Dutch sprayer manufacturer Agrifac’s latest Condor self-propelled sprayer features the new J-boom, which is designed to meet the increasing demand for wider, more stable and durable booms.
Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year (FSOOTY) Steve Lake tested one of the latest models with a 42m boom during a visit to Timmermans Agri-Service, one of The Netherlands’ biggest crop care specialists.
Mr Lake normally uses a Bateman RB35 with 24m Contour Boom, fully equipped with GPS, to spray more than 6,500ha (16,000 acres) of crops each year at Burgate Farm, near Hambledon, Surrey.
He said the Condor sprayer was still a slightly unknown quantity in the UK, but after trialling it, he could see why it was popular with the Dutch after testing a 4,000-litre model.
“Dutch forward speeds while spraying tend to be slow compared with the UK, but although it’s a big machine, it’s capable of going around small plots quite effectively.
“However, if we had used two twin cap nozzles containing 110-04 jets, we probably would have been travelling at 9kph for the same effect with arguably better coverage.”
Mr Lake was spraying privet hedge crops with a 42m boom at a rate of 600 litres/ha while travelling at 3.5kph.
“The Dutch seem to be in a mindset of spraying with Airtec nozzles, but if they reduced boom widths to 28m or 32m, they could travel faster and ultimately do more,” he reckoned.
He pointed out, however, that the longer boom was better suited to Dutch fields which were generally less undulating than those he worked on in England.
The Condor is powered by a 200hp Deutz engine, with hydrostatic transmission and a top speed of 50kph.
The UK version of the Condor has an induction hopper, but Dutch models feature a load deck which operators must climb carrying chemicals to load into the main spray tank.
“It’s not a system I’d choose, but clearly one that works for them,” said Mr Lake.
Watch Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year Steve Lake test an Agrifac Condor sprayer during his trip to The Netherlands