7 low-cost fertiliser spreaders for smaller farms

Plump for all the fancy add-ons and it’s fairly easy to push the price of a high-capacity twin-disc fertiliser spreader to more than £30,000.

But for those content with an old-school, manual approach, it’s possible to get a machine suitable for a livestock or small arable enterprise for less than a third of that figure.

We set out with a sub-£10,000 budget and went in search of some machines capable of holding three 600kg bulk bags and with the ability to spread 24m wide.

The results are listed below, and with each manufacturer we’ve aimed to get the specs as close as we can. However, due to the differences in the way they structure their line-ups these aren’t direct comparisons.

It’s also worth taking note that all the prices are retail list figures, meaning there will be some significant dealer discounts on offer, often as much as 20-30%.

See also: 7 twin-disc fertiliser spreader options for farmers

Amazone ZA-M 2001 Ecospecial

Amazone spreader

The ZA-M is the cheapest spreader Amazone offers with the ability to spread to 24m, and it can be configured to suit various operations.

At its most basic, it comes with a 1,000-litre hopper, 10-16m spreading window and a simple border-spreading disc.

However, top-spec models offer capacities of up to 3,000 litres, the ability to spread to 36m and an in-cab-controlled border spreading deflector.

The most popular machine for those wanting three-bag capacity and 24m spreading is the ZA-M 2001 Ecospecial.

This comes with a 2,000-litre hopper (rated to hold an 1,800kg payload), a set of OM10-16m discs and a TS 5-9 border disc as standard.

Upgrading to 18-24m discs is relatively cheap at £35 and many also opt for the Limiter M border spreading deflector at £855.

This can be fitted to the left or right side of the machine and drops down hydraulically into the stream of fertiliser to close up the spread pattern.

Standard features include half-side hydraulic shut-off, sieves, a swivel hopper cover, lighting and tool-free rate adjustment. Like all Amazone spreaders, it has a low 720rpm disc speed and stainless steel spreading components.

Those who want a bit more sophistication have the option of adding an Easyset control screen that allows independent rate adjustments for the right and left sides, as well as monitoring when the border spreading system is activated.

It’s also possible to spec the Amados+ system that brings in automatic rate adjustment and removes the need to drive at a constant speed.

Specs: Amazone ZA-M 2001 Ecospecial

  • Hopper size 2,000-litre
  • Spreading width 10 to 36m (depending on disc option)
  • Maximum payload 1,800kg
  • Discs OM 10-16m discs as standard, with 18-24m and 24-36m options
  • Shutter system Half side hydraulic shut-off standard
  • Border spreading system TS border disc or in-cab operated Limiter M
  • Filling height 135cm
  • List price £6,120 (including 24m discs)

Kuhn MDS 18.2

Kuhn spreader

The simpler end of Kuhn’s spreader line-up is covered by the MDS models, which range from compact orchard machines to fairly high-capacity broad-acre spreaders.

Like the higher-spec Axis models, these are built by Rauch but are sold exclusively by Kuhn in the UK.

The range has recently been updated and includes a new 18.2 model, which is the cheapest option for those wanting to carry three 600kg bags and spread to 24m.

In standard spec, it’s fitted with 10-18m discs, but it costs just £84 to upgrade to M2 18-24m discs, or £172 for the VXR models with hardened vanes.

Hydraulic shutter control for the right and left sides is standard, as well as a simple border spreading system that involves manually adjusting the vanes.

However, this can be upgraded to a drop-down Telimat deflector system, which is controlled from within the cab. This costs about £1,300.

Rate adjustment is carried out via a sliding adjuster on the front of the machine, which can be viewed from the cab.

Buyers can also add electronic controllers, including the simple E-click system or the more complex Quantron controller that offers ground-speed-related rate control. The 12-month warranty can be extended to three years for an extra £285.

For those in search of a little more capacity, there’s an MDS 20.2 model that can handle 2,000 litres and costs about £950 more.

Specs: Kuhn MDS 18.2

  • Hopper size 1,800-litre
  • Spreading width 10 to 24m (depending on disc option)
  • Maximum payload 1,800kg
  • Discs M1 10-18m discs standard, with option of M2 18-24m discs
  • Shutter system Half side hydraulic shut-off standard
  • Border spreading system Vane adjustment as standard or optional in-cab operated Telimat system
  • Filling height 93cm
  • List price £5,036 (including 24m discs)

KRM Bogballe L20 Trend

KRM Bogballe spreader

Danish-built Bogballe spreaders are brought into the UK by KRM, and its L20 Trend model caters for those who want a relatively simple 24m spreader.

