Sprayers - new kit for amenity and production applications

Sally Drury looks at the latest developments in units for the amenity sector and for commercial growers.

Varidome: Micron Group Tank System compatible with its shielded Enviro equipment - image: Micron Group
Varidome: Micron Group Tank System compatible with its shielded Enviro equipment - image: Micron Group

Amenity

Both use chemicals to control weeds, pests and disease. Both use liquid fertilisers to nourish the plants. Yet when it comes to spraying equipment, the worlds of the groundsman or greenkeeper and that of the commercial grower could not be more different.

In the amenity sector, sprayers tend to be smaller. They may be backpack, wheeled or tractor-mounted. But increasingly we are seeing more use made of utility vehicles (UTVs) for spraying operations and the bigger capacity of modern UTVs has led to the development of a 350-litre Demount Sprayer from Martin Lishman.

"UTV truck capacities are increasing and this machine is designed to get the most out of the carrying weight," explains Martin Lishman managing director Gavin Lishman. "Following customer requests for a mid-range sprayer, we have designed a new tank that maximises capacity and gives improved all-round visibility."

The Demount Sprayer is suitable for a wide range of applications including council/local authority duties, sports pitches, golf courses and small paddocks. It has been designed to fit most makes and models of UTV and is powered via the vehicle's 12V power supply. The sprayer includes a three-section balanced valve block with pressure regulation, isolator for each section and an agitation system that can be run during filling to ensure that the solution sprayed is consistent.

A 4m three-section folding boom with PVC spray lines and individual shut-off nozzles is included as standard, with a 6m version available as an option. Each boom section can be turned on or off individually and a wide range of nozzles can be used - air-inclusion types reduce drift.

The pump on the Lishman Demount Sprayer can be controlled from the cab of the UTV by using the supplied remote switchbox. A 35-litre circuit rinse tank and 15-litre hygiene tank are also included with the unit as standard.

The sprayer is said to be easy to secure to the vehicle and it can be specified with optional support legs so that the tank can be lifted straight off the back of the vehicle and then easily replaced to recommence spraying when required. Other optional extras extend to a hand lance with a 6m hose or 10m self-retracting hose, bout marker and full-electric spray controls.

Martin Lishman additionally supplies 70-litre sprayers for use on all-terrain vehicles, tractor-mounted sprayers with tanks from 70 litres to 600 litres, trailed units of 125 litres to 250 litres and self-propelled pedestrian sprayers with capacities from 50 litres to 120 litres.

Multiple applications

Kuhn Amenity Pro offers the Pro ELIS demount sprayer, also allowing greater use of a UTV and providing a solution to tackling weed control, liquid-fertiliser application and watering with the same sprayer. The self-powered sprayer can be fitted with a petrol engine or electric motor and it is offered with capacities from 200 litres to 400 litres. Mounting into the cargo bed, without the need for modification, the sprayer can be operated with the tailgate closed on most models.

The Kuhn portfolio also includes sprayers from knapsack units to 1,000-litre models sold via a nationwide dealer network to cover applications from nurseries to golf courses. Common features include stainless-steel pipes on booms, tanks designed to incorporate the perfect low point and hydraulic agitation to homogenise the solutions as soon as the pump is running. Booms of up to 12m, manual or electric controls, flow-rate control via sensors or GPS, reels and lances can all be specified on build-to-order models.

For external dosing, Kuhn supplies ControlMix to allow the use of only the required dose of chemical without prior mixing, eliminate unwanted solution and save up to 40 per cent in chemical cost. Territory sales manager Jean-Sebastien Vecten says: "The use of an external dosing system, ControlMix, instead of the traditional inductor keeps the tank chemical-free and thus gives the possibility of using the sprayer as a water bowser."

Production

For growers, the trend continues towards greater accuracy of product placement, especially in row crops, and a move to increase sophistication through the use of computer software and GPS technology.

Highlighted in the Sprays & Sprayers demonstration arena at Cereals 2014 - the farm-equipment show that was held earlier this week in Cambridgeshire (11-12 June) - John Deere's new mid-specification M-Series trailed sprayers include the M700 Series, which has been designed to help reduce spraying costs per acre and is suitable for row crops as well as cereals.

The units are available as standard versions with 2,400-, 3,200or 4,000-litre tank capacities, or as "i"-specification machines with 3,200or 4,000-litre tanks. They are equipped with triple-folding 30m booms and match 6m seeders or drills.

