Thursday, 08 February 2024 13:55

Wet harvest spawns clever solution

Written by  Mark Daniel
With a powered axle and larger tyres this Richard Western SF18 trailer can handle wet harvest better. With a powered axle and larger tyres this Richard Western SF18 trailer can handle wet harvest better.

With a wet autumn and even wetter winter, Northern European farmers and contractors are coming up with novel solutions to get the harvest in and plant next year’s crops.

Reports suggest that the forage maize harvest has been particularly difficult, with some crops expected to be harvested in late September or early October, still being chopped just before Christmas.

While swapping harvesters’ front tyres set up for tracks has meant that harvesters keep moving, the biggest issue has been the ability for tractors and trailers to run alongside. One Danish contractor, Gads Maskinstation, has addressed the situation with a powered axle and larger tyres on his Richard Western SF18 trailer.

Typically, the SF 18 trailers leave the east of England factory on tandem axles fitted with 560/60R22.5 tyres or a 600/55R26.5 option. Seeing a developing pattern of harvests getting wetter, Maskinstation looked at a different configuration and now runs four SF18s with a single hydraulically powered axle and extra-large 800/65R32 VF boots.

Supplied by the customer and fitted by the Suffolk-based trailer manufacturer, the drive axle with planetary driven hubs have come from a loading shovel or dump truck, while the trailer builder has also incorporated an additional cross member for the hydraulic motor mount which drives the axle.

Danish contractors are not alone in struggling with water-logged maize, as similar situations in the UK and Ireland means there appears to be increasing interest in the single axle/large tyre solution.

A spokesman for Richard Western says, “We can offer trailers from 11t to 18t with single non-powered axles in the wide- or standard body width format with 750/60R30.5 tyres. For powered axle configurations, we can either source the axles or fit units supplied by the client”.

The company also notes that one of the best options for wet conditions are BWT20 trailers with tandem axles and 650/50R26.5 tyres, commonly found in sugar beet and maize silage harvest operations.

Back in Denmark while the solution is working well, the contractor’s New Holland T9.560 tractor has been called upon on several occasions to keep the T7.315 and bespoke SF18 alongside the forage harvester.

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