Self-propelled sprayer a first for Versatile

ORLANDO, Florida – Versatile has moved closer to becoming a full-line agricultural equipment manufacturer.

It has acquired Red Ball, a Minnesota company that got into financial difficulty last year.

In the deal, Versatile gets its first self-propelled sprayer, the SX275.

Retailing for $239,000 US, the sprayer ditched the Red Ball 7830’s John Deere engine in favour of a 6.7 litre Cummins and outfitted it with Ravens’ 4400 or optional top-end Enviso system.

Otherwise, the machine remains the same as the Red Ball. The sprayer will be built in Willmar, Minnesota.

Adam Reid of Versatile said the machine was a good fit for his company.

“We build farm equipment. We don’t need to build engines, drives and many of the components. Other manufacturers’ best products mean that we can concentrate on keeping our machines and our manufacturing simple,” said Reid.

“The Red Ball was built that way already, so we were able to make it ours without a lot of other modifications. It even had our look already. We just had to change the colour from orange to red and off-white.”

Versatile already had experience with the Cummins QSB 6.7 litre, 275 horsepower engine.

The two-wheel drive sprayer kept the Allison 3000RDS, five speed, automatic transmission.

“It’s a bulletproof and well-proven unit in other applications and gives wide operation control in the field and on the road,” he said.

Versatile also kept the Fairfield, heavy-duty drop boxes, the JCB differentials, the air bag suspension, and the Henschen boom suspension.

Boom widths on the sprayer are 80, 90, 100 and 120 feet.

The machine has a 4,540 litre stainless steel tank and a 454 litre wash tank. It relies on a Hypro 9306-HM5C product pump to push the spray.

The Raven affiliation extends to the tractor lineup, where Raven will power the new automated steering and guidance for Versatile’s machinery line.

Versatile is also offering one of the highest horsepower options in an agricultural tractor with the launch of its 575. At 575 h.p. with a bulge that tops 600, it’s just short of the Agco Challenger 975, which peaks at 631 h.p., and ahead of nearly every other machine in the marketplace.

The Winnipeg-built tractor is aimed at the large farms of the Canadian Prairies, the American plains states and Australia.

The engine is a Cummins QSX 15 litre, Tier Three A emissions compatible unit. Cummins rates the engines from 375 h.p. to 665 h.p., depending on the setup.

To channel that horsepower into the drives is a heavier version of the Caterpillar 16 x 4 electric over hydraulic transmission that is used on the 435 and 485 Versatile tractor models.

Power Pin provides a new Category Five hitch for the tractor. The hitch is designed for future needs as there are few implements that can take a 2.75 inch drawbar pin.

Reid said along with the new tractor Versatile released a Raven built guidance and steering system called the Versatile Precision Agriculture System, or VPAS.

Based on the Raven Cruizer or the more advanced Envizio Pro, VPAS will allow owners to have auto steer with nine inch pass to pass accuracy.

“The VPAS can be moved between pieces of equipment as well. Its steering is hydraulic controlled,” he said.

VPAS is a $9,500 US option.

Versatile’s new tractor is priced at $316,000 without VPAS.

The company launched a pair of chore tractors as well. The 190 and 220 horsepower are compact units set up for loaders, but with enough power for field operations and baling.

They are priced at $140,000 and $147,000 respectively.

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