The tractor of the Year 2022 Awards, held at the recent EIMA show in Bologna, handed out a brace of gongs for the Green Giant John Deere.
Like other machines in the marketplace, the layout sees a conventional tine-based pick-up reel that lifts the crop onto grouper belts for central, left, right or split delivery. If required, the machine can make further passes to move "grouped" swathes together to feed high powered self-propelled forage harvesters or large square balers.
The concept is said to be finding favour with increasing numbers of large-scale farmers and contractors, who wish to merge large areas of grass quickly, but also treat them more gently and avoid leaf shatter. This is important in crops like Lucerne or alfalfa, both traditionally grown in drier areas and with crude protein levels of up to 20%, making them valuable crops.
Compared to tine-based swathing or raking solutions that move crops laterally across the ground to form a larger swath, the merger concept helps reduce the amount of foreign objects like stones, removes the risk of broken tines and reduces crop contamination from soil or ash.
Formed in 1996, the ROC company, based in Rimini on Italy's east coast, offers a range of front or rear-mounted, trailed and self-propelled variants, with working widths from 4.90 to 12.20 metres, the largest machine capable of bringing up to 50 metres of grass into a single large swath.