As herds get bigger and slurry has to be hauled further, farmers are having to look more closely at their choice of tanker and the tyres it is shod with.
WG and TA Manford’s family-run farm business at Hinxden Farm, Benenden, Kent, is a good example. With the dairy herd expanding from 150 to 250 milkers, the farm knew urgent action was needed to deal with the rapidly-growing quantities of slurry and yard washings being generated by the cows.
The need for action was heightened further by the fact that the 2.2m-litre total capacity lagoons used for the two herds were also having to accommodate all of the daily washings from a dairy products processing and packing enterprise run by the family alongside its milk production operation.
“We needed to find a tanker capable of shifting and spreading quickly and effectively large quantities of slurry, hauled over fairly long distances along farm tracks and the narrow lanes that surround our two units,” says Graham Westacott, a partner in the business along with his half brother and sister, Richard and Sally Manford.
“It had to be well-balanced and remain stable on sloping terrain,” he says. “We also wanted a machine capable of spreading slurry at any time of the year without causing damaging ruts and soil compaction.”
In the end the family opted for a PrimeX tanker from RE Leach (Engineers) in Preston. This 12,500-litre model gave an increase in capacity of more than 50% over their existing machine while remaining within the maximum road legal towing weight of 24,390kg for a tractor and trailer.
Having settled on the specification of the slurry tanker, attention turned to tyres. Trelleborg 850/50R30.5 tubeless Twin Radial tyres were fitted, giving the capacity to handle the maximum potential loading and road speed of the tanker while minimising the risk of soil compaction and marking. Tyre pressures are set at 1.8-2 bar.
Although considerably bigger than the farm’s previous machine, the newcomer is hauled comfortably by a 140hp tractor, just 30hp more than its predecessor. The result has been a 50% boost in workrates and a significant increase in the number of available workdays.