UAP’s North Norfolk contract spray service have been using Lite-Trac sprayers for their applications on potato crops for the last three years and are currently on their second machine. UAP initially chose Lite-Trac for its on-road capabilities and power output. The first Lite-Trac machines were contract based, covering a wide area across Norfolk and North Suffolk which meant they were clocking around 800 road miles each week. So the 50kph mechanical transmission and comfortable air suspension were ideally suited for operator Terry Falgate.
The first sprayer did a full season before a policy change took the required working width to 36 meters and a move away from the 24 meter boom, UAP placed an order for a replacement machine, however, the new machine required a slug pellet/granular application system to run. As a professional crop protection company UAP wanted to be able to spread pellets accurately from the sprayer and in the most environmentally friendly way possible, specifically they wanted to spread “Sluxx” the eco friendly pellet by Certis which causes spreading problems due to its light weight pellets. Lite-Trac addressed the problem by going down the route of a pneumatic system which would have broadcast nozzles spaced along the 36 meter spray boom.
The system has twin 60 litre hopers and metering units mounted on the sprayers back frame, with a unique plumbing system to the twelve nozzles at 3 meter spacing along the boom. After a long period of testing and modifying the system is now capable of spreading even the lightest of slug pellets, such as “Sluxx”, accurately over the full 36 meters. The speed related application rate is controlled automatically by the sprayers GPS TopCon unit simultaneously to liquid chemical application to ensure the correct dose is applied with minimal addition to the operators workload.
Current UAP operator Carl Hutchinson comments “You can’t really ask for anything better, it puts the pellets exactly where they need to be and its user friendly.” “Filling the hoppers is easy at low level when the back frame is lowered and it is out the way, it doesn’t obstruct the view like other systems we have tried”. The Lite-Trac Air Spread system can also be used to apply Avadex graduals with plans to increase the hoper capacity in future specifically for that use.
Farmers Guide April 2011 Entry
The Lite-Trac high capacity sprayer has continued to draw in a great amount of interest from the large scale agricultural sectors. They are drawn to the possibility of increased output with the tanks of between 4000 and 8000 litres and booms of up to 50 metres. Lite-Trac has recently supplied a second machine into the suspension fertiliser sector; the latest being equipped with 36 metre booms, 1380 litre pump and a 5500 litre tank. The OMEX contractor who this machine has recently been supplied to is hoping to greatly increase his output and therefore productivity. This has been achieved by being able to carry more of the product onboard the sprayer and as a result spending less time returning to the delivery tankers. It is also geared up for variable rate application where mapping has been carried out on the land. Because the Lite-Trac spray pack has been developed to be compatible with the high demands of suspension fertiliser, application within standard wet spraying is much more straightforward for them. Lite-Trac is always looking into other applications for the SS 2400 spray and spread tractor unit outside of spraying; with much interest from the muck and slurry spreading sectors at Lamma, Lite-Trac is looking forward to exhibiting at Grassland and Muck where hopefully the interest will continue.
In the last year Lite-Trac has been working hard on further product development to maintain a market leading tractor and spray pack. A big development area has been maintaining boom stability with the large 36+ meter boom on offer; this has lead to latest tractors being fitted with anti-roll bars to reduce suspension sway and also the continued development/improvement of Lite-Trac’s own Auto Boom Level system. The new Auto Boom Fold system reduces time when entering and exiting the field. Headland management now reduces speed and engages four wheel steer at the headland when the last spray section shuts off reducing operator fatigue during long spray days, it also can be operated as cruise control on the road. Increased hydraulic supply now means that full pump rate of up to 1300 litres/minute can be achieved even at low engine revs, this combined with new driveline ratios have combined to significantly reduce fuel consumption of the SS 2400 tool carrier tractor unit.
W.T. Garford Contracting has now been running a Lite-Trac SS 2400 tractor with a Lite-Trac 5500 litre, 24 meter demount sprayer for two years, it manly operates on OMEX suspension fertilizer contracts. Mr Garford has received lots of positive feedback from farmers and also outstanding output from the Lite-Trac setup which has lead to further orders from OMEX contractors who are looking for more output.
Lite-Trac Lamma Award Entry 2011
The Lite-Trac SS 2400 spray and spread tractor unit along with the Lite-Trac spray pack combine to make a formidable high capacity spraying machine. Available with tanks up to 8000 litres and 48 meter booms, it also carries advanced technology to complement its size such as Auto Boom Level and GPS section control. The main ethos of Lite-Trac is to minimise soil structure damage while providing what the industry wants: ever larger boom widths, higher capacity tanks, high rate pumps for self mixed liquid fertiliser and high road speed for covering spread contracted land, all of which are to increase output. The Lite-Trac SS 2400 was launched at Lamma 2009 as a specific spray and spread tractor, its key feature being the industry unique mid-mounting of the engine and mechanical transmission which give it a completely equal weight distribution on all four large diameter and large footprint wheels. The SS 2400 also has very smooth ride on its active self levelling air suspension which lends itself perfectly for spraying. However after no established sprayer manufactures were willing to designing a completely new spray system to take full advantage of the SS 2400, we at Lite-Trac took it upon ourselves to create our own high capacity demountable sprayer.
Thanks to our low production volumes and product flexibility sprayer development has been done working together with industry leaders in cereal, vegetable and potato production along with suspension fertilizer contractors. The starting point was the custom manufactured tank which has a low profile and sits between the axles, this is necessary to maintain the equal weight distribution, Pommeir’s aluminium booms are used with the aim to keep overall weight to a minimum. The tank also contains much of the plumbing in solid stainless steal piping where possible; it also includes the direct mounting of the large displacement vibration free centrifugal pump used for both fast fill and high rate application. The Lite-Trac system is at the forefront of sprayer technology using the TopCon X20 GPS controller as standard for rate control, auto section control of up to 30 sections, guidance and auto pilot. Recent development has been into maintaining boom stability with the large 36+ meter boom on offer; the latest tractors have been fitted with custom designed and forged anti-roll bars to reduce suspension sway. The anti-roll bars work along side Lite-Trac’s own Auto Boom Levelling system which has been developed in house using ultrasound technology to now provide outstanding boom ride.
Working closely with operators as well as farm managers has led us to develop systems with the operator in mind. The first of these is the auto fold system where the booms can be opened or closed from the seat with the press of one switch. Next is the headland management system which changes between two and four wheel steer as well as the turning and application speeds when the final spray section turns off, another operator suggested feature is the on road and in field cruise control. All of the Lite-Trac electronic features are integrated into the tractor, designed to make the life of an operator easier, incurring less fatigue and therefore increasing productivity. These features are not just gimmick afterthoughts arranged in the cab on separate control boxes but are all found on the main command console.
The Lite-Trac sprayer combination is currently Britain’s highest capacity production self propelled sprayer. It has the ultimate advantage of being designed from the ground up to work as a high capacity crop sprayer this means even with the largest 8000 litre tank it still has low ground pressure equal to some sprayers of half that size. Unlike many similar sized self-propelled sprayers it has not be adapted from a smaller machine or a machine of a different origin to do its job, therefore no compromises have been made in producing a cutting edge system were uses requirements are the key design factors.