Locating the boom directly over the steering axle improves the turning response, which is useful in tight fields
It was a big day for front boomers when red Miller Nitros received blue New Holland paint. When Nitro became Guardian, it instantly gave front boomers a large dealer network.
Now that another major manufacturer has entered this expanding market, it gave the front boom trend a further node of respectability, according to Bob Moore of Park River Implement in North Dakota.
“It really was a big day when the red Miller became blue New Holland. It’s all about the front mounting system,” Moore explains, adding that the operator can see tip to tip without straining his neck or eyes. If you plug a nozzle, you can see which one it is immediately.
“Once we’ve sold a front boom to a farmer or custom operator, they’re happy almost forever. The only time we see them again is when it’s time to trade up to a new front mount boom.”
The boom is made of square tubing. Conventional wisdom and high school physics tell us that a tube or a cylinder like a drinking straw is the strongest shape for stressed arms. Triangles come in second place, which is why most spray booms are built with a combination of round and triangular tubes. The Guardian is unique because it’s built with 100,000 per sq. inch-grade strength steel square tubes. Booms are available up to 135 feet.
“Something drivers don’t understand until they’ve driven the sprayer is that the boom is situated directly over the steering axle. So when you go to turn, it responds immediately. When you’re in tight fields, you can use the tips to literally draw a line around objects and the perimeter.
“The Guardian has the tightest turning radius on the market at 15 feet. If you work a lot in difficult fields, the four-wheel steering option gets you down to a 13 foot turning radius. The suspension has 20 inches of travel: 10 up and 10 down. Ride height can be controlled from the cab. The hydralink suspension employs a hydraulic shock at each corner, linked to pressurized nitrogen accumulator.
The Guardian features a very clean design at the front, giving the operator a clear view of everything that’s happening. When the boom is raised, there’s nothing in front but green fields and blue skies.
Power ratings are from 310 to 400 horsepower and tanks are available up to 1,600 gallons. With the cab out front and the engine hanging out the back, the liquids are all centred in the chassis, creating an almost perfect 50:50 fore:aft weight distribution whether the tanks are full or even or any point in between.
“That’s one of the nice things about this design. It’s designed to perform well, but also it’s designed for easy maintenance. Everything’s out in the open.
“There probably is a time and a place for a rear boom. Some guys who were raised on the rear boom concept just can’t get comfortable looking the boom in front of them.”