“If you are driving rows of potato ridges without automated steering, you’ll spend all of your time staring at if the right wheel is on the line, while the sun is shining in your eye and there is a lot of dust. Shoulders will be sore after such precise steering and even smaller bends are replicated to the following lines. With automated steering, the operator won’t get tired, can manage more hectares more precisely and efficiently”, explains farmer Tero Koivuranta.
Koivuranta has focused on potato farming on his farm at Karijoki, Finland ever since the 1970s. Except for the winter, potatoes are cultivated, stored, peeled and delivered to customers daily.
“I had automated steering already in my previous tractor, the green T203 Direct. I transferred the antenna and display to this new one, so I even had the same drive patterns in memory”, tells Tero Koivuranta.
In addition to the T214’s automated steering, the tractor also has a front loader and suspensions for both cab and front axle. The farm also uses the N141 Advance for spraying. It has a GPS-based steering assist that can steer the tractor with the accuracy of 20 cm. The sprayer used is a pulled 2800 litres Hardi.
“Automated steering can even be used at night without lights, but work lights are still recommended, so you can focus on regulating your implement. You can even pick up your phone, as automated steering will keep you moving precisely.” This translates to more ridges and straighter lines on a field. If the operator does not get tired, you can process larger areas more efficiently.
Wide and high ridges warm up easily
T214 is used to plough the field in the fall and a Grimme ridge runner is used to create the ridges in springtime. Ridges are 85 cm wide and 65 cm high. Potatoes are not sprouted before planting, so there is no danger of breaking the sprouts and the crop will grow more evenly, which simplifies spraying. Plantable potatoes are taken from the refrigerator and planted on the same day.
“Ridges of 85 x 65 cm warm up well. Last year I tested on a small area, only harrowed it without ridges and measured four Celsius degrees at a depth of 10 cm. At the same time, the ridge nearby had 20 degrees.
Karijoki is a strong potato farming region. The Koivuranta farm alternates with grain and peas in some fields. Potatoes are stored in on-site storage and delivered to customers daily throughout the year after processing at Perunajaloste Koivuranta Oy.
Koivuranta harvests crops with Grimme’s two-line tractor pulled harvester. In addition to planting and harvesting, automated steering is also useful for pulling a reversible plough on any desired line. Automated steering has also been useful for creating additional field drains as the tractor can be used to mark new field drain pipelines on the field. Koivuranta pays the automated steering licence for eight months per year as it’s not required during the winter.
Tero Koivuranta farms potatoes at Karijoki. The T214 Direct’s automated steering is used for ridge runners, crop harvesting, ploughing and for nearly any other work. Automated steering guides the tractor to the accuracy of a few centimetres.
Maintenance and Spare Parts Work
“We have used about twenty Valtras and Valmets since the 1970s. In addition to their domestic origin, we like the maintenance and spare part service. If there are any problems, spare parts can be ordered from the Suolahti central warehouse around the clock during summer months.”
“Jarkko Kettumäki at Kauhajoki is the nearest maintenance. Jarkko will help where necessary. If the machine displays a fault code, I just snap an image, send it to Jarkko and ask if it’s important or not. Everything is resolved fast. I still maintain the old machines myself”, explains Tero Koivuranta.
“Earlier I used the Valmet for snow work. After the morning plough, I ordered a spare part from Suolahti and Kettumäki came and replaced it in the evening so I could continue snow ploughing in the morning”, remembers the Tero´s father Rauno Koivuranta.
Valtra’s user training also receives compliments. Tero attended on January a training in Jyväskylä, arranged for every purchaser of a new tractor from the previous year. Additionally, local salesman Jukka Tarsia visited the farm to demonstrate the tractor’s functions. If required, we can also call Pekka Isosävi as an expert to help us with combining the implement, tractor and automated steering.
Machinery at the farm
- T214 Direct + front loader 2017
- N141 Advance + front hydraulics 2007
- 6550 HiTech 1999
- Nissan forklift truck
- Hitachi EX100 excavator 1993 + Engcon rotary tilt 2005