In my blog last week, I talked about an ag equipment-related competition taking place in Finland amid the snow and cold weather. AGCO’s Valta tractor brand held the event, which brought together drivers from all over Europe to try their hand at, well, racing tractors on ice.
And as I mentioned, I think we Canadians need to have some sort of similar event on the prairies here next winter. Maybe we try to set a Guinness World Record for the longest-lasting tractor race on an ice track. We’ve done it with hockey games, right? Fire me an email if you want to organize such a thing. I’d love to be there to see it and participate in it.
It turns out that while the Finns were having fun with farm machinery in the ice and snow, on the other side of the planet the Aussies were up to something with equipment too. But they were doing it in the warm sun of autumn in that hemisphere. A team had assembled on a winery near the Murray River at Waikerie in South Australia to put one of New Holland’s Braud 9090X grape and olive harvesting machines to the test. It was done in an effort to claim a record for the largest amount of grapes harvested in eight hours.
I guess someone, somewhere, keeps track of such records. And speaking of keeping records, for a couple of years my wife would keep track of how many times our combine broke down during each harvest season, and she’d use that information to try and convince me we should get further into cattle and rely less on growing grain. I don’t know if there is a world record title for combine breakdowns, but I remember one year when the number of hours I spent climbing around ours with wrenches may have qualified for a place in someone’s record book.
But I digress.
The New Holland grape harvesting team claims to have pulled 218.7 tons of grapes out of a seven-hectare vineyard in that eight-hour period. Now, I admit I’ve never had any grape experience other than eating (and drinking) them, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet it would take a virtual army of workers to do that by hand.
Grape and olive harvesters don’t account for a big percentage of farm equipment worldwide. NH says since 1972 about 15,000 of those machines, first built under the Braud brand name, have been sold. That means Braud-NH machines now account for about half of the harvesters working globally.
Under the hood of these machines is 175 horsepower FPT diesel. I’ve had the opportunity to crawl around one at a couple of previous NH press events, but I’ve never actually seen one working.
So right after I finish calculating my lap times on some future winter tractor race, I’d be free to escape from winter in the prairie to head to sunny Australia to take part in any future grape harvesting challenge—if anyone would care to invite me!