Q: What's new in handheld, knapsack and trolley sprayers?
A: Listening to what users need has been the key motivation in the design of a new range of self-propelled sprayers from Martin Lishman. After showing a prototype at IoG Saltex two years ago, the company made refinements and provided extra features before launching the Micro-Spray range at the show in 2010.
"We are not new to pedestrian sprayers," says director Gavin Lishman. "Our Spot-on sprayer was a super little machine, but the Micro-Spray moves the concept on significantly - yet is still priced at a level that users can justify."
Sprayers need to be of a size appropriate to the job, so Martin Lishman has put a 50-litre tank on the Micro-Spray 50 and ensured that it will fit through most tennis court and bowling-green gateways.
The 70-litre version is designed to suit landscapers and estate maintenance work, while the largest model in the range features a 120-litre tank to appeal to golf courses and sports field contractors. All versions have large pneumatic tyres for a wider footprint.
Powered by two 12V batteries, the Micro-Spray heavy-duty controlled drive unit makes it suitable for all terrains. Operators can walk behind or in front at their own speed and adjust the pump pressure to suit. Speed is maintained irrespective of terrain or tank weight and the motor brakes automatically if the power is cut or the trigger switch in the control handle is released.
The Micro-Spray comes as standard with a 2m independent-section boom, complete with break-backs and individual nozzle shut-offs. A shrouded boom option is planned. Prices start at £1,925 + VAT.
Superseding the Compact 700, the upgraded Frontline Compact has been introduced by Nomix to deliver efficient, compliant, cost-effective and accurate herbicide application at a time when environmental and legislative pressures are increasing. This latest model boasts advanced electronics and rechargeable batteries to provide up to 35 hours of spraying time per charge. A wall hook has also been added for convenient storage.
Nomix Enviro business development manager Rachel Robbins says: "The improvements we've made will make weed control so much easier and more efficient for all users. Time is of the essence for weed control professionals. The Frontline Compact is ready to use in minutes. The operator simply clicks in the ready-to-use 750ml cartridge, calibrates and starts spraying - there's no need for mixing or measuring."
Last year, Team Sprayers of Ely in Cambridgeshire developed the Team Vixen self-propelled sprayer to appeal to greenkeepers and groundsmen looking for an easy, low ground pressure application without noise or emissions.
It will spray in forward or reverse and offers zero-turn manoeuvrability. The polythene tank holds 120 litres and a 3m boom, with six nozzles and spring-loaded break-back protection, comes as standard. Power comes from 24V quick-charge batteries. Optional extras include foam bout marker, 1m Driftmaster covered boom, hand lance and hose kit or retractable hose reel and lance.
The well-known Cooper Pegler handheld and knapsack sprayers have joined Spaldings' ground maintenance portfolio to provide professionals a choice of applicators, along with spares and accessories. Lely has been appointed distributor for German-made Solo knapsack sprayers with capacities of 12, 15 and 20 litres. Prices start at £60.23 + VAT. The range-topping 485 knapsack costs £105.53 + VAT.
Q: What is new for growers needing to apply chemicals to crops?
A: Sprayer-accessory manufacturer Hypro EU has introduced the GuardianAIR Twin air-inclusion nozzle. This new crop-spraying design produces two low-drift spray jets, inclined forward and backward by 30 degs, from a single compact bayonet cap.
The development reflects one of the most popular ways of using existing GuardianAIR nozzles - fitting them alternately facing forwards and backwards. Arranging the 30 degs-inclined nozzles this way results in thorough front and back coverage of targets. With the new GuardianAIR Twin the effect is enhanced because each nozzle produces forward and backward-inclined jets that give more comprehensive spray placement.
"Growers not only get the convenience of the all-in-one design, with a new smooth-turning bayonet fitting action, but independent tests show it produces the smallest average droplet size of any air-inclusion nozzle," says Hypro EU product manager Roger James. "That makes it a very versatile jet for a range of applications, especially those where better coverage is an advantage."
