The potato harvest is in full swing at the two-generation farm of Peter Grossmann-Neuhäusler. This is already routine for the well-rehearsed team – but new this season are two ROPA Keilers, which harvest the organic potatoes. The operation is completely mechanized for the planting, care, and harvest of the fields and, thanks to new investments, offers storage capacities for approx. 8,000 t of potatoes. In total, between 40 and 60 seasonal workers are employed at peak times for harvest, care, and storage work.
In total, the farm cultivates about 500 hectares of purely organic farmland; the crops include grain, potatoes, sugar beets, legumes, clover grass, and field crops. For 27 years, Grossmann has avoided all chemical pesticides and mineral nitrogen fertilizers and gladly tackles the challenge of producing the best-quality vegetables organically. Among the 250 ha of field crops, the potato is the most important crop for the farm, cultivated on about 150 ha. It is primarily the tasty table potatoes of the Princess, Ditta, and Belana varieties that are planted. At Grossmann, the focus is on producing the best-quality goods, which are made into french fries and baby food for the well-known manufacturer "HiPP".
In order to meet the high requirements of its customers, this family-owned farm has chosen two Keilers 2, one of them in the Classic version with the two pintle-belt cleaning system. Georg Grossmann, who is also responsible for the machine technique on the farm, expects this to result in the most gentle treatment of the harvested crops with low cleaning requirements due to light soils. This is especially important for potato storage, since the harvested crop sometimes has to be stored until April of the following year.
Such advantages of the Keiler Classic as generously-dimensioned sorting platform can be particularly exploited when harvesting special crops. There is room for up to 8 people who can separate the tubers from leaves in the field. To ensure optimum cleaning under difficult conditions and at heavy soils, Grossmann Agrar has deliberately opted for an additional Keiler 2. Four pintle belts can be individually adjusted for an optimum yet gentle cleaning of the tubers.
Particularly attractive is the quick-change system between the ridge pickup and swath pickup. Since onions, red beets and many other vegetables are also cultivated on the same farms, sometimes the pickups have to be changed more often during the day - no problem thanks to ROPA's practice-oriented pickup system. Within a very short time, the pickup attachment can be changed without requiring any special tools. Grossmann’s Keilers were equipped with the time-proven ridge roller pickup including ridge pressure regulation and relief, swath pickup and a prototype pickup.
Pre-series sliding shoes
Grossmann Agrar is conducting practical testing of a newly developed pre-series pickup without ridge rollers, which is guided in depth and row via sliding shoes – because innovation and extensive testing are very important at ROPA. True to the motto "From farmers for farmers", technical innovations are constantly integrated into the reliable machines. The manufacturer from Lower Bavaria tests newly developed features of potato harvesting machines under all conditions before these are produced in series and sold internationally. At Grossmann Agrar, both pickups are compared under the same conditions and further improved.
This system without ridge rollers is particularly gentle to the crops since the ridges are not additionally compressed. On stony soils, the lack of ridge pressure means that especially sharp-edged stones can no longer damage the tubers in the ground. The new pickup system will probably be available for the coming 2021 season.
Furthermore, the yellow harvesters can also score points for their good accessibility for maintenance work and cleaning. Moreover, the machine wins customers' attention due to its fully hydraulic drive, which makes possible to work at low speeds and thus with low fuel consumption. Two John Deere 6Rs, 6150 R and 6210 R, which pulled the harvesters during the first use in the field, both required well under 10 litres of fuel per hour at average.