Stephen Becket, trading as A Beckett, grows cereals and 900 acres of processing potatoes around York, North Yorkshire. A Beckett is a family business and the majority of their potato crop goes to McCains with the remainder grown for the crisping market.
A long time Standen user, A Beckett currently run four Standen UniPlus stone and clod separators, a 4 Bodied Standen BX Bedformer and 2 Standen Powavator 400/200 Bedtillers.
We met up with Stephen to discuss his views on the Standen Uniplus Stone & Clod Separator.
Standen: What do you like about the Standen Uniplus model?
Stephen: I like the build quality; they are very strong and well built machines. One of the best features is that there is no axle underneath the machine; this was a problem on our previous make of destoner. Growing in Yorkshire means that we would often have to work in wetter conditions so that we could cover the acreage we farm and the axles would frequently get buried in the bed and the machine’s wheels would lift and it would sledge along the bed top.
The Underweb design is another great advantage. The Underweb covers the last 5 rows of stars, which gives a double sieving action, anything that goes through the stars ends up on the Underweb which then delivers it to the cross conveyor. This means that the drivers haven’t got to push the machines so hard to keep them full, and hence keep stone out of the bed, something that was an issue with previous makes of destoner.
Standen: We have had the comment from users of other brands that the amount of stars fitted to the machine could end up in high running costs, have you found this?
Stephen: Not at all, 2 of the machines I have are used, and even after 2 seasons I still haven’t had to replace a star. They are much bigger than other makes, at 320mm in diameter, and the DUROPOL compound they are made of coupled with the 50mm of overlap between each shaft means they will give plenty of life. In fact Standen say they will last three times longer than any other star on the market, which I can now easily believe.
Standen: How have the operators found the machines compared with their previous ones?
Stephen: They like the easy maintenance access the UniPlus gives, large access doors mean they can check the belt drives over in a morning and grease the machine as required. They like the automatic depth system, working off the diablo at the front of the machine. It is very accurate, and if when planting we decide we need to adjust separating depth they can do this from the cab.
Standen: You are doing the planting behind the destoners yourself, are there any other benefits you see?
Stephen: I really do like the bed shape. My other separators left a lot of soil in the middle of the bed, but not on the outsides. The Standen Uniplus gives a bed with plenty of soil on the shoulders, where you need it, to stop any seed rolling out the edge of the bed. This I think happens because of something called Actiflow.
Standen: ACTIFLOW is unique; a patented system of stars with alternate long fingers arranged in a spiral double-helix configuration. As soil and stones feed on to the star bed, ACTIFLOW stars move the material away from the centre towards the outsides, then back again, repeating the process through the machine. This highly efficient system makes best use of the separation area available for maximum performance, with no 'dead' spots or wasted areas.
Standen: You are based in North Yorkshire, which is a fair distance from Ely, where Standen manufacture their products, has this caused any issues with parts and service back up?
Stephen: Far from it, I can honestly say I have received the best support I have ever had from a manufacturer. Parts, if required, arrive the next day. In one instance I needed a part in a hurry and they sent a guy out of their factory in a van and brought the part to the field the same afternoon, what more can you ask for?