The Dynamic Duo seen out spreading in east Devon
On the basis of some excellent results achieved since the purchase of their mounted ZA-TS in 2015, Stuart Partners Ltd of Clyst St. Mary, Exeter made the decision to go large for the 2017 spreading season by taking delivery of a 8,200 litre trailed ZG-TS supplied by local Amazone dealer Mason Kings. The new beast was brought in to replace their 24m pneumatic boom spreader. Servicing more than a dozen or so clients within a radius of about 15 miles from their base at Hill Barton Business Park, the brace of spreaders are making multiple passes over around 3,000 acres per year of both grass and arable ground which is either owned, contract-farmed or for customers utilising their services as agricultural contractors. The original ‘little’ 4,200 litre mounted machine, which is driven by Edward Eaves, does about 30 - 40% or so of the more than 10,000 total acres spread each year. Stuart Partners are, of course, not just spreading fertiliser but also drilling maize, growing and harvesting cereals, spraying, straw baling, liquid and solid fertiliser distribution, etc., etc., as well as running a full-blown forage contracting service.
Troy Stuart goes on to explain the rationale behind the purchase of such a spreader, ‘We have been impressed with the performance of the ZA-TS over the past couple of years. The headland spread from the AutoTS system has seen us maximise yields around the field boundaries and the automatic shut-off has left us with an even colour of crop over the whole field without those tell-tale signs of under- or over-spread on the ins and outs from the headland’. Although both spreaders are equipped with DynamicSpread that in theory can isolate up to 128 individual ‘boom’ sections via GPS-activated SectionControl, the ZG-TS is hooked up to a Fendt 724 which, with its ISOBUS Vario terminal, can be set to control a maximum of 32 sections.
It was the acquisition of a 30 metre sprayer that focused the need to change the 24m boom spreader and the attraction for the ZG-TS was the additional workload possible from the 8,200 litre hopper which is extremely useful when it comes to travelling to those bigger distances away from home. And it is that self-sufficiency that ZG-TS operator Keith Pinsent needs, ‘For much of the area covered we are also providing the fertiliser as well as part of the spreading service and so this is all carried with us out from home; if needs be we can back the spreader up with a forklift and trailers, but for the majority of the time we are operating as a one-man band and so to take thirteen 600kg bags of quality UK N with us is ideal, or alternatively we can carry about 10 bags if we are spreading urea or urea/ammonium sulphate blends’. And it not just the carrying capacity that has impressed Keith so far to date as the ZG-TS, sat on 520/85 R42 wheels and straddling a track width of 2.0m, makes for a smooth ride and offers a feeling of stability when working across some of the slopes found in east Devon, ‘The machine has been extremely simple to set up and use’ Keith goes on to clarify, ‘The weigh-cell system, although not constantly ‘on-line’, has kept the application rate on track and the good ride characteristics mean we can travel up to 20 km/h without any trouble’. These qualities have helped to keep work rates up at about 70 tonnes a day and, on the odd occasion, hitting the 650 acres mark. ‘We are spreading not just a bit of blue bag N, but also urea and numerous other compounds, blends and straights and so we are acutely aware of the need to have the machine set up correctly for the fertiliser in the hopper’ comments Keith.
So because of that heady cocktail of products that Stuart Partners Ltd is faced with spreading in a year, the obvious choice on the shopping list when it came to buying the ZG-TS was to take it with Argus Twin. Troy Stuart takes up the story, ‘We always want to do the best job we can and when we looked at the Amazone trailed spreaders at Agritechnica last time it was the Argus Twin system that seemed to tick all the boxes so this is what we specified on the new TS’. Argus Twin comprises of two lots of 7 radar sensors that shroud each spreading disc taking a bird’s eye view of the fertiliser as it leaves the disc and then comparing the angle of trajectory with a known reading stored in the machines' computer system. If the spread pattern varies away from this stored value then the electrically-operated delivery system automatically changes to bring the spread pattern back to that high level of accuracy. An initial setting for the throwing angle is taken from the free Amazone FertiliserService App on the smartphone and then this is verified by a quick pass over the supplied16 tray test kit to ensure that this is the optimum setting for that product. Once checked then this spread pattern is maintained day in, day out, irrespective of any changes in weather, physical fertiliser properties, or perhaps as important for the rolling Devon countryside, the field topography ‘You can see the delivery system constantly on the move during the day,’ comments again Keith ‘We have seen variations of +/-10 notches on AN and as much as +/- 20 on urea plus, when working on some or our steep banks, maybe 5 or so notches difference between the uphill disc and the downhill side’.
So Argus Twin has bought peace of mind to this business by the knowledge that whenever the ZG-TS is out spreading then it is always doing the best job that it possibly can do so without any input from the operator, now that’s clever!
To find out more about what Argus Twin can do for your business then click here