Crop protector with mower.

Unimog U 530: A versatile professional on the Baltic coast.

In the far north of Germany, on the Eckernförde bay, lies the home of Sönke Greve and his business. He carries out work that many people would not notice in their everyday lives, but which is of great importance.

Everyday hero with tradition.

Sönke Greve specialises in pest control. That includes wide-ranging preventive measures which are an essential element especially in the food wholesaling, retailing and processing industries. Measures which are obligatory for every supermarket, but which no consumer ever consciously notices. Greve also provides crop protection services to farms, as well as handling winter road clearing and caring for roadside verges on behalf of a number of local authorities.

The business was founded shortly after the Second World War. The fleet was soon enhanced with its first Unimog featuring a built-on sprayer unit – at the time still originating from Böhringer. This laid the foundation stone for a long-standing partnership between the company and Unimog. Sönke Greve, grandson of the company's founder, can today only guess at how many Unimog vehicles there have actually been across the three family generations: "It must have been around 20."

The current backbone of the business is a state-of-the-art Unimog U 530 – the third Unimog from the implement carrier series to perform that role. A Dammann crop sprayer is mounted on it to carry out the main work duties. The sprayer has a 3,000 litre capacity, and can work at widths from 24 to 30 metres. That enables Greve to meet a wide variety of different customer wishes. The state-of-the-art GPS control permits high-precision spraying. Special sensors ensure that the bar is kept at exactly the right height. Some 5,000 hectares are treated in this way every year.

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Customers focused on core business.

Customers are often livestock farms which outsource their crop protection in order to concentrate on animal breeding. For some customers, Sönke Greve not only sprays the crops, but also decides which crops to plant and selects the appropriate protection agents. He mainly treats wheat, rape, maize and sugar beet – but also Christmas tree plantations. Key partners are also a number of largescale operators which contract his services in peak work times.

Greve operates within a 30 kilometre radius of his base. He particularly appreciates the Unimog's high speed because, as he says, "crop protection is time-critical". He lists another benefit as being the spring suspension of the Unimog, which provides high levels of ride comfort both on the road and in the field. "In the field, especially, it compensates for hard knocks due to uneven ground which would otherwise impact on the 30 metre wide bar." Since frequent switching between field and road is part of routine operations in order to refill the sprayer, the tyre pressure control unit is particularly important. It provides maximum soil protection. With those attributes, the Unimog is turned into a crop protection expert.

But the Unimog's biggest appeal is its versatility. As well as the built-on sprayer unit, the Unimog is also operated with a Dücker mower combination, and in winter service with a snow-plough and spreading trailer. During the crop protection season, from March to November, the equipment configuration is swapped as many as 10 times. "It's a 30-minute job for an expert," Greve states. The spacious cab means the equipment control units can be left inside the vehicle, and just need to be swivelled aside.

For mowing, Sönke Greve above all appreciates the clear view of the mounted implements as well as the high front axle load capacity of the Unimog, permitting a combination of mowers to be mounted on the front. As a counterweight to the heavy mower boom, the inventive entrepreneur has mounted a solid concrete block in the rear-mounted power lift. That enables him to quickly mount and dismount equipment when switching between mowing and crop protection.

Versatility is the Unimog recipe for success.

In place of the mower head, Greve can also fit branch and hedge shears to the Dücker boom and assist in caring for the many hedges in the region. And when snow starts to fall again, or frost makes the roads icy, the Unimog can be rapidly converted into an efficient winter service vehicle. The equipment includes a snow-plough and a single-axle spreading trailer with a four-tonne capacity. In winter service, the U 530 is assisted by a U 1600 with a snow-plough and top-mounted spreader, and by two MB tracs with snow-ploughs and built-on spreaders. The full schedule of the U 530 provides more than 1,000 hours' work a year, and thanks to its great flexibility that year-round operation can be covered by just one vehicle. Typical Unimog in fact.

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