Best or worst of both worlds? See how it’s done in Donegal

This contraption (pictured above) belongs to Ashley Vaughan (and his father) from Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal.

It will be familiar to some readers – but not all. It’s a Teagle Toucan – effectively a JF silage harvester mated with a 16ft tipping trailer.

According to Ashley, such a contraption is relatively rare nowadays. However, the Vaughans have used this machine to lift their own silage for more than 20 years.

Ashley got in contact with AgriLand; he’s understandably curious to find out if there are many other such machines still dotted about Ireland.

He’s also keen to see if anyone might want to buy it; it’s currently advertised on DoneDeal.

He is asking for €9,500.

The Teagle Toucan is – for want of a better description – a self-loading wagon. Yet, unlike most modern wagons (in which a rotor drags the grass through a bank of stationary knifes) this is a precision-chop machine.

Some might argue that (for a farmer rather than a contractor) it’s the best of both worlds; it can chop tightly and one operator and tractor can lift, chop and draw the grass to the pit.

Others might argue that it’s the worst of both worlds – claiming that the chop-length is too short (compared with modern wagons) and that the whole operation is just too slow.

In any case, the machine’s frame is designed to enable the harvester to be de-coupled from the trailer.

This means that – when the contraption is not busy chopping silage – the trailer can be used for other duties. Without the forager up front, the trailer looks decidedly ‘normal’ (pictured below).

Ashley says that when his father first acquired this rig he was “just a young lad”. He sat up on the tractor with his dad in those early days; he recounts that farmers came from far and wide to see it.

The machine, it seems, was something of a ‘curiosity’ in the local area.

Ashley believes that Teagle came up with the idea after watching JF’s own FCT 110 side-mounted harvester in action.

After the necessary modifications were made (including re-siting a gearbox and fabricating the frame), the result was the Toucan – a contraption that integrated the harvester and trailer into one (separable) package.

Model line-up

Three models were initially offered – accommodating 6t, 8t and 10t trailers. An additional offering – a 7t-capacity unit – came afterwards.

Ashley reckons that about 10 new units were sold new in the Republic of Ireland; a similar number of machines went into Northern Ireland. Of course, other units (typically second-hand machines) came in as ‘grey imports’.

He estimates that the total tally was somewhere between 30 and 40. It’s not known how many of these have survived.

JF’s own ‘precision-chop wagon’

Of course, some readers may remember that JF manufactured its own ‘precision-chop wagons’.

One such machine was the ES 3500. However, JF versions typically had conveyor-type (chain-and-slat) unloading floors (rather than tipper bodies).

Other variations on the theme, from different sources, have appeared over the years. This video (below), for example, shows a JF-Tuhti V125 in action.

This rig looks like an updated version of the Teagle Toucan. Does its existence (the video was shot as recently as 2016) prove that there’s still enduring interest in the concept?