Technology options simplify field operations

Using one tractor for majority of the field operations means efficiency is essential to ensure timeliness of establishment and application and Ian Beardmore’s latest machine has improved the integration between implement and tractor.

Mr Beardmore handles the majority of the 600ac arable operations with his MF 8S.205 at M Madders Farming Ltd in Coppenhall on the outskirts of Stafford, along with helping the livestock side of the business with silage works. His workload totals more than 1,000 hours per year and with the MF 8S[LA1]  as the main tractor, reliability, and back up from dealer KO machines, is essential to keep running when the weather is good.

The MF 8S.205 replaced an eight-year-old MF 7618 and the new tractor has allowed the farm to advance the technology integration, with implements running through the Datatronic 5 screen using the integrated MF GPS. The move to MF’s RTX Centrepoint GPS from the previous Topcon system has been helpful for Mr Beardmore as it has reduced the screens in the cab and made mapping fields easier, as he explains.

“In new fields, I can now set the end of the sprayer boom to map the edge of the field rather than driving folded around the perimeter to set the boundary, which was the case with the old GPS system. We are down to 2.5cm accuracy as well, which is needed for the Kuhn combi drill and Hardi sprayer.”

Mr Beardmore says the ease of setting up the GPS means it is employed for many different jobs, even flat rolling paddocks. “Sometimes I think, I’ll drive this by eye, but after a few passes you soon realise how valuable the GPS is, and the time we save by having it is huge.”

The farm’s 24m Hardi Commander 3300 trailed sprayer runs through Isobus, and the eight-sections are automatically switched on and off to increase application accuracy and reduce operator fatigue. Running through Isobus also reduces the additional screens in the cab.

Cab improvements

The upgrade from the MF 7718 [EH1] S to the MF 8S has not only offered additional technology features but the cab has been praised for being a more ergonomic and comfortable place to spend long days in the seat. The redesigned cab has offered Mr Beardmore extra space and better views all around, but some of the most noticeable improvements are the revised control layout and new Multipad joystick.

“The integration and customisation with the new joystick has improved the ability to operate implements without taking my hand away from the stick. It makes the operation and turning on the ends so much easier allowing me to concentrate on the quality of the work. I can control transmission, various spools, linkage, cruise speeds and autosteer along with assignable buttons for other functions all from the joystick.”

Further cab improvements have been the relocation of the dashboard to a large digital display on the A-pillar. This allows clear readouts from the transmission and tractor displays, which is especially useful if the main Datatronic screen is occupied with Isobus or guidance maps. Mr Beardmore also says that removing the traditional dashboard offers better views across the bonnet.

He also saves profiles to match regular implements, which reduces set up times and keeps the tractor familiar to his needs. “I have all my implements saved in the screen which means settings on the joystick are changed back to the settings previously employed with that implement.”

Running one main tractor to carry out all the primary operations across the year means being able to change between different implements quickly and easily. Having the additional technology to make each operation more accurate has big benefits to Mr Beardmore and means works are carried out as efficiently as possible.

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