Chafer returns to self-propelled sprayer market

Chafer has thrown itself back into the self-propelled sprayer mix six years on from its split with Agco, which ended the Lincolnshire firm’s long-running association with the Rogator.

The new, built-from-scratch Interceptor fills a hydrostatic hole in the company’s sprayer line-up and should reduce the reliance on sales of Guardian and Sentry machines in a dwindling trailed sprayer market, which has tumbled from 334 units in 2008 to just 188 last year.

It’s a sector Chafer knows well, having built its first SP 2.5 self-propelled back in the early 1970s.

The SSV of 1984 was the last machine to be made in-house, but the company continued to supply its spray packs to other manufacturers – most recently Challenger – until it’s deal with Agco’s Rogator 600 came to an end in 2011.

However, the company’s return sees it enter a sector that is more competitive than ever, with upwards of 20 manufacturers squabbling over a UK market worth just 400 self-propelleds each year.

See also: 14 self-propelled sprayers compared side-by-side

Chafer Interceptor cab

Starting from scratch

The company has earmarked the Interceptor’s cabin quality as a good chance to get one up on Bateman, Sands and the rest of its British rivals.

Chafer Interceptor on paper

  • Engine 6.1-litre DeutzPower 215hp
  • Transmission Rexroth hydrostatic motors
  • Wheelbase 3.6m
  • Boom widths 24-36m
  • Tank capacity 4,000/5,000-litres
  • Clean water tank 500-litres
  • Fill rate 600-litres/min
  • Top Speed 50kph
  • Unladen weight 9.5t (24m boom)
  • Starting price £157,600 24m on-farm

Its preproduction machine, which has toured the major machinery shows since last year’s Cereals launch, was given the same off-the-shelf Fritzmeier cab as Fendt’s Katana forage harvesters. However, Chafer has since penned a deal with New Holland that will see it fit CNH’s forager cockpits from now on.

The company also had its pick of engine providers and eventually plumped for a 6.1-litre Deutz lump tuned to churn out 215hp.

The six-bore block ticks the boxes for Tier 4 final using selective catalytic reduction and a particulate filter, and Chafer says designing the tractor unit around all the emissions gubbins has helped keep more space for accessing the regular service items.

Power is sent through a Bosch Rexroth hydrostatic transmission, which works like a continuously variable transmission to monitor engine load and tweak the revs to suit.

The constantly altering crankshaft speeds should help get more out of the 210-litre fuel tank (Chafer reckons a 12-hour day is realistic) as well as keeping a lid on the noise in the cab.

There’s a more sophisticated braking system, too. Like most of its rivals, the anchors are predominantly hydrostatic, but jumping hard on the foot pedal also engages a disc brake within each drive gearbox. According to the company, this provides head-bashingly sharp stopping performance.

Standard footwear comes in the shape of Mitas’ 600/65 R35 rubber rated to handle a full load at 50kph. They also provide 1.1m ground clearance and in-field ground pressure is around the 19psi mark, which makes it relatively light treading compared with some of the monster European-built machines.

A Chafer Interceptor is filled

Spray pack

While the designers started on a blank canvas with the tractor unit, its Guardian and Sentry trailed machines provided a ready-to-go sprayer kit to sit on top.

Stainless tanks come in either 4,000-litre or 5,000-litre form with fert-ready steel booms reaching from 24-36m. These are mounted to a mast at the back – rather than a fancy parallelogram linkage – to minimise overall length and extend the spraying range from 0.3m-2.2m.

Auto boom levelling and suspension is part of the standard package along with load-compensating air cushions on the sprayer that help to maintain a consistent ride height no matter how full the tank is.

Chafer has been working hard to develop clever ways of following ground undulations more closely, including its Contour system that automatically lifts the boom tips at the headland to save them clattering into the ground while cornering.

A close-up of the Chafer Interceptor's screen

There’s also individual nozzle control, either via air shut-off or by using Hypro’s Prostop-e system. The latter plugs into the spray controller and does away with a centralised valve bank to provide reaction times of under 0.2secs.

Filling-wise the company has picked a 3in centrifugal pump over a higher maintenance piston-diaphragm set-up. Buyers also have the option of a higher-tech ePlumbing system that uses a screen to control the valves and includes auto fill control to avoid overflowing as well as various preset cleaning cyles available at the push of a button.

What’s next?

The company hopes to have five machines running by the end of this year before ramping up production in 2018.

There are also plans to add a smaller, lighterweight Defender model, which will offer 3,000-litre and 3,500-litre tank options and 24-30m booms.