The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and this saying also holds true when a farmer goes implement shopping. An immaculately clean implement on a showroom floor means nothing to a farmer – he does not want to know what a machine looks like; he wants to see how it WORKS.
The Val Farmers’ Union in the Eastern Highveld of South Africa understands the farmer’s need to see machines in action before he can make his final decision.
The Val Farmers’ Day was organised 21 years ago and today it is the biggest demonstration of agricultural equipment in South-Africa, where some 30 of the main manufacturers and distributors of implements and tractors in South-Africa demonstrate their machines to show their worth on a real piece of farmland.
Every tractor and implement awaits its turn in a line a few hundred metres long, and farmers can see the quality in planting, spraying, harvesting, cultivating or spreading for themselves, with ample time to ask questions and request more demonstrations. A couple of material handling machined also demonstrated their abilities.
Before every demonstration, the relevant representative briefly informs the farmers of its specifications and outstanding features.
“We are very impressed with the growth in attendance. About 3 000 people attended the show this year, which means a hundred percent increase over the last three years,” Hardus Smith, Chairman of Val Farmers’ Day, said.
Since there are so many implements available in South Africa as well as Zambia, we decided to show you what these implements can do under demonstration conditions under the watchful eyes of many farmers.
The Finnish tractor manufacturer, Valtra, is the number one tractor manufacturer in Scandinavia and has been building tractors for more than 60 years now. The Valtra T-series (front) and the N-series (two in the back) can be tailored with a wide range of options and features at the factory according to the requirements of the customer.
This is the first New Holland Guardian self-propelled front boom sprayer in Southern Africa, and it came straight from the Durban Harbour to Val for its first demonstration. The advantages of a front boom sprayer speak for themselves and with the nozzles fitted at the back of the boom, the best possible coverage is achieved.
This 257 kW beast from Claas is powered by an 8,7 litre FPT (Fiat Power Train) 6-cylinder engine. The Axion 930 has a top speed of 50 km/h which allows the farmer to move quickly between different outlying farms or hauling trailers with their loads.
The Rovic Leers RL10 000 spreader has a spreading width of up to 18 m and can carry 10 000 litres of materials such as lime or dry manure. A chain belt feeder conveys the material to the two disc spreaders.
The John Deere S670 Combine Harvester has a 14 100 litre grain tank and can unload at a speed of 135 litres per second. The S series also features a ProDrive option. As soon as the ground conditions change, the ProDrive transmission system automatically shifts between two speed ranges.
The 8 row 1tRipr strip-tillage machine from Orthman with the individual fertiliser applicators on top, allow the farmer to perform two operations in one. This precision implement prepares the ideal seedbed before it places the nutrients exactly where the seeds need it to grow properly.
The boom of the Case 3230 Patriot sprayer can detect changes in the terrain and adjusts itself accordingly with the help of the AutoBoom feature. The ground clearance of its underbelly is 1,35 metres with a full tank, which prevents damage to your crops.
With 440 kW output power, the Challenger MT875E is the big boy in the MT800E-series. The Mobil-trac undercarriage ensures that a farmer can put the maximum power to the soil surface with the minimum of slip or compaction.
The static exhibitors also impressed the visitors, and 105 stalls were counted. This is also the ideal place where newcomers to the market can gain access to the many farmers’ feet and enquiring eyes.
Poldaw is an international windmill manufacturer. Friamie Vorster and JP Vorster acquired their 11th franchise and they have been manufacturing Poldaw windmills in South Africa for 12 years now. Nowadays they are exporting a significant number of windmills to Zambia and Namibia. Although windmill technology is very old, “there is always a place for a windmill on a farm, because there is sufficient wind in Southern Africa,” Friamie says.
AgriCad designed the first locally manufactured liquid fertiliser applicator. The KT094 is available in 6 m and 12 m widths with 12 to 24 rows and a 7 000 litre tank. “We sold three of these units before the first one was completed. Liquid fertiliser is becoming more and more popular since it enables farmers to stretch their planting season, and the fertiliser manufacturers can also deliver over an extended period,” Eddie Neuhoff says. Charl Fouché and Wim van Heerden are flanking him.
Rula is a new kid on the block, and promises to have a huge impact with patents for new implements in Southern Africa. This Johannesburg based manufacturer of mining equipment started their Agri division last year. Their flagship implement is the SeedmaX precision planter and with the Xfert combination on top, it can place liquid or granule fertiliser, and liquid or granule herbicide. They patented their measuring unit as well as their 12,3 m boom. “Our planter can precision place 400 kg of fertiliser per ha while driving at 12 km/h,” Tiaan van Loggerenberg says. Jaco Niemand, Tiaan van Loggerenberg, Jimmy Ebersohn and Joseph Logotle are very proud with this fine piece of equipment.
Effective Farming Solutions concentrates on precision implements and started importing Crary Finger Air Reel harvester heads last year. They managed to sell between 40 and 50 units this year. “Normally, the farmer lose the short soy beans which can make a significant difference in times of drought such as those we have experienced during the past season. The finger blowers in front of the Crary harvester head blows the shorter material into the table to be recovered,” André Grobler says. Next to him is Tobie Smit.
Wuhlf Equipment imports material handling equipment from China and also designs and builds machines in South Africa. Francois Henning demonstrates the ‘Meerkat’, which is a prime example of a machine designed in Africa and built in China. The Meerkat is in permanent 4×4 mode and the transmission is hydrostatic. “This forklifts’ mast can lift 2 tonnes and it can be ordered in three or four meter lengths. A bucket attachment is also available. This machine was launched two years ago, and today more than a hundred of them are working on farms every day,” Francois said.