British manufacturing companies have been dropping like flies during recent years, but that trend doesn’t seem to apply to the sprayer sector.
Anyone who attended the Cereals event earlier this year could have seen as many as 25 sprayer-makers strutting their stuff in the demonstration ring. That’s impressive considering only 250 self-propelled machines are sold in the UK each year.
One of those manufacturers was Househam, which this week launched two new self-propelled machines.
The Lincolnshire firm hopes to wrestle back a chunk of sprayer market share with its latest flagship model – Merlin.
Appearance-wise it is sleeker and tidier than its predecessor, the Air Ride. It is also longer to improve weight distribution, while underbelly clearance is 1.1m.
Nestled between the cab and spray tank is a 170hp Cat engine. Wheel motors distribute power through the four epicyclic gearboxes and the Merlin also gets in-board brakes that work alongside the hydrostatic system, which should make road travel safer.
There have been plenty of changes in the cab. Operators get a 10in touch-screen terminal that can control Fieldmaster GPS guidance, should the buyer specify it.
Optional extras also include Spray Pilot – Househam’s integrated auto-steer system. Telematics, which can be used to view the machine’s location and transfer spray records to the office, can be added to the Merlin, too.
Auto nozzle select is another clever function. Once the operator has entered the nozzle details and the desired rate and pressure the sprayer will switch between as many as four nozzles on the move to adjust application rate.
All the pipes, plumbing and filers are neatly tucked behind a fold-down screen and the induction hopper can be controlled from the cab or via a blister pad outside.
Boom options range from 12m to 40m and tank capacities from 3,000 to 6,000 litres. A 24m, 4,000-litre version will set you back £124,000.
At the other end of the self-propelled sprayer spectrum is Househam’s new Spirit sprayer.
Aimed at medium-sized farms that might currently run trailed machines, the 24m Spirit offers buggy-type lightweight characteristics. That looks ideal for conditions this year, with plenty of heavy sprayers struggling to get on the fields.
It weighs in at just under 6t (dry weight), which Househam says makes it one of the lightest self-propelled sprayers on the market.
A 140hp Cat engine is mounted on the rear of the machine to spread the weight between the front and rear wheels. The 3,000-litre tank should provide a fair amount of soundproofing to keep things whisper quiet in the cab, too.
“We strongly believe there is an ever growing market for this type of entry level, self-propelled sprayer,” says Househam sales director Gordon Cummings. “Farmers are demanding greater flexibility in their spraying operations which trailed and tractor combinations can’t always deliver.”
The company expects to sell more than 20 in the UK during the coming year, with a similar number likely to end up across Europe.
The Spirit carries a more modest-sounding £89,750 price-tag.