A celebration event attended by customers and dealers marked 50 years of agricultural machinery production by slurry handling specialist Joskin. David Williams reports.
Based in Soumagne, Belgium, Joskin’s product line-up includes slurry transport, handling and application equipment, manure spreaders, trailers and grassland machinery. Most of its production is purchased for use in Europe but exports to destinations in other continents are increasing with regular demand from more than 50 countries.
The celebration event featured examples from all the ranges and was also an ideal opportunity to launch new products which included slurry spreading booms, muck spreaders and silage trailers.
New spreading booms
Joskin has launched Penditwist and Pendislide Basic booms to complement the Pendislide Pro launched earlier this year. The Pendislide Pro is available in 12.0, 13.5, 15.0 and 18.0m widths and has skids to avoid transference of slurry and soil to leaves. Small gauge wheels allow operation without a linkage mounting system, and a pendulum frame provides accurate ground following independent of the tanker. Also included is the Twist anti-drip device, standard on all Joskin spreading booms, preventing slurry spillage and dripping by lifting the hoses to create a block.
Penditwist and Pendislide Basic booms are available in 6.0 and 7.5m working widths, and mount either on an existing linkage or direct to the tanker rear manhole, provided it is at least 600mm diameter. Joskin believes there will be considerable demand for use with small new tankers as well as to retrofit on older machines.
The muck spreader range has been increased to 6 models – 4 with vertical beaters and 2 horizontal, and providing a line-up of 37 variants. Capacities are from 8–25m³ without extensions, and options such as a weighing system and Isobus management mean users can apply accurately, even at low rates.
The latest addition to the range is the Siroko low volume model. The body is fully galvanised and narrow, allowing large wheels to be fitted. The suspended drawbar can be set for low or high hitches.
Beater diameter and overall size is increased, although the tube is smaller than the previous version allowing longer retractable blades to be fitted. These improve shredding ability and spread performance. The new beaters have allowed a modified body shape; including higher sides, and higher application rates.
The rear guillotine door has external rams, helping reduce blockages and improving access for maintenance.
The lights are relocated below the beaters, reducing dirt contamination. A transparent plastic cover protects the lights in the field, and can be folded clear for road use.
Floor drive chain sprockets have a new profile with straight edge tines for reduced slippage and wear.
Knife working life is improved with construction from Hardox 450 10mm steel, replacing 6mm previously, and they are reversible.
Made in Belgium, Joskin’s Silo-Space 2 series replaces previous Silo-Space models.
A new self-supporting body structure replaces previous double frame construction so that the running gear and drawbar are attached direct to the box. This design reduces weight and floor height allowing higher sides and additional volume.
The tapered body gains 4cm width from front to back and the front wall is completely redesigned with a 22-degree slope relative to the tractor, instead of 10 degrees before, increasing usable volume. The front wall folds back to optimise unloading and is 160mm higher than the trailer sides.
Aiding the unloading process, the front insert folds back hydraulically throwing accumulated material back into the main bed. The painted mesh front wall makes it easier to work at night with reduced reflection from the tractor’s rear lights.
Hydraulic suspension is standard and closed hydraulic circuits provide stability.
A leaf-sprung drawbar is standard, but a hydraulic version is an upgrade option.
The PTO-driven unloading floor is split longitudinally into 2 sections. Unloading speed is 25 per cent faster than the Silo-Space version.
The new 4-model Silo-Space 2 range offers capacities from 44–54m³ or 48–59m³, when material is heaped above the sides.
High spec slurry solution
A new Joskin slurry tanker was the obvious choice for Newport, Shropshire-based Stockton Heath Ltd, part of Stockton Grange Farm.
Partner Simon Heath took delivery of the new tanker in late summer to transport and apply slurry from the farm’s 1,000-cow dairy herd and 1.5MW AD plant.
More than half the slurry produced is applied through the tanker and the remainder is fed to an injector by umbilical cord.
