15 October 1999

Hulk spreads quality bulk

As an incredible 14t hulk,

Dowdeswell claims its latest

Multispread muck spreader

is the largest side discharge

machine to be found on the

market. Andy Moore spoke

to two new users of

the spreader in Wilts

WITH outputs up to 50t/hr, the secret to Dowdeswells latest 14t Multispread machine lies not with sheer size but what is inside the chamber – two delivery augers running at a 2:1 ratio.

The result, says the company, is an improved churning or boiling action of manure and slurry inside the chamber, allowing a more consistent delivery to the expeller rotor.

Attracted by the merits of such a system, Tim and son Toby Bennett who run a mixed farm near Wootton Basset, Wilts, opted for the Multispread in mid July to take over the work of two 8cu m flail machines.

"In addition to saving a man and tractor, the spreader has a greater output than both flail machines put together," says Toby Bennett. "Another advantage is the discharge mechanism – the augers rake manure to the expeller rotor which can spread material up to 20m (66ft)."

Apart from manure, the spreader is also designed to spread slurry – a role necessary for dealing with the farms lagoon contents produced by the 200 dairy herd.

Slurry is loaded into the spreaders 9700-litre chamber using a telehandler with bucket which Mr Bennett says requires some careful judgement and skill.

Slurry level

"With a height of 2.5m (8ft), it is impossible to gauge the slurry level within the spreader chamber. Get it wrong and you could redecorate the outside of the machine or, worse, splatter the road during transport," he comments.

Out in the field, however, accuracy is a different affair – spreading application rates are altered using a hydraulically adjustable sliding door.

"For spreading solid manure, the door is usually opened up to three quarters – or for slurry closed down to allow just a small gap," adds Mr Bennett. "To maintain consistent application rates as the spreader empties, the door must be progressively opened."

Application rates, which are about 49t/ha (20t/acre) on cereal stubbles and 25t/ha (10t/acre) for grassland, are also altered by varying the forward speed of the tractor. Typical forward speeds are 4mph to 6mph with the tractor engine set at 1900 rpm in 540 rpm pto mode.

The main powerhouse is a 135hp New Holland 8360 – a machine Mr Bennett claims has no difficulty powering the spreader – with a full load spread in about seven minutes.

The real challenge, he says, is lugging power – while a 90hp tractor coped with the pto work, it struggled to haul the spreaders 14t bulk.

Power is transmitted to both augers through a chain and sprocket arrangement with the auger nearest the expeller rotor running at twice the speed of the other. The expeller rotor is powered by an external pto shaft, which via chain and sprocket, runs straight from the main pto shaft.

For driveline safety, the spreader is equipped with a series of shearbolts, which are reported to have been trouble-free with the exception of the one on the main pto shaft.

"Depending on the amount of contamination in the muck, it can shear twice or up to 15 times a day causing a lot of downtime," says Mr Bennett, who suggests that a better idea would have been to fit a slip clutch.

Stone trap

Further protection is provided by a stone trap inside the chamber, which on later models Dowdeswell plans to give a helping hand by fitting spring loaded auger paddles instead of the rigid type.

Looking ahead, the Bennetts intend to contract out the machine on neighbours farms during quieter periods of the year to help justify the spreaders retail cost.

"Offering a contract service a couple of days a month at £16/hr to £17/hr, will help pay off the spreaders four year hire purchase plan," concludes Mr Bennett.

Outputs up to 50t/hr are claimed for Dowdeswells latest 14t Multispread side discharge slurry/muck spreader.

Designed for improved mixing and delivery – the auger nearest the expeller (top) runs at twice the speed of the other.

Father and son team Tim and Toby Bennett opted for the spreader for its high capacity and ability to spread manure and slurry.