The replacement of three conventional tractors fitted with front-end loaders by a Manitou MLT 735 120 LSU rough terrain telescopic handler has resulted in a significant reduction in maintenance costs at the Thorneycroft dairy farm in Port Elizabeth. Operating efficiency has also improved dramatically.
“We were using the three tractors to handle silage, wet grains and bales,” says Thorneycroft’s Richard Newcombe. “Our farms are getting bigger and we are handling larger volumes and a greater variety of materials.” Conventional tractors were not ideally suited to these jobs, with a short clutch life becoming a major maintenance problem, aggravated by the downtime resulting from clutch replacement. This could put a tractor out of commission for a week. A demonstration showed the Manitou to be more manoeuvrable with a much greater reach and loading height, it has since proved to also be much more fuel-efficient.
“With the Manitou we can stack bales of hay or silage higher and faster than we could ever have with tractor loaders. As we are now able to stack bales higher, we can stack many more bales under cover; maintaining feed quality,” Newcombe continues. “It is a very efficient machine. The number of movements needed to load the feeder units has been reduced from up to 30 to only four. It can load twice as much fertiliser in one go, too.
“On top of all these benefits the Manitou is extremely versatile,” he says. “You can hook it up to a trailer and perform many of the transport operations normally done by conventional tractors. It takes less than a minute to change the attachments and there are almost 40 attachments available. The Manitou has improved our overall productivity and reduced operating costs – we offload trucks quicker and there is a considerable reduction in tractor downtime, now that they are used primarily for land work, harvesting and pasture maintenance. We have four operators who have been trained by Manitou, which means that we get maximum productivity out of the machine, operate safely and, at the same time, extend its working life.”
The Manitou MLT has a unique Manitou-designed joystick control with Switch-and- Move technology. The joystick allows the operator to control functions such as direction of travel, boom movement, gears and steering, ensuring maximum safety and efficiency. The load sensing system allows three simultaneous movements of the boom, lifting, extending and levelling. An air-conditioner enhances operator efficiency. It has a clean-fix system that blows out the radiator every three minutes for a period of 15 seconds. This is a useful feature in a farming environment as it protects the cooling system against clogging.
South African farmers are starting to see the advantages of mechanical handlers – multipurpose tools that can perform many functions, either in the farmyard or the field.
Contact Lindsay Shankland, MD of Manitou Southern Africa on (011) 975 7740, fax (011) 975 7742, e-mail [email protected]. |fw