The new nozzle has a single air-mixing chamber, but two outlets no smaller than those of a single nozzle of the same size. Each outlet produces a consistent 110 degs pattern across a range of operating pressures. The output consistency allows growers to adjust pressure and, therefore, the coarseness of the spray to vary the emphasis between coverage and droplet retention and drift control.
"As with the single GuardianAIR, operators can spray at normal pressures when conditions are good and get a very small droplet size for this type of nozzle," says James. "But when conditions are less than perfect, they can reduce the pressure to increase droplet size and get more drift control."
For large-scale applications, Knight Farm Machinery has launched the SP2050 self-propelled sprayer with a 5,000-litre tank and booms up to 40m. The SP2050 features a new design and includes advanced features to provide high standards of application accuracy, durability and operator comfort.
The chassis design, with active self-levelling air suspension, means the SP2050 tackles uneven ground and gives smooth road speeds. A 200hp Perkins engine drives through a Proclain Smartdrive system with electronic throttle control and transmission for four heavy-duty Proclain Dynaplus wheel motors. The wheel motors have dynamic braking activated by a foot pedal.
The cab of the SP2050 is mounted on an independent linkage with air suspension to give a comfortable ride. The fuel tank is positioned between the cab and the engine to reduce noise levels in the cab.
Q: What is new for use on golf courses and other large turf areas?
A: Toro's MultiPro 5800-D is an advanced dedicated sprayer designed for precision. It features a speedy-response Pro Control XP console that aims to give the correct spray pattern from start to stop, pass after pass.
The sprayer also features a six-diaphragm pump - an industry first - with twice the flow to satisfy high spray rates. The tank holds 1,136 litres and boasts aggressive agitation for mixing product.
Toro has also simplified the chemical loading process. The Cleanload Eductor is designed for safe loading of the tank without needing to first mix a slurry. An automated fresh water rinse system triple rinses the tank for rapid clean-up.
The MultiPro 5800-D has a standard boom but can be enhanced with easy-to-attach extras such as a lightweight Drift Reduction Boom Shroud to minimise chemical drift, or the Ultra Sonic Boom Levelling System to automatically adjust the boom to the correct spraying height on undulating turf surfaces. Power for the new model comes from a 35.5hp Kubota diesel engine.
Turf managers needing to make chemical applications can make use of a new service from Headland Amenity. Called Weathercheck, this weather forecasting tool pinpoints a location, such as a golf course or race course, and provides bespoke information on temperature, wind speed, wind direction and predicted rainfall.
The RainNow option produces a 25km radius "rain radar map" to give projected rainfall for the next 90 minutes. Spraying conditions over a seven-day period use an Agronomic Meteogram, which combines anticipated rainfall, wind strength, precipitation, air temperature and evapotranspiration. Weathercheck goes live this spring.
Headland Amenity technical director Mark Hunt says Weathercheck is the result of a long-standing partnership with Meteoblue, a meteorology company based in Switzerland. "We've been providing general forecasts to our customers for the past five years, but as our partnership with Meteoblue developed we began work on a specific package tailored to the turf industry and incorporating up-to-date technology tailored to a specific location," he adds.
Q: Is there anything new to help rinse chemical containers?
A: Hypro EU has introduced ProClean Plus in response to calls from growers for a nozzle capable of shifting the thick, sticky deposits left on the base of containers by some crop chemical formulations.
The new device complements the ProClean rotating-head nozzle introduced two years but is static and produces a single "blade"-shaped jet of water. Placing a container over the nozzle at an angle and then tilting it slowly from side to side enables the jet to strip away residues in seconds.
"The two nozzles perform complementary roles. We recommend giving containers with hard-to-shift residues an initial rinse with ProClean Plus," says Hypro EU product manager Roger James. "A second rinse with the ProClean is advisable because it is especially effective at cleaning in corners, around moulded handles and the neck area of containers."
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