17 April 1997

18 years service but still life yet in spray-mate unit…

OVER the past 18 years, sprayer operator Nigel Harris reckons to have covered about 55,000ha (136,000 acres) using one self-propelled sprayer – a 24m (79ft) Chafer Tramliner based on a Ford 7600 skid unit.

Based at the 1214ha (3000-acre) Sternberg Farms, Tenterden, Kent, Mr Harris operates one of two self-propelled sprayers used to cover the farms 1000ha (2500 acres) of arable crops. The second machine is a 24m Cleanacres Atlas.

Two components

With the front axle removed from the 1978-made Ford 7600 and rear hydraulic pivot steering fitted, the tractor was mated to a 2500-litre (550gal) Chafer Tramliner sprayer, and Mr Harris reckons the two components have since become inseparable.

"Output is about 300acres a day with support for both sprayers via two 10,000-litre bowsers and a smaller 7500-litre bowser. Refilling times are kept short so spraying time is maximised," he says.

"We use chemical in returnable 25-litre kegs, so overhead racks have been fitted to the sprayer to allow me to carry enough pesticide for a full days spraying."

Different wheels

Three sets of wheels are used with the sprayer – row crops for flag leaf treatments, standard tyres for spring work and terra tires for autumn and winter applications.

Over the years of use, much of the sprayer has been updated to meet changing legislation, the latest improvements include a stainless steel spray bar, chemical induction hopper and an RDS Ratemaster to replace the original Chafer spray monitor.

Despite aspirations for a newer and perhaps more comfortable machine, Mr Harris is still fond of his spraying outfit.

"It has been a good machine and there is still a few acres left in it yet," he says.

Eighteen years use and still in service – Sternberg Farms 24m self-propelled sprayer.Inset: Sprayer operator Nigel Harris.