Most farmers have an ATV about the place, but they’re surprisingly minimalist in what they put either behind it or on top of it. On stock farms there’s probably a well-used trailer for carting fence posts or wire netting and maybe a saddle-mounted sprayer.

 

On arable farms, the ATV may sport a slug pelleter at certain times of the year but otherwise will probably be mainly used as a zippy people-carrier. In most cases, though, the machine is probably carrying just the rider plus sundry items lashed precariously to the front and rear racks.



Yet when you look at the vast range of equipment is available from the various manufacturers, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that more could be made of the equipment that is available.

The list of kit is striking: flails, muckspreaders, drills, fert spreaders, sprayers, bale haulers, weed wipers, muckspreaders, snow ploughs, gritters, mowers, brushes, feeders and shredders

There is a size issue here, of course. If you have 3,000 arable acres in Cambridgeshire or 400 milkers in Somerset, you’ll obviously find this kit just too small to be useful.

But if you’re one of the not-insubstantial numbers of smaller farmers, smallholders, market gardeners and horse paddock owners, a lot of this kit could be right up your street.

The question remains, though. Is this equipment capable of shouldering regular hard work in the same way that you would expect from a tractor or telehandler? Or is it really only suited to occasional use?

To get an idea we borrowed 14 machines from Logic Manufacturing, which is probably the best-known maker in the UK and another seven from Northern Ireland firm Quad-X, which has been making such equipment for 17 years.

We spent a pleasant couple of days unpacking the crates, finding all the bits and then trying them out. Here are our conclusions in a snappy, no-nonsense form.


SINGLE BALE TRANSPORTERS

Logic LBT tipping bale trailer (£1,370)

atv-spec bale trailer

What is it?

This self-loading tipping trailer for round bales up to 600kg allows operators to back up to a bale, attach it with a ratchet strap and wind the bale into place on the trailer before heading out to the field. Like the Quad-X, the system uses a simple strap and winch system to raise and lower it.

What did we like?

The frame was strongly made and fully galvanised, complete with a guide to ensure the strap didn’t go awry when loading the bale. The tipping mechanism was sturdy and easily handled the bale.

What could be improved?

Nothing really, It does what it says on the tin.

Quad-X bale transporter (£1,099)

atv-spec bale

What is it?

Like the Logic, this can pick up, cart and put down a single round bale up to 600kg weight. It can helpfully also be towed behind a pick-up or car.

The process is pretty simple once you’ve mastered it. To pick up, you use a ratchet strap to attach the bale to the frame, then wind a handle to bring it into the transport position. To set down, you do the reverse.

What did we like?

This is a genuine one-man job and means you can take a bale out to a ring feeder without a tractor. The technique didn’t take long to learn, either.

What could be improved?

The centre strut over which the hoisting strap runs had an annoying habit of trying to push the strap to one side or the other. Otherwise the system worked well.


FLAILS

Logic MFP flail mower (£4,035)

What is it?

Intended for mowing verges, tree plantations and rides, the MFP flail mower can be used in one of three positions – one directly behind the quad and two offset. It’s also possible to fit rear-mounted wheels to get nearer fences and borders, as well as choose different engine sizes and wheel options. The version we tested was powered by a 16hp Briggs and Stratton engine.

What did we like?

Unlike the Quad-X, the MFP was fitted with a rear roller to maintain cutting height and also had guards to prevent damage, making it a robust machine. It was also fitted with rigid tyres (rather than flotations) which were tough enough for the brush we were cutting and should cope with nasties like blackthorn.

What could be improved?

We would opt for the rear-mounted wheels. However, it wasn’t possible to have it completely offset meaning you sometimes had to drive over uncut grass/scrub.

Quad-X power shredder (£3,799)

atv-spec quadx-powerspread

What is it?

A 1.5m (5ft) flail powered by a meaty 22hp Briggs and Stratton petrol engine. Electric start was a nice surprise and a simple wind-down system sets cut height. The tow hitch has four positions: straight ahead, small offset, then a bigger offset to the left and to the right. The outer holes worked best, but restricted turning in one direction means you’re best to mow in lands.

What did we like?

It did a very good job, has plenty of engine power and is ideal for areas where trees would prevent a tractor-mounted flail being used. The cut was even and neat, even through dips and hollows. Setting cut height and getting the mechanism going was easy.

What could be improved?

The wind-down cut height needs some markings so that you can return to a chosen height. Chunky outboard wheels avoid making ruts but restrict the machine’s ability to cut close up to fences and walls. A rear roller or jockey wheel option might be useful for some users.


FERT SPREADERS

Quad-X 7-bag Sower (£1,099)

What is it?

A simple ground-driven 350kg fertiliser spreader that, as the name suggests, holds the equivalent of seven 50kg bags of fertiliser. Extensions can be added to take that to 500kg or 600kg and max spread width is 16m.

What did we like?

Low hopper height makes it easy to fill. The two-lever system (one to engage the spinner, the other to let the fertiliser through) is a doddle to use. The plastic-coated steel hopper looks tougher than the plastic versions sometimes seen.

What could be improved?

Nothing really. It’s a gloriously simple bit of kit that should do the job fine.

Logic LDS380 fertiliser spreader (£2,195)

atv-spec logic-fert-spinner

What is it?

380 litres of fertiliser can be loaded into the plastic hopper and it’s fitted with ground wheel drive. Spread widths go up to 15m and the frame is fully galvanised.

What did we like?

It was easy to engage the disc drive and open the shutter quickly from the seat. The see-through hopper also meant you can see the fertiliser level clearly.

What could be improved?

If you’re planning on using it a lot, get the electrically-operated version.

WEED WIPERS

Logic Contact 2000 CTF150 (£2,150)

atv-spec logic-contact-2000

What is it?

