knows the importance of a getting in front of customers so he can show the product’s benefits first hand.

“We offer a range of machines, our most popular being the LDT which currently comes in 3m-6m working widths, with an 8m machine out this year,” says Mr Jones. “This type of machine offers complete versatility to the farmer in most forms of establishment processes.

“The new Low Disturbance Loosener is specifically aimed at direct drillers and min-tillers experiencing uneven crop establishment and compaction. It is used to alleviate compaction at 15-30cm (6-12in) whilst minimising surface disturbance.

“Crucially, although these machines offer very effective soil loosening at depth, they do not boil the soil and there is very little disturbance at the surface. This ensures no dormant blackgrass seed is brought up, keeping the population to an absolute minimum in the following crop.”

The LDL provides flexibility, as it is a machine in its own right, rather than being mounted directly in front of the drill or cultivator, as is the case with the LDT. This means growers can loosen soils straight after combining to correct problem areas.

The separate loosening operation enables growers to consolidate the soil before drilling, as a press/packer can be towed behind the LDL. This can help optimise drill operation, especially where disc coulters are used.

It also means growers can concentrate solely on the all-important task of drilling and maximise work rates, increasingly critical when drilling is delayed well into October to help control blackgrass.

Core component

Feedback from working demonstrations and events across the country have convinced Mr Jones that machines like the LDL will become a core component of the direct driller’s armoury.

Key among these events is The CropTec Show, the UK’s leading technical and knowledge exchange event for the arable sector, where Grange Machinery has been exhibiting for the past three years.

“This was our first outing to this event with the LDL,” says Mr Jones. “There was lots of interest, with many visitors keen on developing low disturbance soil loosening to aid blackgrass control and to help their direct drilling progression.

“It has become apparent that farmers are now starting to experience poor crop establishment and growth due to the compaction generated from machinery traffic and rainfall. This means they still need some form of loosening, but one that won’t undo all the good work they have achieved.”

CropTec benefits both parties, he adds. “While visitors are specifically looking at machines and/or systems to better or complete their farming practices, we also hear their thoughts and plans to develop their specific ways of farming and how they are changing their methods, giving us an important insight into how farming is adapting.”

Importantly, the event also produces strong leads that turn in to sales. “The 2018 show was very busy and we didn’t stop talking for both days,” says Mr Jones. “We find a good percentage of our leads tend to generate into sales, mainly because the product has been designed from listening to the farmers about their requirements.

“The East of England Showground at Peterborough is also a great indoor good venue, creating a good environment in which to do business.

“We thoroughly enjoy exhibiting there – it attracts forward-thinking farmers that are key to our business. It also helps that from set-up to breakdown we always find the staff very friendly and accommodating – nothing is too much of an ask. It in our calendar every year.”

LDL key facts

  • Working widths 3-4m
  • Low-disturbance loosening legs with a range of 300mm working depth
  • Leg spacing 0.5m
  • Hydraulic front cutting discs manage trash and minimise disturbance
  • Choice of rear hitch attachment if required
  • 3m rigid or 4m hydraulic folding packer.

The CropTec Show 2019

The CropTec Show offers growers, agronomists, business advisers, suppliers and scientists the chance to challenge and discuss the best ways forward to keep farming profitable.

Visitors can explore a wide range of novel science and innovative technology in an informal atmosphere, helping them stay ahead in the dynamic, uncertain and competitive world of global crop production.

CropTec 2018 was sold out and featured more than 170 exhibitors. The 2019 show includes:

  • Exhibition halls

More than 170 leading suppliers of the latest technology, products, machines and services will be on hand to discuss latest developments.

  • CropTec seminars

Leading specialists will deliver plenty of thought-provoking messages covering four key areas – crop breeding, crop protection, crop nutrition and crop establishment.

  • Knowledge hubs

Blackgrass, biosolutions, slug control, OSR specialist hub and spraying technology will be covered in a series of short, sharp presentations that deliver key take-away messages.

  • Sprayer demonstration area

An exclusive opportunity to test drive the latest sprayers in the market from leading manufacturers.

  • BASIS and NRoSO points will be on offer.

The CropTec Show takes place at the East of England Showground, Peterborough, on Wednesday 27th and Thursday 28th November.

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