The only way is Essex for the 75,000th sprayer
It was way back in 1969 when the first Amazone sprayer made its debut onto the market. Designated the S range, those original 400 and 600 litre mounted sprayers started a journey towards the unbelievably comprehensive Amazone sprayer programme that we see today. That range includes UF mounted sprayers from 900 – 2000 litres (plus front tanks for up to a 3,500 litre wraparound combination), UG and UX trailed sprayers from 2,200 litres through to 11,200 litres, including the new UX 01-L in 8,000 and 9,000 litre tank capacities, plus, of course, the flagship self-propelled, the all-new Pantera 4504.
Today, the Amazone family business, and the two owners Christian and Dr. Justus Dreyer, see it as their task to continually increase precision through innovative crop protection technology in order to further protect the environment and to reduce costs. But as the machine was taking shape on the drawing board back then, the design team could not have comprehended the complexity and level of technology that would be found on an Amazone sprayer those 50-odd years later - a case of from little acorns then major oak trees grow.
And it was that unique technology that first drew farmers and contractors, Robert Davidson & Son Ltd, to the Amazone sprayer range when they heard about AmaSelect, the unique electric individual nozzle control system that not only reduces chemical usage by the GPS actuation of 50 cm boom sections in short work, but also automatically enables the operator to have the correct nozzle size always in use as well as being able to select the appropriate nozzle type from the cab.
Robert Davidson & Son Ltd has been farming in Essex since the 1920’s and settled in Peldon in 1946. The farm has grown exponentially since then with the current acreage at around 1350 ha with a mix of cropping that includes continuous winter wheat on the home farm plus, elsewhere, some marrowfat peas and then increasingly crops for energy, with rye on the lighter land and then maize grown for both foraging as well as for the combine. On top of this area, another 800 -1200 ha of maize and rye are foraged for neighbours as well.
At Robert Davidson & Son Ltd, different spray rates are utilised for different operations as well as an increased use of liquid fertiliser so the ability to select the right nozzle from the seat was going to be extremely useful. Having loaned a machine while they waited a year for the AmaSelect system to become a reality, September 2015 saw the new 40m-boomed, Pantera 4502 arrive at Brickhouse Farm, Peldon, Colchester. Now with 5,000 hours on the clock and 7 years later, that original machine has now made way to its improved successor, a brand new Pantera 4504 and, remarkably, the 75,000th sprayer to have rolled off the Amazone sprayer production line and thus a major milestone in Amazone history.
‘We are delighted to take delivery of such an iconic machine’, adds Robert, the third generation and on the farm since the early 1970’s. ‘The out-going model has done sterling service and, although we looked at what else was on the market, its narrow road width, 50kph road speed and improved suspension makes it ideal for our further away contract farms plus the service support from Amazone and local dealer, R.W. Crawford contributed to our continuation with the Amazone brand’.
The decision to replace the old Pantera with a 36 metre option stems from the increasing acreage of maize grown on 75cm rows. James Faulkner, partner and next generation of the Davidson family, goes on to explain the rationale behind the reduction in boom width, ‘AmaSelect has evolved since 2015 and now, with the AmaSelect Row option, we wanted to supply liquid N targeted directly to the plant. The sprayer has the 25cm nozzle spacing option and is able to automatically choose the most appropriate nozzle above the plant and thus make better use of the reduced rate of fertiliser able to be applied
The new ContourControl boom height guidance system keeps the boom on track above crop and automatically recognises the nozzle spacing and thus the nozzle spray pattern selected and the height above crop that is required. The addition of SwingStop horizontal boom movement control, with its built-in acceleration sensors, means that the turn speed of each nozzle along the boom is known and then the latest AmaSelect software automatically selects the best nozzle size, or nozzle combination, to make sure that the sprayer applies the same rate along the full boom width even when driving around curves.
With the farm’s increasing maize acreage, the good underbelly clearance along with the on-the-move, hydraulic track width adjustment again make the Pantera 4504 ideal for spraying those tall row crops at the wider row spacings.
Sprayer production for the Amazone group is now concentrated at the new, purpose built assembly facility at Bramsche. Here, all under the one roof, the complete sprayer programme is put together and wet tested ahead of delivery. This new 20 ha site will ensure that there is room for growth when it comes to sprayer numbers. ‘Hopefully in a few years’ time when we are ready for the next one, we will get the 100,000th machine,’ concludes Robert.