Power on the land
5th January 2022
The topic for this month’s Power on the Land is crop feeding, brought to you as always by Mike Williams.
The challenges for engineers who design fertiliser spreaders include producing an even distribution pattern with improved uniformity while achieving the required application rates, and progress from some manufacturers has been impressive.
Performance features available in the Lemken spreader range include Econov – a GPS linked system that adjusts the application rate for each of the 12 width sections to achieve high levels of accuracy. Econov is included on high specification Polaris series spreaders at the top of the Lemken range offering up to 4,000-litre hopper capacity with spread width adjustment up to 50m. The Lemken range offers mounted spreaders in three series starting with the Spica models with hoppers holding up to 2,100 litres and a 24m maximum spread width, plus the mid-range Tauri series, and all models feature Lemken’s Fertiway control system that adjusts the drop point on to the disc to vary the spread width.
An addition to the options list on Lemken’s Polaris series spreaders is Speed Control, adjusting the distribution pattern automatically to compensate for changes in forward speed. The options list for both Polaris and Tauri series spreaders also includes the Tribord control system to adjust the spread width close to field boundaries.
Kuhn spreaders include trailed models as well as three different mounted series with hopper sizes from 500–9,400 litres. The entry level mounted sprayers are the MDS series holding up to 2,000 litres and with 24m maximum spread width, and Kuhn also offers UKS Universal Spreaders in widths up to 2.3m for specialised use in areas such as vineyards and small-scale vegetable cropping. The big selling Axis mounted sprayers have twin-disc spreading widths up to 50m. They feature the EMC or Electronic Massflow Control which checks the application rate for each of the six width sections at one-second intervals.
EMC also features on the Kuhn Axent trailed model which has a 50m maximum spread width and 9,400-litre load capacity. Also in the trailed category is Kuhn’s Aero GT pneumatic boom spreader with 30, 32 and 36m working widths. The Aero spreader has a metering unit and a seed roller for each of the six width sections and is said to be capable of achieving a 400ha daily work rate.
Amazone also offers both mounted and trailed spreaders with a comprehensive choice of capacities and features. A recent development is adding the new TS spread system available on the ZA-TS mounted sprayer and the trailed ZG-TS model, both designed to offer a 54m spread width and with a specification that also includes Amazone’s ClickTS border spreading control plus the Wind Control system. Hopper capacities for the trailed TS spreaders are up to 4,200 litres, increasing to 10,000-litres maximum for the trailed ZG-TS with a 30kph maximum working speed.
Amazone spreader choices start with ZA-X Perfect mounted models with hopper sizes from 600–1,750 litres and up to 18m spread width, and the hopper size range increases to 3,000 litres maximum with up to 36m spread width for the ZA-M models. There is also a ZA-V mounted series with up to 4,200 litres capacity and working speeds up to 30kph. Another Amazone option is the Pneumatic trailed ZG-B series carrying between 5,500 and 8,200 litres and equipped for boom spreading with the ProfisPro control system using continuous weighing to monitor the application rate.
The M60W model at the top of the KRM mounted spreader range has 42m maximum spread width and the biggest payload currently available with 6t capacity. The W in the model identity shows weigh cell equipment is included, a feature available on all but the entry level L15 model. Weigh cells are part of the Intelligent Control System providing continuous weight checking while eliminating incorrect data due to uneven ground conditions or side slopes. The mounted spreader range starts with the L15 holding up to 1,300 litres and with up to 18m spread width, the L20 and L20W hold up to 2,050 litres, increasing to 3,750 litres maximum for the M35 and M35W and to 4,500 litres for the M45 and M45W. A special feature available on the mounted spreaders is the NAVI App tablet providing GPS-based spread control that can work with a number of control boxes.
KRM also offers a range of trailed spreaders including some that are suitable for fertiliser as well as more specialised machines for distributing various materials including lime and rock salt.
Fertiliser spreading faces increasing competition as some farms switch to organic crop production methods, and the equipment available for handling and spreading livestock manures and slurry becomes increasingly efficient. Hi-Spec Engineering is among the leading suppliers of spreaders for manure and slurry, including slurry tankers in single, twin and triple-axle versions, and it also offers two SideSpreader models using a series of flail chains to spread manure or slurry or a mixture of both.
The ability to use one machine to spread any type of livestock manure can be beneficial on many farms, and this is also a feature of the Hi-Spec Xcel 1250 spreader that uses flail chains to break up solid lumps. The contents are spread by spinning discs at the rear, with up to 20m spread width, and this eliminates the need for beaters and beater bars for spreading while achieving a fast discharge time which is typically 3–5 minutes for a 12t load.
Recent news from SlurryKat includes the launch of its Premium Plus Super Tanker range with capacities ranging from 7,750–25,000 litres and including single, tandem and triple axle versions. It offers an impressive list of new and improved features including high performance vacuum pumps for faster filling, the axle specifications and braking have both been updated, chassis improvements have been added and the new drawbar suspension system provides a smoother ride. The attachment systems for mounting distribution equipment have been updated, the baffle arrangement to reduce surge movements inside the tank is improved, and the latest specification also benefits from a modified mudguard design and improvements to the paint finish, while the weight of the boom for working over hedgerows has been reduced.