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Niels' Farm Blog 2012


Next years blog  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. What should next years blog be about?

    • The same farm, with the David Browns
    • My father in laws farm (Fiat, NH, Steyr)
    • My own job as a sales representative with New Holland
    • None!

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I have decided to try and keep up with a farming blog on here for the year that is coming up. This is not our own farm but owned by a good friend of mine and I try to help out every now and then when I can find the time for it. It's a small family farm of 123 acres. The cropping plan this year is 37 acres of potatoes, 25 acres of onions, 13 acres of winter wheat, 3 acres of sugar beet, 2 acres of fodder beet and the remaining 43 acres is down to permanent pasture. Some land is owned and some rented on an annual basis. Next to that there's also 30 milking cows plus about 5 to 10 heifers and some calves.


The tractor fleet consists of eight tractors. From small to large: David Brown 770, 885, 990, 996, 1294, 1410 and 1690. Missing on the picture is the newest tractor, a 2010 Deutz-Fahr Agrotron K90. All tractors are used on the farm and have to earn their keep.

Not a lot to do now you'd say but for some reason it's still busy. Grading and packing potatoes and onions (for supermarkets), mucking out, maintenance and the odd bits and bobs.


Giving the PZ mower a good check-up. Turned out one of the shafts was bend that powers the drum and some cogs were missing a tooth or two.


DB 990 with the small slurry tank is tanking some water to clean the cow shed.


They are forecasting a good frost next week so some of the fodder beet is stored inside. If it freezes in the outside clamp it can't be fed to the cows. Maize isn't grown on the farm but fodder beet instead. I find it a lot of hassle but father in law has bad experience with maize.


DB 1690 finds itself permanently attached to the Vicon silage cutter for feeding work. Cows ration consists mainly of grass, fodder beet plus some foodstuffs and waste potatoes.


Just to give you an idea of the farm. This is a photo of the newest building that we put up 08. Two storage compartments for potatoes and onions. Still 200t of onions left to sell and 800t of potatoes (Victoria). These are grown on contract for fries/chips. Other variety's we grow are Frieslander (early), Melody (packing) and Innovater (fries).

Edited by Niels
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Today's job, cutting willow branches. These are graded on size as well and sold to florists. Used to be good money in them but now, like most other things, worth **** all and a lot of hassle. Will prob be the last year we're growing them. Half of the field already has been ploughed up.


DB 770 on the small trailer. Nimble tractor for when you haven't got a lot of space. Plus its the nicest to drive of the whole lot.

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SPN: The 1690 is shod on 460/85R38 wheels and the 1410 I think 18.4R36? From what I can see. Will have a good look next time.

BOB: Spot on, I wrote an article about them in 08 I believe. 1410 has since joined the fleet, plus the Deutz.

Thanks for all the positive comments. :) Will try and keep up this year. Deere-est, the front half is the farm house (build in the 1920) and rear is half straw storage and half beet storage. Plus there used to be some cows in it as well.


The only tractor that remained unseen. Deutz-Fahr Agrotron K90 (chipped to 120hp). Lifting potatoes last year with a Standen Status that we bought second hand in Holland last year.

If the forecasted frost does come we will hire a muck spreader and start spreading muck on old potato land with the Deutz and plough it in with the 1294.

Edited by Niels
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The frost they promised us did come luckily. Spreading muck today on the potato land of last year. We had the idea of hiring a spreader and do it ourselves but let the contractor do it in the end. His MF 7495 and Strautmann disc spreader.


Was a bit soft still during midday but travelled better again in the afternoon.


The Deutz with a 3 metre Rumptstad cultivator. The muck has to be cultivated in or ploughed straight after spreading. Weight frame on the front is a recent workshop project and just finished.


Contractor's Daewoo excavator.

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Graham: Luckily we have very kind land in general with no stones! So can grow a wide range of crops. Just a shame they are currently worth absolutely NOTHING. 300t of onions gave £350! And one unit of seed costs £150 and you need 4 per hectare! And then we don't even talk about land rent, machinery costs, sprays, fert etc..

Deere-est: The Deutz came as a demo tractor and stayed on the farm. Had 300 hours when we got it and 700 now. Of course with a gd 100 acres and eight tractors they don't clock particularly high hours! Although the 885 does have 13,500 trouble-free hours. The Deutz has been a reliable tractor so far. Had one or two issues with the eletronic hand throttle and some switches but all solved easily by the dealer. Just missing the aircon which can be fitted later on when crop prices have risen a bit! When it was its original 90hp it was a gutless tractor. PTO-work was no problem but on the road coupled to our 13T trailer it took a few miles to get to 30k! With the chip fitted it now turns out 120hp and is a totally different tractor. As the K-range goes up to 120hp the dealer will warrant the tuning. Despite some experiences of others I don't think it is to economical on fuel but have never precisely measured how much it uses.

To be honest I have no idea how much muck went on exactly. The guy set the spreader up so it was empty by the time he had reached the end and we just counted the loads.

Sean: Thanks, it's nice to do up a classic tractor but it is even nicer using them for what they were intended! They are very good on fuel, require minor repairs and only increase in value so about ideal. Especially for small light jobs and driving a cabless tractor during the summer months. For example the contractor that lifts our onions also offers loading them up as a service and uses a 170hp tractor and a Grimme GZ whereas we use the 55hp DB 990 and an old Krakei loader that cost 3k to buy! And they both do exactly the same job.

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Winter world today and some more work on the farm.


We hired the contractor's excavator for the weekend so it was a handy tool to move some muck.


The 1294 and 5t Miedema trailer carting some waste soil.


Filling in some low spots in a meadow. Since it was frozen solid (-9 last night) we can do this without making any marks.


Had a bit of snow today so clearing it for the cars and lorry that comes to pick up the milk.

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Digging a ditch in the snow today. Went well over frozen ground. Otherwise you wouldn't be able to drive over this peat land.


Already 5 inch thick ice in the ditch! But the 17t Daewoo had no trouble hacking through it. Was -15 last night brrrr Will probably be the same tonight.

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Update from this week. Some pictures of one of the jobs that come back every week. Preparing, grading, packaging and weighing onions (and potatoes). This is the onion story.


The onions are stored in bulk and loaded using our forklift with an hydraulic tipping bucket.


They are unloaded into a Climax reception hopper where the loose soil, leaf and such is taken out. They then pass over a topping device that takes the last of the haulm off and the outer leaves. This leaves a much neater product.


One of the many boxes with tare. We try to pick out as much as we can. Due to poor quality we get 25% tare per tonne. 7-8% is normal.


They pass over a small conveyor into one-tonne boxes. We get some time to pick out the worsed stuff.

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Detail of the topper that is usually covered with a piece of plastic to enhance the rubbing effect. Bit like Dahlmann rollers for those familiar with potato harvesters, just these have strips welded on top that take the haulm off.


The cleaned and boxed crop is put in the box tipper with holding bunker so they can get graded.


The old grader. It's a classic and build round mid-50's we reckon. Still does a couple hundred tonnes of potatoes and onions every year though! The crop is packed in either blue crates (20kg) or sacks (10kg), depending on what the customer wants. Onions are usually graded once a week and potatoes 2 or 3 times, doing about 2 or 3 tonnes at a time.


And last some of the cows. Not my department but the family love 'm!

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