June 2009

Into the archives
 
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Dave stands proudly next to the partially restored WD6

In the early ’50s when the average wage was about £10 per week and a lamb peaked at £5 the agricultural industry was good.Import restrictions on machinery helped to promote local production and created employment. This however was a double-edged sword, because while we were keeping people employed, we were not able to keep up with the fast pace of development around the world. There was a huge demand for food and New Zealand had a base that would have enabled it to deliver a lot more than it did if it had the more technically advanced machinery to do so. Graeme Tulloch remembers trying to increase the customer base for silage production but as one customer was added another would drop off. Silage was typically fed with grass, so there was no means of ascertaining if it was of any benefit to the animals. The product did not smell good and there was no real price advantage.One of the major reasons Graeme recollects for producing silage was that it was produced in about November when the cultivation work for fodder crops (mainly kale) was complete and the hay only started in about December, so if you had no work for the staff in November, some would go off and you would be stuck come hay season.

1958 - A Brady direct-cut flail harvester was purchased. This was more efficient but one day while making silage in 1961 a Prof. Carl Bender from New Holland came to have a look and his comment was simply that we were producing a cure for hollow gut. We ended up buying a New Holland model 33 double chop - the result was a feed that smelt good. That year we made 90,000 bales with five balers.

1963 - DW Tulloch was formed to sell equipment. Graeme took up a sales/marketing position and ended up spending up to 25% of his time in meetings with government officials trying to get import licences to aquire more efficient equipment from overseas. 

1964 - Silage had improved to a stage that sheep would eat it.

1968 - Tulloch became a Gehl distributor. Graeme was invited by George VonZech of the Gehl Company to the USA to learn about fine-chop wilted silage. Part of the training was conducted at Madison University with specialists in animal nutrition. He was put on a dairy farm and a beef farm for a couple of days; following another few days in the factory assembling equipment, he went into the University. Finally Graeme was sent off with the area managers to visit clients and see first-hand the result and hear feedback from clients. When he was about to come home George said to him that he needed a good capacity mower-conditioner for New Zealand conditions and he knew just the people who could supply such a mower that had rotating drums rather than a sickle bar: Bernard Krone in Germany.

1969 - Graeme now had to engage many frustrating meetings with the Department of Industries & Commerce to get his import licences. After one of these meeting he decided to go and visit the local Wairarapa MP in parliament, Haddon Donald. While he was waiting to get his pass, Len Daniels who was actually a client walked by and asked what he was doing there. Of course Graeme could not resist the temptation of telling his sad story about the lack of sympathy to get a licence for the Krone mower conditioner, to which Len asked “will it save me money?” Receiving the obvious reply Len, who happened to be a personal friend of the PM, said “No point in talking to the block, you should talk to the butcher.” He led Graeme up to the office of the PM of the day, Keith Holyoake. After a cup of tea the PM left, leaving instructions for his secretary to contact the I&C ministry and instructed Graeme to go back to the office and get his import licence. And so a new chapter begins.
 
News from Krone
 
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The Comprima F155 SemiVariable chamber baler 

2009 sees the official New Zealand launch of the Comprima round baler at the Mystery Creek Field Days, 10th–13th June 2009. The Comprima range will complement the current VP series which has been the top selling round baler in New Zealand for the last three years.
 
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Comprima V150XC working on the Takapau Plains, Hawkes Bay

The Comprima introduces a fixed-chamber model, a semi-variable chamber model and a variable chamber model. The new semi-variable chamber model developed by the Krone r&d department has won numerous prestigious awards around Europe for this innovative concept. The baler (which is a fixed chamber) can make six different size bales by a very simple process of just changing two pin locations - no tools required.

The Comprima also introduces the new NovaGrip belt and slat system, pick-up without a cam track, the new injection net system, the drop floor and new styling with fibreglass panels. 

New twin-rotor Swadro 1000

Krone has introduced a new twin-rotor rake to fill the gap between the Swadro 900 (twin-rotor) and Swadro 1400 (four-rotor). The new Swadro 1000 is a twin-rotor rake with operating widths from 8.8m to 10m. The machine is fitted with 15 tine arms per rotor and four double tines per arm to ensure a clean sweep. The rotors incorporate the latest “Jet Effect” design as seen in the Swadro 700, 800, 900 and 1400, and the bogeys have eight castor wheels each to provide perfect ground hugging characteristics.
 
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A Big MII works near Mangatainoka

One Big M has cut 100,000 acres…

Spelle/Lyons (Nebraska), 08 January 2009 - The first Big M in America has cut 100,000 acres in just one decade, says Mike Olson from Morrison & Quirk Inc, the first American farming business that purchased a band-new self-propelled KRONE mower conditioner in 1998 -  “A decision we never regret. Ever since we bought our Big M, the machine has kept going and going,” says Olson, manager of his company’s alfalfa dehydration business that specialises in manufacturing alfalfa pellets.   

… And Krone has built 1,000 of them

Spelle, 27 October 2008 – As the 1000th Big M rolled off the assembly line at the Krone factory at Spelle, Bernard Krone, Director of the Agricultural Machinery Division, said: “This landmark number illustrates the pivotal role this self-propelled and high-performance mower conditioner now plays in harvesting operations.” The success story of Big M began on 20 May 1996, when the gigantic self-propelled mower was introduced to the market. Its 9.1m working width stirred quite a discussion initially, but soon the design proved to be effective and efficient. ”All contractors who were testing a Big M were enthusiastic from the very beginning, because the machine delivered enormous efficiency and was approved for road speeds up to 40km/h.
 
