User Story: Still Committed to Beet

Wisbech based farm contractor Nigel Harrison, trading as HAC Ltd, had as bad a beet campaign as anyone, losing over 30 acres of beet due to deterioration and 300 acres of contract lifting due to the same problem, but he freely admits he is still committed to the crop, even after such a big hit. “But it needs specialist kit and sizable investment demands acres. The loss of efficiency equals loss of profit!”

To this end HAC Ltd have invested in two tracked tractors, a Class Challenger and a John Deere 8345 RT plus two precision seed bed harrows by Cousins of Emneth.  “The tracks mean we can get onto the fields earlier than wheeled tractors and still conserve moisture in the soil. They are working at 4.5 psi ground pressure, around half that of the best wheeled alternatives”.

The harrows work well. We bought the first one in 2010 and have added the second this year. We are contracted to British Sugar but have been able to add  more non-BS growers as a result of their introduction. We are currently operating the kit from the North Norfolk coast down to South Cambridgeshire, around 1,200 Ha of beet land in total.”

Late February into March is very busy with the two harrows being used for only 3 to 4 weeks! “It’s a long term payback and we have to work them hard” says Nigel. “But the harrows and tracked tractors have the power to stay ahead of the drills. The centrally mounted tyre packer is balanced with the rear crumbler in a ratio of 55:45 which ensures effective clod breakdown and good consolidation. We were having some problems on Norfolk’s stonier ground with flints jamming in the crumbler but have overcome this with wider spacing between the bars”.

“We work at speeds up to 11kph, preparing around 4 Ha of seed bed an hour” says driver Martin ‘Flash’ Gordon. “The wide tracks mean we can turn at speed leaving a flat and firm bed for the drills”.
Cousins of Emneth Limited . Tel: 01945 584600 . Fax: 01945 584616 . Email: