Vervaet sugar beet harvesters are now available with a new rollerbed primary cleaner.
Vervaet sugar beet harvesters are now available with a new rollerbed primary cleaner.

The UK importer of the Vervaet sugar beet harvester range, J Riley Beet Harvesters, has announced a new primary cleaning system utilising a rollerbed that will be offered as an option in place of the brand’s existing highly regarded turbine based system.

Although not intended as a replacement for the extraordinarily successful turbine-only configuration, the introduction of the Vervaet rollerbed offers another option for potential customers already operating a rollerbed-type machine in suitable soil types and conditions. This addition makes Vervaet the only harvester manufacturer to offer its customers both methods of primary cleaning.

Lifting is still carried out by Vervaet’s rotating walking shares that are able to excel in the toughest of conditions. Row width is hydraulically adjustable from 45cm to 50cm in the usual way. The shares are arranged in a straight line so they present the lifted beet evenly to the rollerbed, which is used in place of the two front turbines and consists of seven full-width, 100mm diameter rollers.

To maximise its cleaning path, the first two spiral rollers take the beet outwards while all subsequent rollers gather the crop to the centre for onward transport towards the rear of the machine. This configuration can be altered by substituting rollers if required. Shorter rollers either side of the throat form a backstop, helping to bring the beet to the centre.

The new rollerbed replaces Vervaet's conventional two front turbines.
The new rollerbed replaces Vervaet’s conventional two front turbines.

Roller speed can be varied from the cab to cater for differing conditions and soil types, with the first six grouped together and the seventh roller operated independently. If additional cleaning is required, the seventh roller can also be operated in reverse so that it counter-rotates against the preceding roller for a more thorough action.

But it’s what comes next that really sets the new Vervaet machine apart from the competition. All other rollerbed-type harvesters use a trace to transport the crop between the front wheels, but the Vervaet rollerbed discharges the beet onto a central cleaning turbine, eliminating a potential problem area and continuing the positive cleaning action. This central turbine is a well-proven method already in use on more than 160 Vervaet turbine-only harvesters currently at work in the UK.

The rollerbed is currently suitable for the flagship six-wheel Vervaet Beet Eater 625, but it’s anticipated that it will also be available for the popular four-wheel Q-Series in the near future. Even with a rollerbed in place of its first two turbines, due to its unique layout the 625 still retains six turbines – more than any other machine on the market making for industry leading cleaning capacity. This is of ever higher importance as contractors continue to battle unrelenting weather and arduous conditions during ever more drawn-out sugar beet campaigns.

“We believe there’s definitely a market for a rollerbed,” the managing director of J Riley Beet Harvesters, Jeremy Riley, said. “We were being asked by people running competitor’s machines when Vervaet will make a rollerbed, so they’ve produced it to fulfil that obligation.

The new rollerbed has seven 100mm rollers; the first two spiral rollers take the beet outwards while the rest gather the crop to the centre.
The new rollerbed has seven 100mm rollers; the first two spiral rollers take the beet outwards while the rest gather the crop to the centre.

“They’ve managed to eliminate the less successful points of other rollerbed designs, namely the transport belt between the wheels, and we think it’s an improvement on existing rollerbeds from other manufacturers. However, it isn’t a replacement for the turbine configuration because modern turbines will ultimately provide the most cleaning and we still believe that a turbine machine is the best all-rounder – we’re definitely not forgetting our heritage.”

His views were echoed by the company’s sales manager, Matt Carse, who has extensive previous experience with a competitor’s rollerbed-type harvesters.

“On certain soil types, the rollerbed can allow for a faster forward speed,” he said. “On the right soils they can offer good cleaning, and are generally regarded as being gentle on the beet. The web between the front wheels is always a weak point, especially in stony conditions, so what Vervaet has done using a turbine instead is excellent, it’s a big plus point.

“Its open construction also sets it apart, and it still retains the signature Vervaet simplicity of design, giving all of the necessary features without unnecessary complications. During testing it’s been running in some very challenging wet conditions at 8km/hr plus and doing a good job. I’m very pleased and it’s producing a satisfying sample for the grower.

“The rollerbed widens our portfolio and complements what we’re already offering,” he added. “There are guys who currently have a rollerbed
and want to stay with one, and vice versa with turbines, so we now really can offer an ideal solution to everyone. In the long term I think this new option will have the knock-on effect of further widening the appeal of a reconditioned Vervaet harvester as well.”