Remember Gone in 10.5 seconds
 
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Jamie burns up the rubber prior to his record run

Last year we introduced you to Jamie Hansen’s world of drag racing. Well, in March 2009 at the Masterton Motorplex he blasted his previous record with a 9.5-second run for the quarter mile, achieving 0 - 60 feet in 1.35 seconds - and a terminal speed of 141mph. Not bad for a small Mazda RX2. The only changes from the previous record were replacing the Toyota Hilux diff with a 9 inch Ford one, Dynotuning the car, pushing the turbo boost from 14psi to 25psi and running the motor on race gas as opposed to avgas. This work rocketed horsepower at the wheel from 426 to a whopping 586. Well done Jamie!
 
Kaiawa Farms
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Brian Robinson and his son Jonathan run a customer-focused business out of Roto-o-Rangi just south of Cambridge. Not venturing more than 15km from their base, they are able to deliver quality, timely services to their client base of about 30 regulars and about 10 casuals. The business is based on the family farm Brian’s grandfather established in the early 1900s. Jonathan now controls the farm and has a herd of 450 cows run by a sharemilker. Brian had always had a bent toward machinery and in the early seventies could see an opportunity to develop a small business by producing bales for the local area. He bought an IH 574 and IH 46 baler, baling for neighbours and others in the surrounding area and eventually achieving up to 40,000 bales in a good year. The business grew steadily but it was never intended to be their mainstay or sole source of income. Jonathan eventually started with the business in 1992 rowing up and wrapping, while Brian did the baling. 


Pioneering baleage in the area.

While hay was the main staple in the early years Brian, being very intuitive, saw there was a trend to baleage, but there was no baler really capable of baling wet grass. Their old Hesston really did not like wet grass at all. At a field day in 1994 Brian and Jonathan came across a Krone 8.16 round baler and were told that this baler would bale in any conditions. A demo was set up and a week later the salesman arrived in the paddock with a number of curious farmers. 

The salesman got straight into the job and apart from the net giving a few problems, the baler seemed willing to bale any manner of wet grass and that was good enough for the Robinsons. In October 1994 Brian took delivery of the first Krone 8.16 baler sold in New Zealand. For the first time he was able to produce baleage for his clients with a variable-chamber baler in what would have been previously considered impossible conditions.  

Two years later he decided to trade the Krone KR8.16 for a new model Krone KR10.16s which was slightly improved, but had a cutter. The cutter gave slightly more density and alternative feeding-out options for clients. In the mid ’90s Ron Tottman a retired dairy farmer who when not tending his organic Kiwifruit joined the business to help with the driving. It was also about this time that the Robinsons decided that a tedder would help give more control of their baling operation by reducing wilting time. 

The success they had had with the Krone balers and the good service from Ross Todd Motors led them to purchase a Krone 4 rotor tedder that is still operational today. By 2002 the Krone 10.16s had done its fair share of work so it was traded for the latest model Krone VP1500MC which baled faster, had a superior net system and was more robust and reliable. This baler has put out over 50,000 bales and is still on the original set of chains, says Brian. 

Keys to this are uniform shaped rows, the fact the baler is always parked in a shed when not working, and the chains are manually oiled every day.  The business has evolved from those days; Brian with his natural instinct for fixing, modifying and developing machinery now looks after the plant and is the backup for Jonathan who now does the baling, assisted by Ron. 

Early in 2006 it was decided that they would like more control over the operation and try and alleviate the problem of the wrapper driver being left out late at night so a decision was made to purchase a Krone CP1500V combination baler-wrapper to complement the VP1500MC. The 2006 season kicked in and the CombiPack which arrived in December managed to pump out 4,000 bales. 

The CombiPack was ordered with an end tipper that makes it easier to retrieve bales and also is useful when baling whole crop. Jonathan says they wrap six layers of wrap for 95% of their clients and will always stack the bales straight after baling. The net result is quality feed and very satisfied clients. The VP1500MC is now used for the hay and for baleage in any difficult-to-get-at paddocks.  

Brian reflects: “The beauty of the CombiPack is that we no longer have to wait for the farmer to finish milking to help with the wrapping.” Both Brian and Jonathon agree that price is not always right. When you find a good product you stick to it and when you find a good dealer, you stick with him. If you get a good dealer who has a good product, then you have a winning combination.  Brian has dealt with Ross Todd Motors for many years. 

His experience with the Krone KR8.16 was enough to convince him that Krone were committed to quality gear suited to New Zealand conditions. His yard is testimony to that!  Brian also says he likes the fact that Alan Taute is always available and very helpful with any technical issues he has. Ross Todd Motors has been a key part in their operation. 

In September 2008 a Krone EC280CVQ 2.8m mower conditioner and a Swadro 800 twin-rotor rake was added to the arsenal. “The combination of the heavy-duty conditioner and swath spreading fins reduces conditioning by up to 24 hours and that suits the operation where we find we are cutting shorter grass than before to capture better quality and higher ME.”
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Buying the new Krone machinery has paid off, with much lower running costs than before.

IAN MILLER

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