Monday, 22 June 2015 11:20

Team Arian Review

Tanks Team Up to Boost Output

When specifying a new sprayer set-up many farmers forget a tractor has two useful ends. While front end weights aid traction, a front-mounted spray tank boosts output. This is a philosophy that one Lincs farm, JC Clay & Partners, has fully embraced with its latest spraying outfit - a 100hp John Deere tractor carrying a 1,000 litre front tank and 1,400 litre/24m mounted sprayer.

"We like the balance that a front tank systems offers," says Tim Clay, who farms the 160ha Holly House Farm at Whaplode, Lincs, with his brother, Michael. "In addition the extra volume boosts output, turning a small tractor into a serious spraying machine that provides a viable alternative to a far more expensive self propelled."

This latest version is not the farm's first encounter with such a combination. The newly acquired sprayer combo replaces a 1,000-litre/1,200-litre, 18m Case outfit that had performed well for the business. "We visited Team Sprayers to buy one of its applicator systems for treating bulbs going into store, and we ended up with a deal to change our old sprayer." The farm opted for the largest Custom Deluxe model complete with 24m wide boom and 1,400 litre tank, combined with the firm's mid-sized front tank system. The latter is a 1,000 litre capacity polyethylene tank with its own stainless steel chemical induction hopper and hydraulically powered transfer pump.

It's a versatile outfit that can take on clean water at either end of the tractor. For Mr Clay, the location of water tanks around the farm means it's easier to couple up to the front tank's transfer pump and push water to either end of the sprayer. "I do like the flexibility it offers, and while spraying, I can transfer any amount of chemical from the front, into the back tank, so I always maintain front axle weight - and traction - while spraying progresses."

However, Mr Clay admits to being over-zealous with the transfer on one occasion, which saw the front end of the tractor becoming extremely light.

Since then, he prefers to move lower volumes to maintain balance without affecting performance. "It's a pity there's no baffle in the front tank, its width does allow for a lot of movement when its contents are down to half capacity. When full, or almost empty, there is not the same level of slosh at the front." This aside, the new outfit has also brought an increase in boom width from18m to 24m, and with it a touch more in-field versatility.

"I can fold in the outer boom sections to create a 12m spray width, which is very convenient for small paddocks, which just wasn't feasible with our previous 18m boom. We have the option to spray small fields and tight headlands at 12m, if necessary." He says the boom folding system makes it easy to negotiate poles and other in-field obstacles simply by folding in the outer section and then unfolding once the obstacle has been passed.

Tempting as it would have been to look at trailed or self-propelled equipment to give a boost to output, Mr Clay chose to stay with the front/rear tank set- up for its overall size, weight and cost. "We cannot justify a self-propelled sprayer on our acreage, nor could we tolerate the physical size and poorer manoeuvrability of a trailed sprayer," he adds "We have availability among our tractor fleet and while most of our crops are grown in beds, we chose this system to keep wheelings to a minimum."

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