WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Hardi might have crossed its own Rubicon with a step into the front-mount boom sprayer business.
Front-mounted boom sprayers have been taking up a greater portion of the market in the agricultural world, especially in high capacity rigs.
Hardi has long been known for its air assisted and downdraft boom systems and large nozzle selection, but until the introduction of its rear-mounted self-propelled, three model lineup of sprayers, the largest capacity was the 1,300 gallon Saritor.
Adding the front mounted boom Rubicon, at 2,200 gallons, brings the company squarely into competition with Deere’s Hagie and New Holland’s Miller acquisitions.
The Hagie STS 16 and the New Holland SP.400F have a 1,600 gallon tank and 132 and 135 foot boom maximums.
The Hardi Rubicon 9000 can run at 20 inches from the ground at 30 m.p.h., with turning ability at 20 m.p.h. , while the booms remain level with the soil or crop. | Hardi photo
Hardi also came to the model through an addition to the company of the French Matrot farm equipment manufacturer. Both are owned by parent Excel Industries. To make the corporate package even tighter, Excel-owned boom builder Pommier provides the aluminum booms for the self-propelled and largest pull-type machines in the Hardi lineup, including the big 160 foot unit that sits on the front of the Rubicon.
Available in 120, 150 and 160 feet, the Rubicon offers a wide, wider and widest approach to coverage. At 20 m.p.h. in the field, it can cover about 300 acres per hour at 10 gallons per acre, potentially about 3,000 acres in a long day.
In Europe, the Rubicon is seen as the blue Matrot, but in Australia and North America it comes in Hardi red.
Gary McCutcheon of Hardi in Canada announced the new machine at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock earlier this month.
“This really is a machine made for the Prairies and Great Plains: big fields, large farms, lots of acres and different types of application,” he said.
However he has sold one in Ontario and one was marketed at the Farm Progress Show in Illinois a few weeks earlier.
“The large tank means less down time filling and more spraying time,” said McCutcheon.
Being a front mounted boom, these fold only twice, despite their length. Canadian made Norac boom control takes care of keeping the big boom running level, no matter what the wheels are going over.
The filling station on the Hardi Rubicon 9000 drops down to 28 inches from the ground. | Michael Raine photo
The system is capable of running at 30 m.p.h. just 20 inches from the ground for burnoff or lower crop applications. When turning at that height at 20 m.p.h., the system uses both hydraulics and spring tension to manage those loads.
Driven by four hydraulic motors, the hydrostatic system is powered by a 380 horsepower Cummins Tier 4 engine for North America and Europe. Handling the power is a Danfoss H1 transmission.
At about 59,000 pounds loaded, the machine is not light, so each wheel unit has its own suspension that moves in and out with the wheel track adjustment, which ranges from 118 to 157 inches.
“The ride is very good on this machine. Very stable, not much pitching under braking or acceleration,” said McCutcheon.
The cab-forward design offsets the engine and transmission at the back, while fuel, sprayer and rinse tanks are in the middle of the chassis.
Computer control over the engine, transmission and wheel motors means the system gets looked at 86 times per wheel revolution.
An AgLeader 9600 unit handles sprayer controls and guidance. Flow to the booms comes in the form of a 180 gallon per minute Ace centrifugal pump pushing through a pulse width modulation valve. Incoming flow is three inch plumbing, while two inch pipes carry the pressurized material to the booms.
Reloading happens 28 inches from the ground and with the station folding back up under the right hand side panels.
Chemical flows out to the ends of the boom, and midpoints, when spraying is underway. When not spraying, boom recirculation takes over and chemical flows through the system from right to left, leaving it ready to spray when the valves get their signals.
Auto-height boom control is also available, letting sensors determine crop height and manage the booms accordingly, at up to 22 m.p.h.
Air pressure runs the sectional nozzle controls.
Baffles keep 2,200 gallons of material under control inside the stainless tank, while a tank-length sump ensures it cleans out from end to end.