Opting for a Vicon iXtrack trailed sprayer to replace a 14-year old Sands SLC4000 self-propelled model, Lincolnshire farming brothers Peter and Brian Cook of Hamilton Farm, Market Rasen, have improved output and efficiency for spraying activities.
“The lower cost of choosing a new trailed sprayer over a new self-propelled has enabled us to choose a greater specification and take advantage of the latest spraying technology,” explains Peter Cook. “We’re not short of tractors, so it made more sense to switch to a trailed sprayer and benefit from much lower running costs.”
Supplied by local dealer FarmStar at Brigg, the 3600-litre iXtrack B36 came equipped with nine sections on its 24m boom, with auto section control and stop/start on headlands provided by a Tellus GO in-cab controller. Ergo Drive with auto boom lift and lower at headlands, plus a steering axle add to the sophistication, while twin pumps, auto-fill and iXclean comfort complete the sophisticated sprayer package.
L to R: Brian Cook, FarmStar’s Matt Coulby and operator Reuben Major.
“It really is a huge step forward,” says Peter Cook. “We have already seen a reduction in chemical spend, simply from being more accurate and reducing our overlaps.”
Trading as Cook & Watson, the farm grows winter wheat, winter oilseed rape, sugar beet, beans, spring barley and a considerable area of potatoes. Such an extensive rotation sees the farm make applications totaling 25,000 acres/season.
With fields ranging in size from four to 160 acres, and spread across an 11-mile working radius, boom folding and road transport were other key areas of consideration, as operator Reuben Major explains.
Operator Reuben Major is pleased with the accuracy and efficiency of the Vicon iXtrack trailed sprayer.
“The self-propelled was limited to around 32kph, so we were losing time when travelling to the furthest blocks of land,” he says. “And working on some of the steeper banks, the hydrostatic drive would lose forward speed and these factors would compromise my daily output.”
“Opting for a trailed sprayer means we now have plenty of speed and power up front – a New Holland T6030 – and that means a consistent spraying speed in all fields, and a decent travel speed when running to and from the chemical store.”
“The iXtrack is also a compact and agile sprayer on the road, and it rides extremely well,” he says. “Boom folding is quicker too, and boom stability across our rolling fields, is really impressive.”
He says that the introduction of auto section control has boosted accuracy and efficiency, which is helping to benefit the farm and the environment, while enabling better timeliness with applications.
“We already have a GEOSPREADER, so we’re acutely aware of our true field sizes and the improved accuracy and cost-savings that GPS has brought to the business,” he says. “And the sprayer follows that same principle – it is super-accurate.”
He adds that working from the tractor cab offers a familiar, quiet and comfortable environment.
The lower cost of choosing a new trailed sprayer over a new self-propelled has enabled Hamilton Farm to buy additional spraying technology.
“The sprayer is just so easy to use,” he adds. “With so much automation, it does look after itself, and that gives me more opportunity to watch what’s going on.”
Owner Peter cook says he is very pleased with the improved timeliness and efficiency provided by the new sprayer.
“We enjoyed our time with the self-propelled sprayer,” says Peter Cook. “It was a machine that served us well and we had great service and backup direct from the manufacturer.”
“But times change and technology moves on, and this new Vicon trailed sprayer now makes a lot of sense for the way we farm,” he says. “And it’s backed up with brilliant service from a great team at FarmStar.”
26th March 2018