When the goings rough new sprayer gets tough
By Andrew Faulkner
• Engine: 150hp Perkins turbo.
• Transmission: Mechanical gearbox gives 36F/12R speeds. Pre-selection of range and direction of travel.
• Tank: 2500-litre stainless steel tank and 500-litre wash tank. Platform is capable of carrying 4000-litre conventional sprayer.
• Boom: 24m (80ft).
• Tyres: 54.31x26s flotation tyres.
• Ground clearance: 500mm (20in).
• Price: £84,000.
CO-OPERATION between two British-owned firms, Sands Agricultural Machinery (SAM) and JCB Landpower, has resulted in a self-propelled sprayer specifically designed to apply heavy suspension fertilisers at high speed over rough ground.
The Sands Forward Control Fastrac is just what it sounds – a hybrid. In basic terms, it comprises a Sands cab and spraying gear mounted over a "relatively standard" 150hp JCB Fastrac 155 skid unit.
Inspiration for the project came from Sands sister company, Sands Agricultural Services (SAS). As well as conventional spray contracting SAS is an agent for Omex suspension fertilisers, hence its need for a specialist suspension fertiliser spreading machine.
SASs Graham Belson explains: "For seven years we operated a conventional high clearance Sands sprayer, modified for suspension fertiliser work. It did a good enough job but it was not ideal.
"Bouncing over ploughed fields applying fertiliser on potato ground is not kind to either high clearance bodies or hydrostatic drives. That is why we decided to go for a machine with a lower centre of gravity, suspended chassis and mechanical drive." The new Forward Control Fastrac meets all these demands, he adds.
The unit is made at Sands Norfolk factory. Here, the firm extends JCBs skid unit forwards, adds its own orange/white cab to the now stretched chassis and mounts a subframe in the area vacated by the Fastrac cab.
The spray equipment fitted to the first example (main picture) is specialist suspension fertiliser kit comprising stainless steel tank, a 3in centrifugal pump and flood jets capable of applying more than 3000kg/ha. But Sands reckons there is a bigger market for the fully suspended machine, which is capable of carrying 6t and has a top speed of 34mph.
Other potential uses include conventional spraying where high ground clearance is not a main priority, limespreading or even muckspreading. *
Right: Inside the cab, it is part JCB/part Sands. Central dash, pedals and main gear lever are JCB, most of the rest is Sands.
This first Sands Forward Control Fastrac is fitted with a 2500-litre sprayer equipped for suspension fertiliser work. Typical working travel speed is 9.3mph. Price is £84,000.