Spreader applies four products at once

With a 35 m.p.h. road speed and up to 25 in the field, Deere’s prototype dry-box spreader can blend on the go for up to four products and cover acres rapidly. The company hopes to release the units in 2016. | Michael Raine photo

John Deere’s self-propelled 425 horsepower fertilizer applicator is expected to be released next year

WATERLOO, Iowa — John Deere has turned its attention to self-propelled fertilizer applicators.

“Larger farmers like the bigger capacity of these machines, and there are more options when it comes to multiple products,” said Jason Beuligman of Deere’s Des Moines Works facility.

“For those doing custom application, (a purpose-built applicator) can make better use of their assets.”

Deere plans to enter that market with its own self-propelled applicator in the coming year.

In the past, producers wanting a green fertilizer applicator were limited to ordering an optional New Leader fertilizer box, either 200 or 300 cubic feet, for Deere’s largest sprayer platform, the 4045. Smaller 4038 and 4030 models can accept the smaller unit.

Beuligman said for many users, the four or five hours it takes to convert their sprayer to or from a fertilizer applicator is a time and labour issue.

“Farmers often want both machines in the same week, so conversion isn’t always a practical option,” he said.

Some dealers have found a new life for higher-hour used sprayers by adding dry boxes to those ma-chines, but specialized tools can offer greater productivity, he said.

“But nothing gets you over the acres quicker than a (floater),” he said.

The company showed its fertilizer applicator prototype to its dealers at a recent machinery launch. It can’t call it a floater, which is a branded name for Case IH’s Titan applicators, but the term so well describes what the machines do that has become a generic name for these types of field tools.

The larger version of the sprayer-conversion boxes from New Leader have a pair of delivery belts, so variable rate of two products is possible. The smaller is a single product design.

The new Deere machine can spread up to four products 105 feet using the New Leader G4 spinner. The prototype appears to have incorporated its 30-inch, No. 5 belt over chain, rather than a straight belt or linked chain feeder.

The big, two-wheel drive unit makes use of the original equipment manufacturer relationship with New Leader with that company’s 330 cubic foot box. In single product setups, the tank holds about 360 cubic feet of material when not carrying the New Leader Multibin insert.

The Deere spinner spreader can variably apply up to four products: two major products, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and two micronutrients, or lower-rate materials.

A 425 horsepower Deere Powertech PSX 9 litre engine powers an infinitely variable transmission and heavy-duty rear axle. Air suspension and a suspended cab smooth out field speeds of up to 25 m.p.h.

“There is enough power to haul the machine over hills without running out of power, and the IFT will allow operators to slow up for those five and 10 m.p.h. turns in the headlands and then right back up to speed,” he said.

The spreader unit is the first application tool to receive the company’s generation four Command Centre display, which is found in its biggest tractors and combines. A specialized control arm and modified, premium version of the sprayer cab round out the package.

Deere said the machines are still in the testing phase, but it expects them to be released next year.

Contact michael.raine@producer.com

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