To farmers used to running a modest flail spreader behind a 60-70hp tractor, the arrival in their fields of the latest spreader operated by Fullers Contracting is likely to come as something of a shock.
With 280hp of JCB 8250 Fastrac up front and an 18t K-Two Trio spreader bringing up the rear, this is an impressive-looking piece of kit. In a good year, it will handle up to 15,000t of poultry manure, 10,000t of compost and some cattle muck loaded from field stockpiles.
Combination of 280hp 8250 Fastrac and 18t K-Two Trio spreader makes an impressive sight
and being capable of covering 2ha (5 acres) per load, it’s a pretty efficient one too.
“When our previous spreader got to the end of its frontline service life, we decided a jump in capacity was needed to improve productivity and cost-effectiveness,” says Matthew Fuller, who manages the family-owned contracting business.
Over the previous 10 years, a Bunning Lowlander 120 twin vertical beater spreader provided sterling service it has been refurbished and kept for back-up duty. The new spreader will carry 4-5t more chicken litter at 14-15t, so at typical application rates it will cover just short of a hectare more ground with each load.
Matthew Fuller: “We decided a jump in capacity was needed to improve productivity. At the same time,
we looked at ways of improving the service to make sure we do the job as well as we can every time.”
The Trio also has a different spreading mechanism – three horizontal rotors with reversible beaters bolted into fabricated carriers are sandwiches between a guillotine door and rear hood. Shredded material drops to a pair of discs with angle-adjustable vanes.
This is the first time in K-Two’s recent history that it has departed from the vertical beater layout. “Contractors want to spread wider to cover more ground and the only way to do that with light material is to use spreading discs,” says the firm’s Terry Kelloway. “Also, farmers are more demanding about the evenness and accuracy of spreading because muck is being seen much more as a resource than a waste.”
Like all Fullers equipment, the K-Two Trio spreader is finished in the company’s
blue and yellow colour scheme and carries a quick-check reminder of the operator’s responsibilities.
Because spreading width is so dependent on the characteristics of the material being handled, operator Will Haupt has a Teejet Centerline 220 GPS guidance system in the cab to help match bouts.
“I’ll go once round the field to record the area and mark the headlands, then pace out the spreading width and enter that into the GPS system,” he explains. “A straight run then creates the parallel guidance lines for the remaining passes and I can skip bouts if it saves making tight turns.”
Fresh poultry litter typically goes to 12m, wetter material that has been stockpiled outdoors up to 16m GPS
steering guidance helps match bouts once the spreading width on the day has been paced out.
Given light applications of typically 7.4t/ha (3t/acre) and no obvious visual clue as to where the material has already been applied, the GPS system is essential.
“It also helps that we’ve decided to have a dedicated driver on this operation,” says Mr Fuller. “Will is familiar with the equipment and having worked for us previously he knows many of our customers, which they find reassuring.”
Will Haupt is now designated operator for the poultry litter and compost spreading service it helps to
have someone familiar with the equipment and known to customers, says Matthew Fuller.
Will also had a hand in choosing the power unit for the big spreader. It takes a fair bit of pulling, he says, even though the 710/70R42 radial tyres – the same size as on the back of the Fastrac – minimise rolling resistance and the spreader’s impact on the land.
“We looked at several tractors and tried out a 220hp Case IH Magnum, but even that wasn’t enough to be on top of the job,” he says. “It came down to the Fastrac or a Fendt 900 Vario. And because our fitters know the Fastrac, it was decided the JCB tractor provided the best package.”
Having perfected the vane angle on the discs, fresh, dry litter can be flung 12m and wetter material that has been stockpiled outdoors will spread up to 16m. A GPS tracking device on the Fastrac provides an accurate trace of the vehicle’s movements at the office near Bletchley, Buckinghamshire.
Having developed the spinner-spreading machine mainly for poultry manure and sewage sludge contractors, K-Two’s Terry Kelloway says the firm is getting a number of enquiries for a machine with a similar mechanism for handling yard manure.
“With fertiliser prices shooting up, farmers are looking to spread muck on growing crops and they want to use 24m tramlines,” he explains. “You can’t do that with a regular vertical beater system, so we’re planning a 12t capacity spreader with a similar distribution design as that fitted to the 18t model.”
He says it will likely be priced between £4000 and £5000 more than the 12t vertical beater Duo, which retails at £23,000. The 18t Trio is priced from £34,000.