The car parks were full when I arrived at Gurteen College last Thursday for Grass and Muck 2016.
The timing of the SBCI/First Citizen Finance €50m loan fund for those seeking to buy or lease machinery was perfect for the event.
This loan finance meant everyones’ pockets felt fuller walkinto into the event. They were like Charlie seeing Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory for the first time!
With over 100 acres crowded with working machinery, that €50 million fund could easily have been spent in one day.
Each exhibitor had a plot in which they could demonstrate their machines. The average size was about six acres so they were crammed with shiny, ‘just out of the box’ machines.
The first plot I walked through was that of Farmhand, demonstrating Krone. Krone are famous of course for the first combination baler, but at Grass and Muck, maybe more famous for selling branded buckets.
A green bucket with the yellow Krone branding was the “handbag” of choice at the event.
On the machinery front, Krone boasted the largest forage wagon on display. The ZX 470 GL has three axles with front and rear steering. Krone claim this impressive machine has ‘the largest intake of any wagon on the planet’.
I would later see this same machine at the silage pit and let’s just say, you wouldn’t want a tight yard to manoeuvre this beast of a wagon.
I next headed to the McHale demonstration area, where I found out that having the loudest PA system was just one of the competitive elements at the event.
At this point, about four PA systems are fighting over each other as sales staff tried to explain why their machines are the best.
McHale were demonstrating their Orbital wrapper, with big claims of four layers of plastic in 18 seconds and six layers of plastic in 25 seconds.
“A contractor’s machine, who wants a wrapper to keep up with two or three balers”.
It is Fusion based, with load sensing or hydraulic pick-up. It requires 100 horse power to drive it.
Next, the John Deere plot where a large crowd gathered, drawn by the hum of a self-propelled silage harvester.
The machine speeding through the plot is a feast for the eyes, a John Deere 8800i. No less than 845hp in this top-of-the-range model of their new harvester series.
Even more special, it was in 50th anniversary black livery. The words ‘Just Chop It’ are written on its back. I was like a teenage girl seeing her popstar idol. At that moment, no other machine existed.
I left, starstruck, and headed to Lely. They were demonstrating their gearbox-driven mower on a MF 5612.
Next up was Kongslilde JF demonstrating the only trailed harvester at the event.
It was blocked when I arrived and had four men in fancy red boiler suits clearing it. I could only imagine their faces matched the colour of their suits.
It prepared me for what was next. Bridgeway Engineering had a very loud PA system. It was blasting out the song ‘We will, we will rock you’ but nothing was happening. I wasn’t rocked.
Then the next song started: ‘A little less conversation, a little more action’. Still nothing.
I could see one of the coolest mowing rigs in the distance, in the Kuhn plot, a Kuhn FC 3125D F on the front with shark nose design. On the back was the Kuhn FC 9530 D and the stunning JCB Fastrac 4220 was driving it all.
With a cutting width of 9.5 metres, it would make short work of the plot. It boasts in-cab controls of front mounted overlap and a unique ground pressure system.
Once it finished the demonstration and got parked up, it became a selfie backdrop for many young machinery lovers.
No disappointments either at the catering area of this very succesful Grass and Muck 2016.
With the speed that burgers were being consumed, silage contracting staff were having a good practice session for the work season ahead, when they will have about 30 seconds to down their dinners.
More than likely, every machine in the 100 acre site was sold or would be sold in Ireland this year, which left me thinking that no matter what people say about farming and machinery sales being a little slower this year, the new loan fund will certainly help pick the pace up this year.
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