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Mammoth spraying performance Spraying 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) in five days mightn’t match the record output of 110ha/hr set in Australia earlier this year by a 48m machine, but it is nevertheless a highly-impressive achievement by any standard. The machine responsible is a Challenger RoGator 645D 30m 10-section model purchased in 2016 by South Yorkshire grower Nick Huddlestone and driven in the main by Steve Turner. It replaced a RoGator 635A that had seen service on the farm since 2012. Comparing the two machines, Nick says: “They’ve improved on everything that needed improving. “We prefer the lighter boom. The angle sensors and wiring loom are much better and the cab is more userfriendly. The pump and rate control also perform better and respond faster.” Covering 2,000ha (5,000 acres) in five days was “a bit manic”, he says. “We were starting at 5am, with the intention of going through until 10pm. But, because the conditions were right, we worked right through on two of the nights. “On one night, however, we had about three hours of light rain, so Steve bedded down in the cab for a while!” Nick pays tribute to Agco’s support

The RoGator 645D.

since the new acquisition arrived and to the part played by the dealer. “You can’t fault it,” he says. He enjoys a close working relationship with Peacock and Binnington at nearby Corringham, where the sales team has provided advice and support over a number of years. “It’s been excellent,” says Nick. “And the RoGator is the only selfpropelled sprayer you can have with a full warranty package available for five years. “When you look at the cost of the chemicals we apply – somewhere between £300,00 and £400,000 a year now – you realise you need a sprayer that’s not going to let you down. “Sprays are now our single biggest production input – more than fertiliser, I’d say – so we need the best machine available to ensure they’re applied in the most accurate, efficient and timely way.” Nick’s pursuit of excellence

Better guidance for row-crop and cereal weeding Garford Farm Machinery is announcing the arrival of the Robocrop 4 quick-touch, the latest version of vision guidance for its in-row weeders. The latest system will be available for orders placed this summer and features a raft of enhancements. The user interface now features a compact touchscreen with instantlyrecognisable symbols replacing the previous text characters. It is also quicker and easier to access the various submenus. Robocrop 4 features Gigabit Ethernet cameras that deliver considerably higher data rates and software-selectable frame rate, and operate in a wider range of lighting conditions. This results in a system that works with up to six cameras and six precision-guided sections per machine. This means that large machines such as the new Robocrop Eliminator trailed range can be

The quick-touch console.

operated with perfect accuracy over the full width, even when following extreme soil contours, says Garford. Performance figures for such machines are boosted dramatically, with spot performance of more than 20ha per hour possible, it adds. The increased guidance accuracy can now be used on conventionallyspaced cereals at 125mm, as well as more traditional row-crop spacings. For the vegetable grower, the larger dynamic range coupled with custom-colour features will give a wider range of possible operating conditions than ever before, Garford says. ■

is evident in his enthusiasm for developing new approaches and products. For example, the farm is conducting trials for Vredestein, using a new flotation tyre on the RoGator that’s been developed for larger machines such as forage harvesters and combines. “The higher profile and deeper tyre walls mean more air and therefore less compaction, running at lower pressures while maintaining weight-carrying capacity and speed,” says Nick. Self-employed sprayer operator Steve Turner is probably bestplaced to comment on the 645’s performance, having spent more time in it than anyone else. “The most noticeable difference from the 635A is in the cab, especially the auto shut-off and autosteer,” he says. “Everything is now geared towards simplicity of use, and the ride is much-improved. The booms are made of alloy, as opposed to steel, so

Nick Huddlestone.

there’s not nearly as much inertia. “The new LED lighting set-up might not seem like a big deal, but it makes a significant difference, particularly when you’re doing 22hour stints and filling in the dark. “The rate control, which used to be quite complicated, is now very simple and the response is a hundred times better.” A 6-cylinder rather than a 4-cylinder engine also makes a difference, while machine height adjustment certainly makes roadwork a lot easier, adds Steve. ■

Diesel does it with ease Polaris is introducing its latest Ranger diesel UTV with new features that complement its durability and practicality. The 2017 Ranger diesel HD comes with more torque, more towing power and significantly greater longevity than petrolpowered counterparts, says Polaris. It’s described as a real workhorse with Active Descent Control for controlled hill descents, automatic four-wheel braking on steep inclines and electronic power steering. A new seven-pin trailer socket is fitted as standard, and comfort is ensured with the Lock & Ride Pro-Fit cab system and a whole range of accessories. The new UTV is built for purpose with a proven, highperformance 1,028cc Kohler 3-cylinder overhead-cam liquid-cooled diesel engine that uses indirect injection and delivers smooth power with reduced combustion

Polaris’ latest UTV.

noise, according to Polaris. The compact, heavyduty design has a cast-iron crankcase for durability and an aluminium cylinder head for weight reduction. It is also EPA/CARB Tier 4-compliant. The industry-exclusive Lock & Ride Pro-Fit cab system is said to provide a new standard in accessory integration. The highly-modular design offers options from robust canvas doors and a poly windscreen to premium automotive glass tip-out windscreens and electric windows.

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