The Euroliner 28,000-litre tanker has tri-axle running gear with large flotation tyres to maximise opportunities for use on soft ground. Slurry is applied through a rear-mounted Terraflex injector, ensuring almost all ends up below the surface.
“Our previous tanker was also a Joskin, and impressed us with its build quality and reliability since we purchased it approximately nine years ago,” explained Simon. “Therefore opting for another Joskin was an easy decision, although we did consider other brands too, as it’s a very large investment.”
Stockton Heath’s Joskin Euroliner 28000 TRS
- Triple-axle, 900mm independent chassis
- 750/60R30.5 Trelleborg tyres
- Load transfer by drawbar-mounted hydraulic ram
- X-trem colour – steel tank galvanised inside and out, then painted
- Vogelsang VX186-368QD lobe pump. 9,000-litres/min @ 640rpm
- 8in articulated filling arm with 8in turbo filler
- Full electro-hydraulic control
- Isobus connection to touch-screen and joystick
- John Deere HarvestLab 3000 NIR sensor
- Terraflex/3 5700 3-row injector
Demanding crop regime
Arable crops are almost all for home use, including 500ha maize, 60ha wholecrop rye and 120ha of energy beet for the cattle and the AD plant. Potatoes are also grown, but sold from the farm. Beet are washed and chopped for the AD plant, which also makes them an ideal high-energy feed. “Because we have to de-stone, wash and mash the crop for the digester, we looked at using the finished product as cattle feed which has proved incredibly successful,” he explained. “The cattle love it and potential milk yield per hectare is almost 40 per cent higher than maize, when the dry matter content and energy yield is considered. Because it’s proving so successful we will grow an extra 40ha next year.
“We have a heavy bias towards spring cropping,” he continued, “and our only winter crops are rye and re-seeded grassland. We are restricted as to when we can apply slurry due to NVZ restrictions until early spring, so with all the spring crops needing a dose of slurry before planting we have to apply a lot of slurry quickly when the opportunity is there.”
Slurry is from three sources; the AD plant, slurry pit and the slurry lagoon, and nutrient value and concentration varies between sources and day to day.
Because the slurry is so variable a hand analyser has been used to calculate the required dose, but crop striping has been a constant issue. “Nitrogen is the controlling factor for us and we tend to be cautious to avoid exceeding the permitted levels, which often means doing two applications. But, looking at the fields as the crops grow makes this system’s limitations obvious where an application of concentrated slurry from the AD plant has been followed by two loads of almost pure water from the slurry pit after a day’s heavy rain. The Environment Agency suggests sending slurry for analysis but by the time we receive results the slurry has been on the field for a few weeks.”
Losing potential yield
Simon said because the farm is so cautious about its nitrogen application, it usually under-applies which means losing out on potential yield. “We were doing what we could to maximise benefit by using the Terraflex injector. This injects slurry down the back of the tines with hardly any left on top, so little nutrient value is lost due to volatilisation. It has a cultivating effect but three rows of flexible tines leave the land extremely level, to the extent hare coursers have attempted, unsuccessfully, to travel over fields soon after slurry application.”
With slurry so important to all the farm’s activities a solution was needed which would enable maximum benefit to be gained from the nutrient value, while remaining environmentally friendly. “We started considering constant live slurry analysis by Near Infra-Red (NIR) sensor during application, and could see it offered a significant opportunity,” he said.
In 2016 Joskin formed an agreement with John Deere that the HarvestLab 3000 NIR sensor would be available for its tankers and this arrangement was particularly attractive to Simon with main Joskin and John Deere dealer Rea Valley Tractors nearby. “We already dealt with Rea Valley and knew we could rely on great back-up which was a major factor,” he said.
The farm had operated a 25,000-litre Joskin slurry tanker for around 9 years and Simon said it was almost totally reliable, with the only significant breakdown caused by an after-market central greasing system.
“It was excellent and always impressed us with its design so although we looked at several other brands as a new tanker was a significant investment, it would have taken a lot to persuade us to move from Joskin.”
