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VIDEO: CropTec 2016: Sprayer tech dominates equipment on show

Along with agronomy advice and in-depth seminars, this week’s CropTec event also provided visitors with a chance to check out the latest efficiency-enhancing technology. Richard Bradley reports.

Richard   Bradley

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Chafer Self-Propelled Sprayer

Offering two new ranges, Chafer has updated its self-propelled sprayer portfolio, now featuring a new chassis which is built in-house.


The smaller Defender model offers 3,000-3,500 litre spray tank capacity, 24-30m booms, 175hp Deutz Stage 4 engine and hydrostatic transmission; a Bosch Rexroth continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available as an option.


Larger Interceptor models are available with 4,000-5,000l spray tank, 24-40m booms, 225hp Deutz Stage 4 engine and Rexroth CVT as standard.


Fritzmeier cabs, also used on Fendt’s Katana self-propelled forager, are fitted and machines require a third-party system to run guidance and automatic steering.


Full availability will be in early 2017, with prices yet to be confirmed.

Positive Spraying

By positively charging spray liquid, MagGrow aims to lower levels of spray drift in higher winds.


Suitable to retrofit to an existing sprayer, the system uses no moving parts. A charging tank, which takes fluid in before it is pumped out to the booms positively charges the spray liquid, which is then attracted to the plants as it sprays from the nozzles.


Plastic instead of metal pipes are required on the sprayer’s booms with a magnet mounted in-between each nozzle, the firm says these could be swapped over when changing sprayers to reduce cost however.


The manufacturer claims spraying can be carried out at wind speeds up to 25kph with low-drift nozzles fitted, and spray drift can be reduced by up to 90 per cent when flat-fan nozzles are fitted.

Bigger is better for Lite-Trac

While Lite-Trac was only showing its outgoing SS2400 self-propelled sprayer at CropTec, the manufacturer has announced a new higher capacity machine will be available for 2017.


Based on customer demand, the new machine will feature a heavier duty chassis and more power, with possible payloads for the new SS3500 up to 30 tonne.


An 8.6l Volvo engine will be used which produces around 400hp. When coupled to an Allison six forward/two reverse speed transmission, top speed is 50kph.


Larger control terminals will also be fitted inside the New Holland cab, while third party systems will be required for guidance and automatic steering.

Flow Check

Billericay Farm Services is now selling a cost-effective solution for checking sprayer nozzle flow rates.


Hung from the sprayer’s nozzles, holes in the base of the tube allow fluid to flow out at a set rate; different hole sizes are used to match nozzle sizes. As the hole restricts flow out of the tube, the fluid level rises; a scale is then used to indicate the nozzle’s flow rate.


The manufacturer says the system was designed to offer farmers a quick method for checking their sprayer; however the National Sprayer Testing Scheme now uses the flow meters on their sprayer tests, as they offer readings with +/- one per cent accuracy.


Individual units are available for £39+vat; if you purchase five units you receive a carry-case and a calibration certificate.

Trimble takes Android approach

Guidance and automated steering system manufacturer Trimble was showing off its latest 12.3inch touchscreen terminal at the event.


Named the TMX 2050, the terminal replaces the firm’s FMX display offering more storage capacity and faster processing speeds.


The IsoBus compatible terminal uses Android software, so along with displaying working information apps can be downloaded and the internet can be accessed with a suitable signal. Connected Farm applications can be installed, allowing information such as guidance lines and application rates to be shared with another machine or transferred to the farm office.


Price for the display and a receiver range from £4,195-£9,740 depending on if you want 15-20cm accuracy or a real time kinematics (RTK) signal offering pass-to-pass accuracy below 2.5cm.


Central tyre inflation system manufacturer TractAir talked about retrofitting systems to existing vehicles at the show.


Suitable to fit to tractors, self-propelled machines, trailers and anything else that has wheels fitted, the system uses the tractor’s or self-propelled machine’s air compressor to inflate or deflate the tyres; an air compressor can be fitted if required.


Bar-type axles (as shown) allow pipework to be installed in-between the axle and wheel rim, while other axles require pipework to be fitted over the top of the tyre. The manufacturer says the standard tyre valves do not allow pressures to be changed fast enough, so larger 15mm holes are made in the wheel rim.


The firm’s in-cab controller is used to raise or lower the pressures in the tyres, allowing front and rear axles and trailed implements to be controlled independently; if fitted, IsoBus terminals offer the same features.


Prices start from around £3,000 per axle with the automatic inflation system costing £688.

Knight minimises overlap

Providing greater levels of flexibility than normal section control, UK sprayer manufacturer Knight was showing their single nozzle switching system.


Controlled automatically through the Muller Touch 1200 terminal, the system uses pneumatics to switch off single spray nozzles which reduces overlap at row ends and on short work.


Different types of nozzles can also be switched on or off allowing for variable application rates across the sprayer’s boom.


Brian Knight said “single nozzle switching is not hugely popular yet, but we see it as being the next major enhancement in sprayer technology as it provides instant results in terms of cost savings, especially when applying liquid fertiliser.”


Available on the manufacturer’s entire range of sprayers, the system costs around £5,000 over section control.

Weaving to extend portfolio

Extending Weaving’s current portfolio of drills, the UK manufacturer told Farmers Guardian at the show that a double disc (DD) drill will be launched at LAMMA in January.


Details of the new drill remain limited other than it will feature three rows of discs and be based on the firm’s current min-till tine drill, using the same frame and seed tank.


On show at CropTec was the manufacturer’s GD3000M 3m zero-till drill. The drill uses angled discs to minimise soil disturbance when seeding.

Garford in-row weeder

On display at the show was the firm’s Robocrop Inrow weeder which cultivates ground in-between precision planted vegetable crops.


Mounted to the tractor’s front or rear linkage, the weeders are available in working widths from two-six metres.


Cameras are used to detect individual plants in sections, the information is then processed by the on-board computer, which controls the automatic implement steering and determines when the rotors need to turn the offset crescent shaped coulters.


On-board batteries are fitted, supplying a constant 42 volts to the rotors; a pto driven generator is used to recharge the batteries. The firm says batteries are used to reduce power fluctuations to the rotors and also allow the tractor to work at low revs, reducing fuel consumption.

Sprayer demonstration

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