Test: SIP 340S Silvercut disc mower

By: Mark Fouhy, Photography by: Mark Fouhy


Farm Trader tests the SIP 340S Silvercut disc mower from Webbline Agriculture to find out why it’s proving popular with farmers and contractors

With warmer days and increasing soil temperatures, shorter rotation lengths make grass management a top priority to ensure production is maximised.

Improved pasture in New Zealand has traditionally been based on rye clover mixes with other varieties used in different climatic and environmental conditions.

Simplicity of use and being easy to drive attracts farmers and contractors to SIP mowers

Herbs such as chicory and plantain are now also being sown in mixes or straight crop options; chicory for reliable summer production and plantain as a nutrient catch crop to minimise nitrogen leaching.

Besides the obvious option of grazing pasture with livestock to turn it into protein, mowing is the next option available to manage farm pasture, either as a tool to help maintain quality and get stock to eat it or break down faster, or to be conserved in some form for feeding at a later date when there is a shortage or the diet needs to be balanced.

Mow time

SIP mowers are simple to connect and disconnect from tractors

We tested the SIP 340S at the end of autumn on a 1200-cow, 320-hectare dairy property and runoff managed by George Campbell, not far from Te Awamutu (also where Webbline Agriculture has its main office and North Island yard).

George is extremely happy with his SIP Silvercut mower, which he has had for around 18 months. Trading up from a smaller and tired old belt drive mower, the SIP disc mower has come up trumps for him.

Used predominately in a topping/mowing role, particularly on chicory through summer, the wide cutting width offers good efficiency, covering the ground quickly. Side upfolding past 90 degrees, the mower is well balanced in transport position while still providing good forward vision and manoeuvrability when travelling down farm tracks. It folds down quickly to be ready for work once you hit the paddock.

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Reliability that is a cut above

For testing, we didn’t have a beautiful thick lush paddock but a trickier stalky grass with higher dry matter, providing a good challenge for the mower.

Mow quality is important and was of an impressively high standard when we studied the finished job. The 3.25-metre mowing width and eight cutting discs did a top job of whipping this pasture into shape.

To ensure ongoing consistent quality, always make sure your blades are in top order. Should a blade get damaged while out mowing, either reverse the blade and carry on or replace with a spare from the convenient toolbox on the headstock, which holds blades and shear pins. With the spring loaded front mower skirt and quick-change blade system (tool also carried on the mower), you are back underway in no time.

Quick-change reversible blades for great mowing efficiency

Like many farms, George’s property has a variety of contour. The hydraulic flotation, which keeps even pressure across the full width of the mower, is a great feature on the SIP Silvercut 340S. This is available on even the smallest SIP Silvercut 300 right through to the largest 10-metre triple mowers in the range.

Another benefit of the hydraulic flotation is the decreased movement of the mowing bar when folded up, with pressure from the hydraulic ram holding the mower in position during headland turns, decreasing shock and vibration on the tractor and mower and the associated wear.

Design/construction

Hydraulic flotation ensures top-quality mowing on undulating terrain

To the naked eye, when comparing one disc mower to another, there often seems little discernible difference. However, even the smallest design feature makes a considerable impact in terms of durability and quality, and the SIP Silvercut 340S offers plenty to admire.

From the width and the flotation system used for the mower bar to the high-performance hydraulic system used, it is obvious that a careful amount of consideration has gone into every aspect of the design.

Features such as direct drive onto the cutter bar without an outside skid for grass to catch and build upon, especially through the corners, add to the overall efficiency and ease of use. Double raced bearings are used on the cutter bar shafts, with Hardox on the bottom of the skids for high wear resistance and long life.

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The SIP Disc Drive Safety System gives the mower low cost cutter bar protection

Most important for mowers are the built-in protection systems should the mower come in contact with something it shouldn’t, which despite the best operator efforts, does happen.

The SIP Silvercut 340S automatically swings backwards at the same time as lifting to clear whatever it may have come in contact with, before swinging back into work position automatically, so the driver doesn’t even have to get off the tractor.

If this has not been enough to protect the mower bar, SIP also uses a four brass shear pin system (Disc Drive Safety System – DDSS). This works to avoid damage to the expensive drive gears. Better still, it is a relatively quick and straightforward job that can be carried out in the paddock without wasting time heading back to the workshop for repair work and all for a parts cost of only $25. Undoubtedly, this is my favourite feature of the SIP mower range.

Depending on the intended use for your mower, the SIP 300 and 340 models are both available with flail or roller conditioners should this feature be required.

Verdict

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Accessibility through a folding front cover makes blade changing easy 

While one of the newer players in the grass harvesting market in New Zealand, having been introduced to the country in 2012 by Webbline Agriculture, the quality and features of the SIP range has quickly found favour with farmers and contractors.

I like that the mowers offers a contractor quality machine in farmer sized variants. A key feature for me is the ability to fix the mower in a short space of time and get back to work, should things go wrong. These days, efficiency is of huge importance, and coupled with the quality build, the range should definitely be on your radar if you’re in the mower market.

SIP 340S Silvercut disc mower specifications

Working width 3.25m
Number of discs 8
Number of blades 6
Disc rotation speed 3000rpm
PTO rotation speed 1000rpm
Weight 850kg
Tractor power required 54kW
Capacity 4ha/hr
Cutting height 40–70mm
Warranty 24 months
Importer/distributor Webbline Agriculture


Pluses

  • Excellent ground following with hydraulic flotation control
  • Auto lift, re-ward swing, and reset mower bar
  • Great mower protection – shear pin system to minimise the chance of costly repair bills
  • Easy, quick change blades with tool and blade storage on the mower

Minuses

  • George had damage to the stopper when his mower was folded up. I don’t know if this was due to operator accident or design fault.

About SIP

The Slovenian-based SIP Company has 40 years’ experience manufacturing agricultural equipment. Initially manufacturing components for other big European brands, SIP moved to producing its own range of hay equipment in the mid-80s, exporting to a range of countries, including New Zealand. The build quality and company motto: ‘innovation and quality-on our side’ suits farming conditions in New Zealand, along with the ethos at Webbline Agriculture of stocking, servicing, and supporting quality machinery and equipment.

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