The base machine has a 700-litre hopper, but with extensions it tops out at 2,050 litres with a 2,100kg maximum payload.

Spreading is handled by a pair of inward-rotating discs, which give a so-called “double double” overlap. In practice this means each disc covers the entire width of spread and half of the next run, so that the spread pattern is built up in layers.

Width of spread can be adjusted from 6m to 24m, and the firm has solved the border-spreading conundrum without having to change discs or drop a deflector into the fertiliser stream.

Instead, the discs are reversed so that the rear of the vanes distribute the product. These are designed to give a full spread pattern into the field and a sharp cut-off at the boundary.

Standard spec includes a folding hopper cover, LED road lights and wide mudguards.

Buyers have the option of adding the Calibrator Icon controller, which offers simple setup and the option of application rate independent of forward speed. Weigh cells can be specced too, giving the ability to alter calibration on the move.

Specs: KRM Bogballe L20 Trend

  • Hopper size 2,050 litres
  • Spreading width 6 to 24m
  • Maximum payload 2,100kg
  • Discs Twin stainless-steel discs capable of 6-24m spreading
  • Shutter system Double hydraulically operated shutter at each outlet
  • Border spreading system Trend system that reverses disc rotation
  • Filling height 137cm
  • Price £8,405

Teagle Centerliner SX3

Teagle spreader

For those who like to keep things simple, Teagle builds its own range of fertiliser spreaders with polyurethane hoppers that offer capacities of up to 1,350 litres and spread widths up to 12m.

For higher capacities and wider spreading widths, Teagle offers a number of Centerliner models which have been built by Dutch firm Tulip since it bought out Lely’s arable division in 2001.

The SE is the simplest and cheapest in the line-up, but hopper capacity tops out at 1,300 litres and it will spread to only 18m. For 24m spreading, this means jumping to the heavier duty SX range, which can come with hopper sizes as large as 3,150kg.

The 2,730-litre SX5 is the biggest seller in the range, but the SX3 with 1,900-litre capacity is the model that fits best with the other three-bag machines listed in this article.

Like all Centerliner SX models, it is fitted with four-vane inward-spinning discs that create a quadruple overlap.

Standard equipment includes a Centerlift border system that tilts the machine to prevent spreading beyond the field boundary. However, where a sharper cut-off is required, buyers have the option of upgrading to a hydraulically operated deflector.

Hopper sieves, mudguards, a spring-loaded rollover cover and rear lighting kit are also included in the price.

Stepping up to the SXe and SXi models brings in electronic shutter control and weight cells.

Specs: Teagle Centerliner SX3

  • Hopper size 1,900kg
  • Spreading width 6-24m (altered by changing gear set)
  • Maximum payload 1,900kg
  • Discs Single set of four-vane discs
  • Shutter system Twin hydraulically operated shutters
  • Border spreading system Centralift tilting system or optional hydraulic deflector
  • Filling height 1.26m
  • List price £9,110

Sulky DX20+

Sulky spreader

The DX20 and DX20+ are the smallest and simplest of Sulky’s mounted twin-disc fertiliser spreaders.

The standard DX20 offers spreading widths of 9m to 18m and hopper capacities up to 1,500 litres, while the plus model pushes working widths into the 12-24m bracket and hopper capacity to 2,100 litres.

To switch between working widths, Sulky uses an adjustable chute system that alters the position at which the product is dropped on to the disc. This means there’s no need to adjust vanes, swap discs or alter gearing.

Rate adjustment is carried out using a manual slide and the hopper outlets are angled to prevent blockages and allow it to empty fully.

The off-the-shelf border spreading arrangement is via manual vane adjustment, but there is the option of upgrading to an electric system which can be switched in the cab.

Other add-ons include forward-speed related rate control, hopper cover and lights.

Specs: Sulky DX20+

  • Hopper size 2,100-litre
  • Spreading width 12-24m (on selected products)
  • Maximum payload 2,100kg
  • Discs Twin vane stainless steel discs
  • Shutter system Manual, hydraulic or electric
  • Border spreading system Manual Ecobord vane or optional Tribord 2d electric system
  • Filling height 132cm
  • List price €6,180 (£5,444)

Vicon Rotaflow RO-M

Vicon spreader

Kverneland Group’s fertiliser spreaders can be found in the UK in either Vicon, Kubota or KV colour schemes.

