Machinery News

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Latest self-propelled sprayer features at recent customer days

New Horsch Leeb self-propelled sprayers featured at customer days organised by Claas dealer Manns. David Williams was there.

Two new high specification self-propelled sprayers were announced by Horsch Leeb in late 2019; with a choice of 6,000- or 8,000-litre tank capacities replacing the previous single PT280 8,000-litre model. Latest Leeb 8.300 PT 8,000-litre and 6.300 PT 6,000-litre versions share few components with their predecessor, so interest from potential Horsch Leeb users as well as those using the current machine has been considerable. The Manns customer days were well attended as the first full production version of the new sprayer to enter the UK was displayed.

“The PT280 has been very popular with professional users, and the new models have an improved design and additional features, which increase efficiency and make them even more user-friendly,” explained Horsch Leeb sprayer specialist Matthew Smith. “Having a choice of tank capacities will be welcomed by dealers and customers and we believe that the new, smaller 6,000-litre version will be popular.”

High-spec sprayers

Apart from the tank, the two new sprayers are identical. The 6,000-litre tank is made from plastic, whereas the larger 8,000-litre version is stainless steel with a painted finish. The cab is from Claas and a new ErgoControl armrest houses all the main controls including a multi-function joystick with customisable function buttons. Headland management is a new feature, allowing pre-set operating sequences to be programmed and activated at the touch of a button. This includes automatically selecting pre-set cruise speeds, switching boom sections and raising the boom for each headland turn, then reversing the sequence to recommence spraying.

Factory-supplied control terminals include the Horsch Touch 1200 or TopCon X35, but increased compatibility with other major brands means most commonly used systems for auto-steer and section control can also be installed.

The new sprayers share an FPT 310hp power unit. This produces more power than the previous PT280 and drive to the wheels is through an efficient hydrostatic transmission to individual wheel motors replacing mechanical drive. The new PowerGear drive system allows infinite speed control from 0–50kph and automatic torque distribution between the wheels makes the most of available grip. There are two transmission levels – standard PowerGear, and HighPowerGear with up to 18 per cent more torque at the wheels than the previous PT280’s mechanical drive. Other benefits of moving to individual wheel motors include adjustable ride height, and a tighter turning circle. Adjustable track width will
be available.

Ease of use

A new operator station includes an external touch pad for automatic filling and washing functions and a 52-litre induction hopper. The hopper has upper and lower rinsing nozzles to achieve quick mixing of liquids and granules. Automatic filling programmes include the ability to slow or pause filling at any pre-set tank level with pump speed adjustment from 10–100 per cent, allowing time for preparing complex mixes. For simple fills such as liquid fertiliser, the high capacity 1,000-litre/min stainless steel pump and standard three-inch intake can achieve a full tank in just eight minutes.

There is a range of automatic cleaning programmes from simple flushing to a thorough wash-out, with sequential air purging clearing fluids from the tank to the nozzles. A thorough tank and system clean is achieved in just 13 minutes, but the user can also specify boom tube and nozzle cleaning when a full clean isn’t required.

A handy new feature is the ability to clean the filters while the sprayer is full. A cut-off mode shuts off the liquid supply isolating the filter, allowing blockages to be easily cleared.

Popular boom options

Horsch Leeb sprayers are known for superb boom performance and the same boom options are available for the company’s ranges of trailed and self-propelled models. Widths up to 42m are available with 25 or 50cm nozzle spacing, and boom stability and height control options include Boom Control ProPlus, which makes it possible to spray at less than 40cm above the target, even at high travel speeds.

Production of the new sprayers started in January this year, with the first deliveries to UK farms expected this month. Feedback from the Claas Manns customer event was extremely positive and, between the dealer’s depots across East Anglia and the south-east, several machines have been ordered and there is a long list of requests for on-farm demonstrations.

Known for innovation and quality

Pictured at the event are Claas Manns Thursford depot area sales manager Thomas English (on left) and Spaldwick depot area sales manager Ben Broughton. “We were both working for Claas Manns before we took on the Horsch franchise in early 2017, and the response from customers to us being able to supply the brand was extremely positive,” explained Thomas. “It’s also encouraged farmers we weren’t dealing with previously to make contact to see what we offer, and we have gained a lot of additional Claas business as a result.”

Ben agrees: “The Horsch brand is known for innovation and build quality and there are products in the range for all types and sizes of enterprise, from smaller family farms to large estates. Chemical application is increasingly expensive, and for all sizes of farm the priority is to get as much of the chemical as possible on to the target. Horsch sprayers have industry-leading technology to ensure this happens, but it’s the incredibly stable boom and 25cm nozzle spacing that impresses most.”

Ben said the most popular boom size in his area is now 36m, for both trailed and self-propelled machines, and he has seen many farms move from smaller self-propelled sprayers to 6,000-, 7,000- or 8,000-litre trailed models. “Both new self-propelled models are creating considerable interest, and the variable track width option adds appeal for contractors, vegetable growers and those with potatoes and other root crops.

“Horsch is always pushing technology to the next level and, as a family firm with its own farm, it knows just what the market needs.”

Top specification boom

Claas dealer Manns Kent sales representative Ross Leach (on left) is pictured at the open day with Claas Manns Market Harborough depot manager Stephen Hiller. “Our most popular Horsch product so far has been the Sprinter 6ST drill, as it allows growers to successfully establish crops even in a wet season,” explained Ross. “The latest version with twin hoppers for grain and fertiliser has proved particularly popular with customers. Trailed sprayers supplied include a 6,000-litre Leeb 6 LT and an 8,000-litre Leeb 8 GS and both are equipped with 25cm nozzle spacing and CCS Pro automated filling and cleaning functions. Horsch sprayers are definitely becoming more popular in our trading area. They are known for build quality and accuracy
and growers are willing to invest to have the right machine. It’s also apparent that although customers often expect Horsch products to be significantly more expensive than competitor versions, they are actually surprisingly affordable, including specification levels to suit most users and price points.”

Stephen said that in the three years since Manns took on the Horsch franchise, the Market Harborough and Spalding depots have each supplied quite a few PT280 self-propelled sprayers. “They all have the top specification boom for its incredible stability, which ensures accurate application even at high speeds,” he explained. “We have always prided ourselves on the unbeatable back-up for Claas products, and now the same level of service is available for Horsch machines, too.”

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