Muckspreader and slurry tanker 2017 upgrades round-up

Machinery shows provide farmers and contractors with a great chance to see tankers of all shapes and sizes in the flesh.

In this round-up, we’ll be looking at the near-infrared system fitted to Joskin slurry tankers that allows owners to monitor levels of N, P and K on the move.

Elsewhere, Bauer has seen a rise in the popularity of its fibreglass tankers that are better able to handle the corrosive nature of slurry.

They also reduce total weight to stay within road transport limits.

Joskin NIR sensing

Joskin's sensors attached to a slurry tanker

© Tim Scrivener

Joskin has been working closely with John Deere to make use of the green giant’s NIR sensors on its slurry tankers.

More usually bolted to the spout of Deere’s “i”-badged forage harvesters to provide dry matter sensing and nutrient monitoring, the HarvestLab set-up can now be positioned close to outlet on the Belgian firm’s tankers to measure levels of N, P and K in slurry as it is applied.

Thanks to a clever Mueller controller, this means that with a GPS feed the operator can dial in minimum and maximum rates for each individual nutrient and the system will adjust overall application volumes to achieve that. 

It’s a real-time set-up that monitors 256 different parameters more than 4,000 times/second – something Deere says makes it the most accurate type of system on the market.

But, as with all clever technology, there is a cost and a hefty one at that.

Joskin will bill you £5,000 and then there’s £25,000 to pay JD for all the wizardry, although that bit will be cheaper if you’ve already got yellow-and-green screens and GPS receivers.

See also: Bunning builds 14t tracked muckspreader

Bauer fiberglass tanker

A Bauer fiberglass tanker

© Tim Scrivener

Bauer offers both steel and fiberglass tankers in its 8cu m to 30cu m line-up but reports much more interest in the latter of late.

Going with the resin composite option typically shaves 1.5t off the overall weight of a 16-18cu m tanker which has obvious implications on the pulling power required and might help in keeping things legal on the road.

Corrosion resistance is also a big factor in the shift towards fiberglass tanks – a particular issue for those handling extra-caustic digestate from biogas plants.

However, you can’t use a vacuum pump, so instead Bauer has opted for a positive displacement screw-stator set-up. 

Being self-priming, the company says this means there’s no need for a turbo-filler on the suction arm and, critically, it’s more accurate at lower application rates.

The other sweetener with fibreglass is that it is cheaper than steel – a 16cu m tanker with four-point linkage and rocking beam pendulum axles has a £55,000 price tag in traditional build. That’s knocked back to £50,000 in resin composite.

K-Two Bio

K-Two Bio machine

© Tim Scrivener

Getting a full load of dry material such as compost into spreaders can be a challenge so K-Two has tweaked the design of its Bio machines and by flaring the top edge of the 2m wide body, it’s now possible to get 18cu m of material on board.

Tandem axles are standard fare as such capacity means weights of up to 26t are possible in wetter material.

There are two rear-end options – horizontal beaters with a hood and discs or two 1m diameter vertical rotors.

The former can accurately fling material up to 32m and is always fitted with a hood or spinning discs.

The vertical beater version can also be fitted with a hood which makes it possible to spread up to 16m, according to the company.

Spec is completely customer dependent and usually includes an RDS weigh cell system which, with a GPS feed, can provide a variable rate facility, auto headland shut-off and field mapping. Prices range from £43,000 to £54,000.

Gissing

Gissing slurry tanker

© Tim Scrivener

The paint job on Gissing FE’s Cobra tankers is certainly eye-catching but there’s another feature that sets the North Lincs company’s machines apart.

Rather than making the tank structural, the firm has opted for a conventional chassis to take the strain.

This has allowed a V-shaped drawbar to be fitted which is reckoned to give an improved straight-line pull.

It’s also meant the rear linkage can be fitted to the rear cross-member, avoiding stress being put on the tank.

Two pumps are employed – a conventional hydraulically driven vacuum unit and a pto-powered 600-litre/min centrifugal version for loading with a clever air-assisted auto-unblock system.

On the side is a three-section telescopic loading arm that can either reach up and over a three-ring tower or down 3m into a lagoon.

It is operated by a joystick and Isobus controller.

Prices start from £40,000 and stretch up to £80,000 for a fully loaded version with linkage, steering axle, air suspension and full-length internal stirrer.

Vredo

Vredo VT4556

© Tim Scrivener

Dutch firm Vredo has just sold 13 of its monster self-propelled muckspreaders – seven to Anglian Water and a further six to Suffolk contractor OJ Neil.

In the latest version of the VT 4556 a Scania straight-six replaces the Deutz V6 used previously.

Although it also pumps out 450hp, the way it is delivered is completely different and there is much more torque at lower revs.

Vredo’s CVT gearbox as also undergone an upgrade.

Where previously pump output was pressure regulated, that’s now been switched to faster responding electronic control – apparently resulting in much improved hill-climbing ability.

With a 20t Tebbe weigh-cell muckspreader body fitted, a Vredo Trac 4556 will set you back £400,000.

