A family of agricultural contractors in Northern Ireland are believed to be one of the first customers in the country to purchase a 16ft folding buck-rake.
The buck-rake, which was constructed by Redrock Machinery, was purchased by the Killen brothers; the agricultural contractors are based on the border of counties Tyrone and Derry.
Serving the north-west of Northern Ireland, Killens offer a wide range of services, including pit silage, slurry, ploughing, sowing, spraying and more.
Having upgraded one of their JCB loading shovels from a 416S to a 435S, the contractors believed the new machine was capable of handling a larger buck-rake.
Prior to the new 16ft buck-rake’s arrival, Killens were using two 12ft folding Redrock buck-rakes, Adam Killen said.
Adam is just one of six brothers involved in the family contracting business; the rest of the family includes Jonathan, Christopher, Robert, Philip and Gordon.
When we made the step up to the new loading shovel, we thought she was capable of so much more.
Folding in to a width of just 8ft, Adam believes the new Redrock buck-rake is ideal for working on a silage pit or clamp.
“Some people were worried that there would be waste at the walls of a pit if we got a buck-rake this big. But when she folds in, there is no problem.
“With the new buck-rake, I can move a full load of dry grass from a 14t Kane silage trailer in one go. When the grass is wet, it might take me two attempts,” he said.
This would be half the amount of efforts needed to shift the load of grass if the smaller 12ft buck-rake was being used, he added.
Adam, who shares the buck-raking duties with his brother Robert, can also be found mowing during the busy silage season.
A gap in the market
The market has been crying out for a buck-rake of this size for some time now, according to the Managing Director of Redrock Machinery, Frank Flynn.
“The job is changing; contractors are moving towards bigger shovels. They now want a buck-rake that is capable of moving a load of grass in one go.
“This buck-rake has tines that are slightly longer than other makes, at 1.7m long; a buck-rake like this would need to be fitted on a loading shovel weighing between 12t and 15t,” Flynn said.
A small number of these buck-rakes have been made this year and will remain out on test during the silage season, Flynn added.
It is hoped that the 16ft folding buck-rake will be available to purchase from next season; it is expected to retail at €8,500 plus VAT.