The larger M900 Series sprayers share many of the same features as the top-of-the-range R900i Series trailed sprayers from John Deere, including high-capacity filling performance using the "PowrFill" chemical inductor, the same choice of 5,200or 6,200-litre tanks and steel booms from 24m to 40m.

Both the M700i and M900i sprayers are ISOBUS ready, so the machines can communicate with the tractor and enable "intelligent" John Deere solutions such as Tank Fill Calculator to help work out the correct amount of refill volumes required for each application, BoomTrac automatic boom height and tilt control and FieldDoc documentation software. M900i sprayers also offer a new in-cab nozzle control, the TwinSelect system, which allows the operator to switch between different spray nozzles while on the move.

Nozzle options

TwinSelect has been developed and tested in close partnership with the nozzle's manufacturer, Pentair Hypro. It comprises a four-way turret on one side plus a second outlet on the opposite side - each with their own pneumatic valves - providing five nozzle options altogether and producing different spray characteristics or application rates as required, for both pesticides and fertilisers. The operator can save several minutes when switching between nozzles on a 32m boom.

To meet the increasing demand for satellite-guidance systems, AutoTrac automatic tractor steering and GPS boom section control are also available for use with both "i" and non-"i" versions of the M-Series sprayers. A new Implement Display 1100 has been developed to control the sprayer in conjunction with the multifunction lever - on the non-ISOBUS machines, this can be replaced by a GreenStar 1800 display when using a StarFire receiver and automatic boom section control.

Spraying equipment specialist Micron Group presented its latest innovation at LAMMA 2014 in Peterborough in January, and in doing so set the bar higher. The company launched the Generation II Micron Dual Tank and the new-design 100-litre Tank System.

The Micron Dual Tank includes a number of new features to award the system improved stability, ease of use and added protection. The manufacturer has moved all operator controls to the front of the unit to make it more user friendly, relocated induction hoppers to the sides, making the unit 300mm shorter, and repositioned the pumps to the rear to aid stability and reduce residual spray volumes in the hose lines. The Generation II Dual Tank also features road lighting and a protective bar on the front and sides to guard against accidental damage.

Stronger construction

Micron's latest 100-litre Tank System enjoys a stronger construction yet is still lightweight. The 100-litre capacity means users carry sufficient chemical for most applications without causing soil compaction and disturbance associated with some heavier units.

The system also features a 15-litre flush tank and a separate 15-litre hand-wash tank. The unit can be frontor rear-mounted and is fully compatible with the company's shielded Enviro equipment, including Varidome, Undavina, Spraydome and Spraymiser.

At Cereals 2014, Micron unveiled a host of product innovations, including the latest Varidome development for treating narrow bands, shielded Enviro sprayers with ground following properties and further Tank Systems.

The Varidome S3 band sprayer is fitted with a dual spray system and introduces a number of features, such as heavy-duty stainless-steel carriages with larger wheels for undulating terrain and a new controller with greater functionality that includes an intuitive touchscreen user interface.

Also on show was the Varidome 100 HiFlo spray shield with new shield design. Specifically created for operation in closely planted crops, this latest addition to the Varidome Shield range comes fitted with a hydraulic pressure nozzle and it is capable of spraying inter-rows from 100mm to 450mm wide.

The popular Undavina and Spraydome sprayers are now available with a ground following wheel option. This ensures that the shield stays in close contact with the ground, minimising spray drift on uneven terrain. Spraydome and Undavina carriages can be mounted on a Varidome toolbar for band spraying situations where a sideways shield movement is required.

Completing the line-up of new products from Micron, a new 1,200-litre tank is offered with induction hopper, hand wash and rinse tanks, and a hydraulic pump. It is also equipped with easy-access controls, road lights and a watertight locker.

Alternative machines

Producers of greenhouse and orchard crops will find that Kuhn UK offers alternative machines in the form of a range of wheelbarrow sprayers from 50 litres to 2,000 litres available in different configurations and mist blowers starting at 300 litres for three-point linkage coupling up to 3,000-litre trailed units.

The latest Kuhn mist blowers are built on a galvanised chassis, use piston membrane APS pumps and feature different turbine diameters up to 105cm to allow accurate spraying patterns across crops. Manual controls are standard on the smaller models, although there is an option to upgrade to in-cab electric controls, including pressure controls on some models.


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