Kverneland’s new IsoBUS control box, the IsoMatch Tellus, is due on the market this spring.
Made by Kvereneland’s own electronics arm, Mechatronics, the system has been widely tested on a range of the company’s machinery, including both Vicon and Kverneland spreader ranges.
Kverneland’s spreader factory in Nieuw Vennep, Netherlands, has a dedicated 2400sq m spreader testing hall.
Inside, the floor is heated and humidity is regulated to give constant conditions, explained spreader hall technician Arjan Wierenga. “It’s here that the spreading chart is developed that determines how operators set up their machines on farm.”
It’s very important that before any spreader is tested, the fertiliser to be used is evaluated. “It’s not the spreader capacity that limits spreading width, it can be the fertiliser material itself,” explained Mr Wierenga.
All new software and machine parts are also tested here, including the IsoMatch Tellus. Flow patterns and spreading characteristics are all evaluated using a frame fitted with four weigh cells.
A Tellus control box fitted with an SD memory card sends data to a computer program designed to process the information.
Once the flow pattern has been established, the spreader is hooked up to a tractor and put through a series of spreading scenarios, such as working on a slope.
“This is particularly important for spreaders fitted with weighing units as, although they are calibrated in the factory, it is important to test if being on a slope affects the hopper weight and therefore the applied rate.”
In the middle of the hall, there’s a channel that contains a series of 50cm x 50cm metal containers, each with its own electronic weigh scale. A bridge halfway across the channel allows the tractor and spreader to cross over the channel, so spreading distribution can be accurately plotted across the whole spreading width.
“Before the spreader travels over the recording apparatus, we enter the fertiliser characteristics and, by plotting the results after spreading, we can see if the settings on the fertiliser spreader itself need adjusting in order to spread each compound accurately.”
In simple terms, most spreaders use a bat-and-ball system to spread fertiliser, metering the fertiliser vertically straight on to the spreading disc where two vanes then discharge the material.
“This can lead to damage of the material as fertiliser is released and then collides with the vanes on the discs, and it can create an arc-shaped spreading pattern,” said Graham Owen, Kverneland’s spreader product manager.
The Kverneland/Vicon system releases fertiliser into a dosing cup above the disc itself, allowing granules to accelerate up to the speed the disc is travelling before they reach the vanes, preventing dusting or fragmenting.
Time well spent
For those with a stray bag of fertiliser at the back of the barn, there’s a simple way of working out what it is.
Kverneland reckons that, even if you know what the compound should be, it’s worth spending a few minutes carrying out these steps.
All you need to do is determine the fertiliser type (granular, mineral or prill etc), establish the granule size by using a small box available from your local Kverneland or Vicon dealer, measure the litre weight (a litre of normal fertiliser weighs roughly 1kg) and then you can establish the relevant field settings.
Check your spreader settings online
For exact advice for a specific spreader, most manufacturers have websites with the latest spreading charts to hand, meaning you can enter all the information gathered in the steps above, enter them and get the most accurate field settings.
You can now access some of websites on your phone, too.
Teagle/Tulip: On request from Teagle (www.teagle.co.uk)