Potato grower replaces Bauer irrigation reel after 25 years’ reliable service

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One grower delighted with Reekie Ltd’s appointment as the Bauer irrigation equipment dealer for central Scotland is Lindsay Ashworth.

He was keen to replace a Bauer irrigation reel bought in 1996 and wanted no other machine than another Bauer after 25 years’ reliable service.

“Apart from replacing a turbine seal and a bearing, the old reel hasn’t been touched,” said Mr Ashworth. “We’re still using the Bauer pipes and couplings we bought at the same time – some of them second-hand – and have never had a burst, so over the long term it’s been a very low-cost system.”

The tenanted farm at Abercrombie near Anstruther, which Lindsay and Marjory Ashworth run with their daughters Jane, Anne and Emma, grows maincrop potatoes, spring and winter malting barley, high erucic acid oilseed rape and winter feed wheat.

Grass is also part of the rotation, providing winter grazing for a neighbour’s sheep and clamped silage for beef cattle and dairy heifers housed on a winter ‘bed and breakfast’ basis that provides a good supply of muck to help maintain soil nutrients and organic matter.

Irrigating three or four times a year is a routine operation for the 50 acres of potatoes but the grass and spring-sown cereals also benefitted from some watering this year to help get crops going during the hot, dry spell.

With the long-serving irrigation reel having been traded in, this work was handled by a new Bauer E31 100/480 irrigator supplied by Reekie’s Cupar branch.

“Everyone who’s seen it comments on how strong and well-built it looks, so I’m confident this one will also last 25 years or more,” said Mr Ashworth.

“The old reel is purely mechanical, of course, and I was a bit sceptical about the electronic control system on the new one but I’m now convinced; it’s very clear and simple to set up and to make adjustments.”

Mrs Ashworth added: “The text notifications we get from the controller have been a real time-saver; being able to ‘ask’ the machine how long it will take before finishing a run is really helpful because you can then decide whether there’s time to get another job done before heading out to the field.”

Although they anticipate the new irrigator being reliable, it is comforting to know that Reekie Ltd will be on the case if servicing, maintenance or parts are needed.

“We’ve dealt with the company for years and I’m confident they’ll look after it,” said Mr Ashworth. “But judging by the reliability of our previous machine I doubt they’re going to get much parts business over the coming years!”

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