The biggest selling brand at the cheaper end of the spectrum is Vicon, with its iconic Superflow “wagtail” machines still popular with those happy to spread no wider than 12m.

The category we’re concentrating on is catered for by the twin-disc RO-M Rotaflow, which is the simplest of the group’s machines to offer 24m spreading – it can actually spread some products to 28m.

Adding two aluminium extensions gets the hopper capacity up to 2,000 litres and this empties on to the discs via a hydraulically operated outlet on each side. Each has three openings designed to make the product flow on to the discs evenly.

Each disc is fitted with eight vanes – which Vicon claims creates a more even spread pattern – and these create a double overlap spread pattern.

The cheapest border-spreading option is a manual border plate, but there is the option of upgrading this to hydraulic, or going the whole hog and having an electrically operated Trimflow system.

An electronic control unit can also be added, which offers the ability to set the rate and start and stop the spreader from within the cab. The rate can also be adjusted on the move and the discs can be shut off independently to spread over half the working width.

Specs: Vicon Rotaflow RO-M

  • Hopper size 2,000 litres
  • Spreading width 10-24m
  • Maximum payload 2,000kg
  • Discs Eight-vane discs supplied with all vanes for 10 to 24m spreading supplied
  • Shutter system Twin hydraulically operated shutters
  • Border spreading system Border spreading plate or Trimflow deflector
  • Filling height 138cm
  • List price £8,734

Eurospand Jolly 24

Eurospand spreader

Devon-based distributor Amia has a well-established business bringing lesser-known farm machinery brands to the UK, and Italian spreader maker Eurospand is one of its latest.

As the name suggests, the Jolly 24 model will spread to 24m and, with extensions, the capacity of its 1,400-litre hopper can be increased to 2,000 or 3,000 litres.

Standard spec is pretty generous, with twin hydraulic shutters, a hydraulic border-spreading device, folding cover and road lights. It also comes with a three-year warranty.

But the Jolly’s most distinctive feature is its so-called Vibro system, which uses a pair of vibrating plates at the bottom of the hopper to encourage the product towards the outlets.

This replaces the agitator found in most machines and is said to be gentler on the product. It also makes it possible to spread lime.

To reduce fluctuations in the spread pattern on undulating terrain, the Jolly uses a lateral feed system where fertiliser is fed on to the discs at the sides.

Optional extras include electronic shutter control, rate control independent of forward speed, and weigh cells.

Specs: Eurospand Jolly 24

  • Hopper size 2,000-litre
  • Spreading width Up to 24m
  • Maximum payload 3,600kg
  • Discs Twin vane discs
  • Shutter system Twin hydraulic outlets, with option to upgrade to electronic
  • Border spreading system Hydraulic deflector as standard
  • Filling height 144cm
  • List price £6,834

Budget GPS options

The impressive range of low-cost GPS options on the market these days means it doesn’t cost a fortune to put an end to spreading fertiliser on grassland by eye.

Below, we’ve gathered details of some of the more affordable options.

Agricision Ontrak

Agricision bonnet-mounted GPS

Agricision’s Ontrak system uses a simple bonnet-mounted lightbar controlled by an Apple app that works with iPads and iPhones.

The lightbar is rechargeable, has a claimed 24-hour battery life and will still operate if there’s no phone signal.

The app itself will record A-B lines and boundaries, calculate field sizes, record the area worked and allow the operator to adjust implement width. This is free to download from the Apple app store.

Price £675 (not including Apple iPad or iPhone)

Patchwork Blackbox Air

Patchwork Blackbox GPS unit and tablet

The Blackbox Air system is based on an Android app that comes pre-installed on a tablet computer.

This displays the guidance settings and a lightbar, but the GPS signal comes from a separate 10Hz Bluetooth receiver, which is included in the kit.

Field boundary recording and storage, area measurement and automatic field recognition are all possible, as well as creating curved guidance lines.

Price £950 (including Android tablet)

Sixty-5 Technologies Grass Guide

Sixty-5 GPS receiver

Belfast-based Sixty-5 offers an Android app-based GPS system that comes pre-loaded on to a 7in Samsung tablet.

This gets its GPS fix from a 10Hz Novatel Ag-Star dome receiver mounted on the vehicle’s roof. It communicates with the tablet via Bluetooth and offers 20-30cm (8-12in) accuracy.

Sixty-5 says it has tried to make the system simple to follow, so it uses predicted guidelines rather than a more typical lightbar. There are also bout markers and a coverage map so it’s clear which areas of the field have been worked.

Price £1,545 (includes Samsung tablet)