“Since we took on the Joskin franchise approximately seven years ago most demand has been for slurry tankers,” explained Rea Valley Tractors Newport depot manager Tom Shakeshaft. “These are top quality, professional machines so predictably customers tend to be larger dairy farms or AD plants, and contractors servicing multiple dairy farms needing high capacity twin-axle models. Customers like the high standard of manufacture including running gear that far exceeds what most other companies offer. Tanks are galvanised inside and out for a long life and implements are mainly chassis mounted, relieving stresses on the tank.
“I was involved in helping identify an ideal specification for Simon and, with the John Deere HarvestLab 3000 sensor, the tanker is ideally suited to his demanding situation.”
The Joskin tanker was ordered, part-funded through an EU Leader Grant for which it gained approval due to its environmentally friendly and efficient application control systems.
The steel tank is galvanised inside and out, then painted for a long working life.
A 9,000-litres/min Vogelsang volumetric lobe pump ensures rapid filling through a built-in articulated filling arm although a funnel filler is also fitted.
A 28-outlet macerator distributor, rather than the ‘scatter plate’ system on the previous machine, ensures even feed rate to all nozzles.
The running gear includes Trelleborg 750/60R30.5 flotation tyres with hydraulic steering of the front and rear axles, and the front axle also lifts clear of the ground during tight turns. Proportional load-regulated air braking is fitted.
A load-transfer system pushes weight forward to the tractor to maximise traction in the field.
Full Isobus control from the in-cab Joskin touch-screen and joystick is included, with a separate John Deere display used for the NIR sensing.
An after-market automatic greasing system was specified. “Getting under a slurry tanker to grease it is no-one’s favourite task,” explained Simon. “So having automatic greasing of a machine with so many moving parts seems an obvious upgrade, and ensures it is done as required. We had problems with the previous system so this time we opted for dual-line greasing and so, even if nozzles are blocked, grease is still supplied to the bearings.”
The tanker arrived in late summer and was used immediately to make the most of the technology before slurry application had to cease for the winter.
The HarvestLab sensor measures nitrogen, phosphorous and potash content and the system allows a constant application rate for any one to be set, with limits on each of the others. The operator decides the appropriate travel speed while the slurry flow is automatically adjusted to maintain the nitrogen application rate set, without allowing other nutrient limits to be exceeded.
“It’s easy for the operator as RTK guidance and automatic steering maintain precise positioning and the user just has to select a suitable travel speed,” said Simon. “The John Deere sensor is so easy to set up and use. The software is very user friendly.”
Because precise nutrient content is constantly measured and recorded, accurate field maps are produced detailing exactly how much nitrogen, phosphorous and potash have been applied. “This is reassuring for us as nitrogen in particular is such a contentious issue,” explained Simon. “Having these records allows us to prove that limits are never exceeded, but also allows us to confidently maximise application rates to make the most of potential yields.
“Another benefit is that we know exactly how much of the other two elements have been applied. We use the information to calculate what we need to apply as granules through our Amazone ZA-TS disc spreader to optimise those levels too.”
Timeliness is also improved. “Previously we didn’t know how long applications would take, because each load was measured by hand meter before it left the yard and a calculation was then made regarding application rate and speed. We didn’t even know how many loads would be needed for a field. Now, the on-board sensing tells us precisely how much is needed so we know when a field will be finished and the next will be started.”
Pleased with decision
“We are delighted with the tanker,” concluded Simon. “It’s very much a professional machine, although it was priced accordingly. Joskin hasn’t compromised at all on its construction and the fully galvanised, painted tank should withstand many years’ use – we have planned on it being our main tanker for the next 10 years.
“It’s perfectly matched with our 396hp Fendt 939. Our previous tanker’s weight transfer system wasn’t particularly effective, but the new tanker’s is significantly improved to the extent that, if it isn’t disengaged before a headland turn, steering is difficult. Full commercial running gear and brakes make it very safe on the road; the operator loves it and finds it easy to use and for me the benefit is improved efficiency and work rates and the knowledge we can safely make the most of our slurry to maximise crop performance.