There always emerges from the machinery stands at The National Ploughing Championships an unofficial theme or trend, and at the latest event it appears to be the battle of the compacts, with many exhibitors having ranges of both tractors and loaders on display.

There is also a scattering of new machines, although with this being an Agritechnica year, most companies are keeping their powder dry until November; McHale had its latest Fusion on show while Egmont Agri also had new products on show.

Egmont Agri

The pale green of Samasz grassland equipment is becoming a familiar sight in Ireland due to the efforts of Egmont Agri, which has recently brought in the Polish manufacturer’s latest product, a belt rake.

There is a lot of effort being put into these machines by various companies yet Irish farmers have remained indifferent to them. Tim O’Brien, of Egmont Agri, believes this is set to change over the coming years and is working with Samasz to fine fettle the unit.

Numac Trailer from Egmont Agri
Egmont Agri were keen to use straps rather than steel to retain the top layer of bales as the tension can be adjusted

The company has also been working with Numac, based in Co. Down, to design and develop a range of agricultural trailers including a round baler transporter with integral retention system.

The idea itself is not new, but the use of straps rather than steel tubing to keep the bales in place is a feature that Tim O’Brien of Egmont Agri was keen to have the machines equipped with.

A Wilson Engineering bale trailer
The latest bale trailer of Wilson Engineering features an adjustable hoop diameter.

Whilst on the subject of bale trailers, Wilson Engineering takes the alternative approach with its latest self-loading transporter having hinged tunnels, allowing it to tightly clamp bales of different sizes.

Baling the bale

First though, the bale needs to be made and McHale is taking this opportunity to launch its latest Fusion 4 range of balers which come in three levels of sophistication – standard, Prpo and Plus.

McHale Fusion 4 Baler
The McHale Fusion 4 is available in three different trim levels

All three offer quicker baling times through design changes to the pick up while the latter two are also ISOBUS compatible and are said to provide a greater degree of comfort and operator friendliness.

Kubota has long pioneered Tractor Implement Management (TIM) and is keen to promote its TIM-enabled tractors and balers, taking the opportunity of the Ploughing to place a 170hp, M7173 tractor with BF3500 fixed-chamber baler prominently on its stand.

Kubota M Series tractor
The Kubota M Series tractors range from 66hp to 170hp

Just to help sweeten the deal the company is presently offering 0% finance on the M Series tractors which is a huge plus in the face of rising interest rates.

Slurry at The Ploughing

Slurry and its disposal is never a subject neglected at the ploughing and this year, Crossland Tankers has brought along its latest road-orientated nurse tanker.

Crossland Tankers at The Ploughing
Crossland are all set to take road transport of slurry to a more professional level

To many farmers, this might seem something of an extravagance, but for operators of anaerobic digestor (AD) units the disposal and transportation of slurry is a major concern and this is a logical step in managing the asset.

Kaweco Slurry tanker at the Ploughing
The Kaweco slurry tanker tanker is a premium product that sets new levels of sophistication in the Irish Market

The development of ground-level application machinery is still ongoing with the placement of the material on the ground receiving particular attention. Kaweco has its latest injection system on display which has been impressing at demonstrations throughout the summer.

U shaped ground spring
The U-shaped ground spring is a novel arrangement found on the KME application booms

KME Agri of C.o Kerry had its take on the trailing shoe with a U-shaped spring holding pairs of shoes to the ground while the liquid arrives via layflat hose rather than tube, differentiating these units from the opposition.

Small is beautiful

The market in Ireland for smaller tractors and loaders is hard to define as many of them will be confined to the farm and go unregistered – yet that does not stop a whole raft of importers bringing them in.

Solis tractors
The solis brand is already well established in Ireland but is now facing stiff competition

Brand names such as the Indian-built Solis are already familiar in Ireland, but the number of attachments, build quality and options is increasing as the eastern companies grow stronger in western markets.

Thaler telescopic handler aatthe ploughing
Thaler from Bavaria offers a neatly packaged 48hp telescopic handler powered by Yanmar. Maximum lift is 1,550kg

A broadening range of compact loaders is also available. These will mimic the larger machines in being available as telescopic handlers, articulated loaders or just straight-wheeled loaders, all look as if they could find a role on smaller Irish arms, but displacing the tractor and front loader is going to be hard work.

Many manufacturers of smaller tractors are happy to stay focussed on what they know, but others, such as Kubota, have ambitions to go upmarket with larger machines.

Lovol tractor
Although not in the blue of its smaller stablemates this 130hp Lovol is priced at €68,995.

One Chinese company that appears intent on following this path is Lovol, which has reappeared in Ireland in a new blue livery. It makes no apologies for appealing to the budget-conscious farmer and proudly displays the price of each machine, something which the prospective buyer normally has to dig for with other companies.

Diesel alternative at the Ploughing

Despite the hullabaloo over the electrification of vehicles there are only a handful of products from the traditional manufacturers at the Ploughing that are powered by electricity, and these are confined to the smaller machines.

HVO tanker
Certa of Portlaoise is one company throwing its weight behind Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil as a replacement for diesel

The diesel engine still remains the power source of choice for companies engaged in producing farm machinery and at least one company will be actively promoting hydrotreated vegetable oil  (HVO), the synthetic alternative to fossil diesel.

Certa has already been working with the construction company Sisk and is happy to stand by HVO as a straight drop in replacement, opening up the competition for alternative power sources. Batteries with everything is not the only answer, as all the major tractor manufacturers agree.