The requirements for most customers is accuracy, for others its a bigger hopper capacity to boost output
Accuracy is still among the top priorities when choosing a new fertiliser spreader, but the requirements for some customers also include a bigger hopper capacity to boost the output, says Mike Williams.The obvious advantage of increasing fertiliser spreader hopper size is that it reduces the number of refill stops to leave more time for spreading, and the continuing rise in the average engine power output and performance of new tractors means that, on many farms, the lift capacity on the rear linkage allows heavier equipment to be handled.
The new 5,550-litre M6W model from Bogballe is said to be the world’s biggest tractor-mounted fertiliser spreader.Increased carrying capacity is one of the features of the five-model range of mounted spreaders introduced recently by the Bogballe company in Denmark and available in 2014 through its UK distributor, Keith Rennie Machinery, or KRM. The top model is the M6W spreader with a 5,550 litre hopper holding up to 6t, said to be the biggest capacity mounted spreader available. The spread width is 12-42m and the design features include an electric control to switch between standard and border spread settings.Special features on the new spreader models, which start with a 4,050 litres hopper size, include an Isobus link for suitably equipped tractors, and the weighing system for the range-topping M6W model has two 6t load cells.One result of the growing interest in high output fertiliser spreading is a sales boost for the big capacity trailed models. Trailed machines form a specialised niche sector of the spreader market, attracting contractors and big acreage farms, but the current increase in sales is coming mainly from farmers. A recent addition to the list of trailed spreaders available in the UK is the AGT 6036 model from Kuhn Farm Machinery, which has been sold on the continent for several years and arrived here in 2013.
The new AGT 6036 trailed spreader from Kuhn has a 36m spread width.The specification of the new Kuhn spreader includes a 6,300-litre hopper capacity and a pneumatic spreading mechanism that distributes the fertiliser from a stainless steel boom across a 36m spread width. There are five spreader plates dividing the boom into six sections, and each metering unit has its own hydraulic motor. The boom is mounted on a parallelogram linkage that allows the working height to be adjusted between 1.2-2.0m, and the working speed is up to 15kph, says Kuhn.One of the advantages claimed for Kongskilde’s Wing Jet trailed spreader is that the standard of application accuracy can be similar to a crop sprayer. The Wing Jet delivers the fertiliser through a boom up to 24m wide through outlets spaced at 120cm, a system that is said to offer improved resistance to wind drift while reducing the risk of over-spreading at the field margins. With an optional extension kit fitted, the hopper capacity of the Wing Jet trailed spreader can be increased to 6,000 litres and the options include a choice of GPS compatible control systems including a variable application rate facility.The big news from Amazone during 2013 was the production of its one millionth fertiliser spreader. The company’s first spreader, which was patented in 1915, was a full width machine available in a range of sizes from 1.5-4.0m wide and designed to be pulled by a horse. It was the first of a long line of successful spreaders which later included the first of the ZA series twin disc machines that helped to revolutionise application accuracy.Amazone developed the twin disc spreading system in 1958 and the ZA-TS Profis models, the latest versions of the ZA series, include hopper sizes up to 4,200 litres with working speeds as high as 20kph allowing work rates up to 50ha per hour. A new feature on machines available from spring 2014 onwards makes it possible to adjust the ‘on’ and ‘off’ points for the automatic GPS-Switch control in order to match different fertiliser types and spread widths.Electronic control system
Increased accuracy on some models in the Sulky spreader range distributed by Reco is achieved automatically with the recently-introduced Econov electronic control system. Available on Sulky’s top X series mounted spreaders with up to 4,000-litre hopper capacity and a 50m spread width, Econov uses a GPS link to provide automatic spread width control. This is achieved by adjusting the drop point where the fertiliser falls on a spinning disc, and the control system also automatically adjusts the flow rate to compensate for changes in the spread width. An in-cab display panel is available to show changes in the spread pattern.
The XT48 with a 1,350-litre hopper capacity is the largest model in Teagle’s UK-built twin disc spreader range.GPS control is available from a long list of fertiliser spreader manufacturers, including the Tulip Centerliner twin disc range distributed by Teagle Machinery. The options list includes a recently introduced electronic control unit that adjusts the application rate automatically to compensate for variations in forward speed, and it also includes a connection point allowing GPS to be used to vary the application rate. Also introduced last year were design changes that extended the use of corrosion resistant stainless steel to protect more of the spreading system.As well as importing the Tulip range, Teagle also manufactures its own XT series spreaders. These lack some of the high tech features found on bigger, more expensive machines, but they are designed to meet the needs of smaller acreages where ease of operation and low cost are often more important than a high output and an advanced specification. The Teagle range – the only tractor-mounted spreaders built in the UK – starts with the single disc Compact 8 with 234 litres capacity and an 8m spread width, and the XT series models have a twin disc spreading action, up to 1,350-litre hopper capacity and the bout width is up to 12m.