The basic principle is the same as the Quad-X, with the Contact 2000 using the difference in height between weeds and grass to apply cheaper systematic herbicides like glyphosate rather than expensive selective products. Overall application rates are also greatly reduced compared to blanket spraying.

The 1.5m wide machine is fitted with 15 jets located above a large-diameter brush. For larger areas it’s possible to get ganged options, with 5m and 7.5m widths possible.

What did we like?

The brush system seemed to drip less than the roller setup. Although it lacks the clever Quad-X beam system, there is still a dial to adjust dosage, which involves the operator estimating the weed coverage of the field (ie 30%, 50% and so on). This denotes how much spray is released on to the roller so it isn’t overloaded.

What could be improved?

The height adjustment was very stiff and could have benefited from a handle you turn rather than the pin system.

Quad-X Wipeout (£1,889)

atv-spec quadx-wipeout

What is it?

A 2.4m (8ft) wide weed wiper with a weed detection system that automatically switches on the nozzles when a beam at the front of the machine is broken. Two chemical-impregnated contra-rotating rollers, covered in a carpet-like material, first lift up tall weeds to apply chemical to their undersides then separate out clumps of weeds.

Height is adjustable in seven positions from 140mm to 380mm.

What did we like?

This was a well-made and surprisingly sophisticated bit of kit and the detection system worked as claimed. It was too early in the year (and the weeds were too small) to actually apply chemical but there’s no reason to think it wouldn’t work. Set-up was easier than we expected too.

What could be improved?

There was a lot of dripping from the rollers but that was probably because we were experimenting with it and over-activating the nozzles

OTHER PRODUCTS

Logic MSP120 Pro-Sweep sweeper collector (£3,495)

atv-spec logic-prosweep

What is it?

Although mostly intended for picking up horse manure, the 5.5hp Honda-powered Pro-Sweep can collect litter, leaves and grass cuttings. We used it for picking up plastic shotgun cartridge wads, empty cartridges and broken clays on grassland, as well as hoovering up sheep droppings.

What did we like?

Easy to start and to adjust. A handy winch system also allows you to back into where you’re tipping the material. It picked up a large percentage of the debris we travelled over, including heavy clay pieces and tangled plastic cartridge wads and also did a good job of de-thatching pasture.

What could be improved?

The sweeper bar was fixed, so it didn’t follow undulating ground particularly well.

Logic LSH harrow (£1,495)

atv-spec logic

What is it?

A 2m grass harrow with 34 tines and a manual lever to raise and lower the harrow into and out of work. It’s cheaper than the firm’s existing version which uses a 12v electric actuator to do the job.

What did we like?

The long metal handle used to lift the implement is easily reachable from the ATV seat and the wheels are mounted in-board, so you can get right up to the fenceline.

What could be improved?

The handle could have been a bit longer for the more vertically challenged. On wetter, more challenging ground a more powerful 4wd quad would probably be needed.

Quad-x 230L towed sprayer (£1195)

atv-spec quadx230

What is it?

A step up in size and versatility from the familiar saddle tank sprayer, the 230L towed sprayer (see picture overleaf) gives you the option of spot spraying with a 5m (16ft) handheld lance or treating bigger areas using two rear-facing nozzles that give a 9m (30ft) wide coverage. A 5.5hp Briggs and Stratton petrol engine provides the power and the tank holds – guess what – 230 litres.

What did we like?

A versatile machine, with a neat diverter valve that changes over from handlance to rear nozzles. It would certainly help deal with big areas of thistles, docks or nettles. The rear nozzles move up and down on a sliding plate, which is neat.

What could be improved?

The pump was noisy and though the handlance fits neatly into its holder, the associated pipe needs a better parking place to prevent it unfurling on the move. Because the model tested wasn’t fitted with a solenoid switch, it required the operator to get off the bike and turn the pump on manually. This meant that spray immediately came out in a concentrated patch on the crop.

Logic S215 power brush (£2,755 + chassis)

atv-spec logic powerfeed

What is it?

Powered by a 5.5hp Honda engine, this 1.35m wide power brush fits on to Logic’s System 20 chassis.

What did we like?

Having turned out the last of the ewes and lambs, the power brush turned out to be the ideal tool for tidying up the yard after mucking out the sheds. It’s also good for footpaths, cleaning roads after muckspreading/maize hauling etc and performed well in the wet.

What could be improved?

The manual lift version was OK but if you’re planning to use it a lot, get the electric lift option…

Quad-X Muck Junior (£1,995)

atv-spec quadx-muckjunior

What is it?

Essentially, it’s a mini side spreader which holds 0.65cu m of muck, equivalent to about five barrow-loads.

What did we like?

The 10.5hp Briggs and Stratton engine was easy to start and had ample power. Very little muck was left after the chains had done their stuff and the spread was surprisingly even. We liked the adjustable guard for filling, too.

What could be improved?

It’s quite a stretch to reach back to move the lever that engages and disengages the muckspreader mechanism, especially since you need to keep the thumb on your other hand on the ATV throttle. We would have liked the lever mounted further forwards.

The relatively short distance between the spreader and the ATV also means that it’s best to always turn right at the end of the bout to prevent muck being thrown at the driver.

Logic LMF multi-feeder (£1,560)

atv-spec logic-multifeeder

What is it?

Filling bags of sheep food and carting them into the field is a tedious job. But hopper-type feeders make things a lot easier, especially if you have an auger that you can back straight under. Logic has always offered an electric dispenser system, and now uses a windscreen wiper motor which powers up every two seconds to open the shutter.

What did we like?

This is a good system because the snacker distributes feed in piles rather than in a line. So there’s less wastage, smaller groups of ewes can gather round each pile and even timid animals get to feed.

What could be improved?

Nothing. The system works fine.

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