Agrifac’s Condor can be credited for shaking up the UK self-propelled sprayer sector – and used models are getting more affordable.
Agrifac’s aftersales manager Matt Carse guides Geoff Ashcroft around a Condor III...
Agrifac’s Condor first arrived in the UK in 2006, and took over from the then-badged ZA3400.
Its appearance was short-lived, and it was replaced by the Condor II in 2010, which came with a Claas Vista cab, sporting a 9in touchscreen terminal called Ecotronic Plus, replacing dials and switches, and was a machine which can be credited to putting the maker firmly on the UK self propelled scene.
Agrifac’s aftersales manager Matt Carse explains: “In nine years, we have gone from three staff selling eight or nine sprayers per year, to 29 staff and 30 to 35 sprayers per year.
“In terms of the used market, our Premium Proven refurb programme is giving used Condors a useful second life on smaller farms.”
Condor power initially came from a Deutz 200hp six-pot engine, and drive ran to all four wheels through eight-stud Brevini hubs with Linde wheel motors.
A 50kph capability and air braking system was also included.
By 2013, customers were looking for more, and the Condor III stepped up with a choice of 205hp FPT engine with standard eightstud Brevini hubs, or a 285hp FPT engine with 10-stud heavy duty Brevini hubs carrying larger Linde wheel motors.
Spray tech has evolved too, but the tank sizes have remained unchanged at 3,400, 4,000 and 5,000 litres, while its J-boom options range from 24-54 metres on a parallelogram frame.
Condor IV arrived in 2017, with a larger touchscreen terminal and more standard specification.
“Our most popular model is 5,000 litres with a 36m boom, suiting those moving from 24-36m tramlines,” Mr Carse says.
Condor Endurance arrived in 2014, packing an 8,000-litre tank, 380hp Volvo engine and with greater overhang to maintain the Condor’s short wheelbase and manoeuvrability.
It was replaced in 2017 with the 420hp Cummins powered Endurance II.
With 12 months warranty, operator training and transport, our four-year old 5,000-litre Condor III example with 5,300 hours under its belt, will carry a £160,000 price tag once it has been through the firm’s workshop refurb programme.
THE Condor’s FPT engine is shoe-horned into the chassis behind the cab.
Access is past the cab door, and then via lifting a flat-deck composite cover that sits on top of the engine. It is a space often used for suction hose storage.
It can be cluttered, so pay attention to debris collecting on top of the engine, as it poses a potential fire risk.
The lower front cowling around the cab acts as an air intake for the cooling system, so check it is not full of debris either, causing any air flow restrictions to the cooling system. A pull-down plate under the cab allows fly screens to be removed for cleaning.
Underneath, there is plenty of access to engine filters, oil drain plug and the two thermostatically controlled, hydraulically driven cooling fans.
This space beneath the engine makes it relatively easy to inspect for leaks or potential problems.
INDUCTION hoppers could be stainless steel or plastic items, and are raised and lowered manually, with gas-strut assistance.
Gas struts weaken over time, and the hopper’s single box-section linkage can wear significantly from constant lifting and lowering, causing the hopper to sit awkwardly.
It is likely that new fixings will be needed to secure the hopper.
A supplementary control screen adds functionality at the fill-point too. Check that everything functions properly and the screen can be viewed.
EARLY Condors were equipped with a pair of Comet 260-litre piston diaphragm pumps.
Later models, and any which have been through the firm’s Cambridgeshire workshop, are likely to have had them replaced by a single, 560-litre Altek piston diaphragm unit.
Access is to the pump is clear and unhindered, affording a thorough inspection of components, filters and plumbing. A 3in fill pipe is standard.
ALL Agrifac Condor models share the same back frame, and first boom sections.
It is not a lightweight affair and is clearly built to withstand some longevity.
Even so, inspect carefully for damage or poor repairs, as putting them right could be costly. Boom pivot pins should be well-greased, as should the tie-bars on the folding geometry.
Check break-back too, as each tip is managed by a large gas strut mechanism.
Wear plates are located within the back-frame to allow boom oscillation rollers to run smoothly.
Look for excess wear or grooving and replace as necessary.
Heavy-duty push-pull linkage across the rear of the boom manages yaw, with cushioning achieved by rubber blocks. These blocks can soften and deteriorate over time, and may need to be replaced to maintain boom control.
Early ‘chem-saver’ valves on each nozzle body can stick, leading to non-operation or leaking. Later models got Arag valves.
CONDOR uses the Stabilo Plus chassis, with air suspension and hydraulic track width adjustment from 150-225cm, adjustable from the cab.
The chassis’ two halves act like a rocking beam trailer axle to keep the sprayer’s wheels in contact with uneven ground, while the upper structure rides almost unhindered.
Pay attention to corners and joint plates for signs of cracking on machines with 7,000-plus hours.
Air brakes bring the machine to a stop, using brake shoes within drums. They are a wear item and adjustment is needed, so note how far the brake pedal moves when sat in the cab.
Linde hydraulic wheel motors are shielded for added protection, but hubs can still leak. Look for oil weeping down the inside of each wheel rim.
Drivelines can be distinguished by the hub bolt pattern. Eightstud Brevini hubs are standard items fitted to the lower powered Condor. The 285hp model was fitted with 10-stud hubs, offering more traction and better performance for hills.
Auto-lube systems are common, and can be chassis-only; chassis and back frame; or chassis, back frame and boom pivots, depending on specification.
AGRIFAC’S Condor II arrived in 2010 and came with a Claas Vista cab. A nine-inch touchscreen terminal called Ecotronic Plus replaced the previous model’s clunky dials and switches.
Condor II also came with Agrifac’s own SBG guidance system to operate auto-section control.
“We have the flexibility to adapt the Condor to use any proprietary third-party guidance system,” says Mr Carse.
“And with a modular approach to boom construction, we can reconfigure any working width on a used machine, to suit a customer’s tramline system.”
■ Chem-saver: £47.23
■ Boom pivot pins: £38.92-£67.34
■ Nozzle body: £45.86
■ Rubber yaw blocks: £104.41 each
■ Light duty brake shoes: £301.58 each (eight required)
■ Heavy duty brake shoes: £334.62 each (eight required)
■ Suction filter: £41.19
■ Pressure filter: £21.38
■ Cab carbon filters: £33.81-£65.35
■ 2017, Condor III, 1,000 hours, 5000/36m: £225,000
■ 2015, Condor III, 5,300 hours, 5000/32m: £160,000
■ 2014, Condor III, 5,800 hours, 5000/36m: £115,000
■ 2012, Condor II, 7,500 hours, 5000/40m: £109,994