Fleigl

Fleigl

© Nick Fone

The curved sidewalls on Fleigl’s 12t–20t push-off muckspreaders aren’t just there for looks, we’re told.

By adopting this profile no cross braces or uprights are required and so the body weighs in lighter but retains its rigidity.

Muck is propelled to the rear rotors by a two-stage telescopic headboard – its speed (and therefore application rate) is varied by adjusting oil-flow through the spools.

Fitted with hydraulic drawbar suspension and supplied with a galvanized finish, price for a 12-tonner is £26,500.

Richard Western

Richard Western muckspreader

© Nick Fone

Richard Western’s biggest spreaders have had a significant upgrade with beefier bits all round to increase their capacity.

The bodies on 10t, 12t and 15t Delilah models are now 50mm wider although the axles remain at a 2.7m track width. 

There haas also been as move to a two-chain bed with full-width slats.

These locate on to tabs welded to the chain but being box-section are free to slide and don’t derail the chains if bent by foreign objects.

The rear beaters have been strengthened as well and the backend opening widened – previously 1.7m in width, it now measures 2.1m. 

The rotors have three paddles at the base which is also said to have created a much more even spread pattern.

In fact, the Suffolk firm says in testing, the extra vane and additional tip speed from the increased diameter have resulted in 18m spread widths being possible.

All this extra capacity can put extra strain on the driveline of course.

To counter this the company has arranged the beater tips in a helical pattern to smooth out shock-loading on the gearboxes.

Price for a 15t D4150 with commercial-spec 420mmx220mm brakes is £39,188.

Teagle Titan

Teagle Titan muckspreader

© Jonathan Page

Until recently the biggest muckspreader in Teagle’s line-up was a 12-tonner.

However, the Cornish company significantly stretched that with its latest Titan models, which now top out at 20t.

To accommodate this additional capacity there’s now a heavier chassis and redesigned sprung drawbar with bolt-on hitch.

Full-width slats and marine-grade chain propel material to the rear beaters, which have free-swinging bottom vanes to avoid damage from unwanted objects such as concrete blocks.

There’s also the option of interchangeable tips to allow applications of compost up to 10m without the need for a change to spinning discs and a special hood.

Also on the option list is an RDS weigh cell system, which enables in-cab adjustments of application rates through bed speed control. Auto-rate control is in development, we’re told.

Price for 20t Titan complete with LED lighting, beacons plus air and hydraulic brakes is £33,500.

Pichon

Pichon tanker

© Tim Scrivener

Pichon has introduced a touchscreen controller for its top-spec tankers with the facility for auto-rate control.

Developed using a Siemens flow meter and the French firm’s own software, the set-up allows the operator to dial in a target dose rate per hectare.

A forward speed feed is supplied from sensor on the tanker wheels to allow the system to adjust the amount of liquid passing out through the applicator.

The company is working on an advanced version with a GPS facility to enable it to produce application maps as well as an auto-shut-off facility.

Keenan Orbital

Keenan Orbital spreader

© Jonathan Page

While all the talk around Keenan might be focused on the addition of Storti vertical auger tub-type feeders to its range, quietly the new owner Alltech has reintroduced the Irish firm’s Orbital muckspreader.

An unusual design, it employs a hinged pusher-plate to propel material from the back of the barrel body to a big spinning disc at the front.

Key advantage of such an approach is that by emptying back-to-front weight is constantly kept over the drawbar – a big plus-point in keeping the tractor moving.

In addition, the absence of chains and slats means running costs and wear and tear are kept to a minimum, according to the firm. 

Thanks to the shattering effect of the bladed flywheel, it’s also claimed to be capable of flinging muck up to 30m. Hydraulically adjusted deflectors control the spread pattern while an up-and-over slurry door manages the flow of more liquid material.

A 12t capacity Orbital will set you back £26,500.

Zunhammer

Zunhammer slurry kit and Holmer tractor

© Tim Scrivener

Agrifac UK brings the Zunhammer range of slurry kit into the UK, much of which finds itself mounted on the back of Holmer TerraVariant tractor units. However it also has a range of high-spec, high-capacity trailed tankers in its line-up.

However it also has a range of high-spec, high-capacity trailed tankers in its line-up.

This 18,500-litre unit has just been sold to Kent contractor FGS and a couple of unusual features set it apart, including the galvanised chassis that acts as the slurry outlet rather than having additional external pipework.

In addition, the fibreglass tank is described as being “heart-shaped”, sculpted to drop down between the chassis rails and keep the centre of gravity low. On the

On the back there’s a 12m Vogelsang trailing shoe toolbar with twin macerators feeding outlets spaced at 25cm.

List price for the fully loaded machine comes in at £105,000. The spec includes ball-hitch, air-suspension, air-brakes, passive rear axle steering, 6000-litre/min lobe pump and remote controls for filling.

The spec includes ball-hitch, air-suspension, air-brakes, passive rear axle steering, 6000-litre/min lobe pump and remote controls for filling.

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