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10 March 2000

New insecticide out with bee


A NOVEL formulation of one of the worlds leading insecticides is set to benefit operators, bees, beneficial insects and the environment, with no downturn in efficacy.

So-called Zeon technology is being used to encase minute droplets of lambda-cyhalothrin, the active ingredient in Zenecas Hallmark. The polymer-coated droplets are so small that over thirty would be needed to match the thickness of a human hair. The polymer coating remains intact until the spray dries, only then releasing the active ingredient, explains Tanya Wright, insecticide specialist for Zeneca.

The result is a step change in operator safety, says product manager, Jenna Lewis. Gone are Hallmark ECs old label warnings of "harmful in contact with skin or if swallowed", "irritating to eyes and skin" and "flammable". Hallmark Zeons only warnings are "harmful if swallowed" and "may cause sensitisation by skin contact". But protective clothing is still required.

With no impact on foraging bees, Hallmark Zeon is the first pyrethroid to be endorsed by the British BeeKeepers Association. But speedy dispersal on leaf surfaces means no loss of aphid knockdown and rainfastness is in one hour.

A water rather than solvent base reduces odour and allows a doubling of the concentration, so packs go twice as far. To minimise over-dosing packs are now white with strong Zeon branding.

Control may also benefit, Zeneca believes. A UV protector has boosted persistence by up to 25% in sunny parts of the US. So far no benefit is claimed for the UK. "We expect it but have not seen it yet," says the companys Peter Clarke. Using a single autumn BYDV spray where two were required before may be possible, he suggests.

Hallmark is more persistant than alternative pyrethroids anyway, he adds, providing up to 70% control of summer aphids in winter wheat seven days after treatment compared with less than 30% and 10% for deltamethrin and cypermethrin.

To coincide with the launch of bee-friendly Hallmark Zeon, Zeneca has sponsored a British BeeKeepers Association teaching pack for primary schools. Supporting key stage 1 and 2 science, English and maths it costs £15 from BBKA (01203 696679).

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29 October 1999

Tracked loader has farm


By Andy Collings

BOBCAT has made some important changes to its skidsteer line-up – a serious update for the 773 and 873 models, and the introduction of a new rubber tracked version.

Changes to the companys 773 include use of a new boom geometry which results in increased reach and height. Two, rather than one central, crowd rams are now also fitted – an arrangement which not only improves bucket tear out force but also allows greater operator visibility.

Operator environment has also been enhanced through the introduction of a new cab which offers improved all-round visibility and better instrumentation. Options for the cab, which will be fitted throughout all Bobcat skidsteers, include a front door and the companys fly-by-wire proportional control system.

In addition to the standard 773, two further models will be introduced next year – the 773 Turbo (53hp) and the 773 Turbo H. The &#42 denotes an ability to provide an extra flow of hydraulic oil to power high consumption hydrostatically driven attachments.

The same improvement package has been given to the larger 873 skidsteer, although a slightly different boom has now been fitted.

While the UK demand for skidsteers for agricultural use remains reasonably static, the introduction of the rubber-tracked 864 model could conceivably attract new interest.

Powered by a 72hp Kubota engine, the hydrostatically driven tracks receive their drive from sprockets positioned above the level of the track rollers – not unlike the format used on large crawlers.

Ground clearance is put at 28cm (11in) and top speed at 11kph.

Available with the option of 32cm or 45cm (13in or 18in) wide tracks, resulting ground pressure loadings are 5.25psi and 3.7psi respectively.

Equipped with the new cab but not as yet a new boom, price of the 864 will be announced at a later date.

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