The two most important qualities a farming implement has to comply with are:
• Continuous efficiency
• It must be supported unstintingly by a dependable, knowledgeable supplier that will keep the implement running so that the farmer can concentrate on his farming.
The Kuhn Stronger 4000 self-propelled high-rise sprayer is such a machine, and the distributors of the implement, Valtrac, is such a supplier with legendary service delivery. James Tolmay, a Vereeniging farmer who recently wisely invested in a Kuhn Stronger 4000 sprayer, agrees.
“Whenever I call, there is always someone ready, willing and able to help me immediately,” James says. “It can be any time day or night – a competent helping hand is always willing to come and solve the problems with a smile.”
The Stronger HD 4000 features a whole range of new developments to make the farmer’s work more economical, more convenient and more efficient.
A high-rise beam means nothing if the belly of the self-propelled sprayer hangs too low. With a ground clearance of 1,8 m the farmer can still spray his maize later in the season to eradicate late-arriving pests. There are two options for the beam length – 36 metres and 40 metres. James decided on the 36-metre aluminium beam.
The beam is divided into nine segments, each of which can operate independently from the others. It also offers a choice of three different nozzles for application to different crops and pests.
With the Auto Function the GPS and Autosteer takes over to prevent overlaps and skipped areas. The Trimble TMX 2050 screen and electronic control system ensures that it is ridiculously easy to operate the sprayer. “RJ, a Valtrac technician, explained over the telephone how to operate the sprayer. It is the easiest thing on earth,” James says.
The wheel track width can be adjusted from the cabin. All the operator then has to do, is to place linchpins in the correct holes on the axle before spraying is continued.
With the active pneumatic suspension riding comfort feels almost as if one is drifting on a cloud.
Kuhn has done everything possible to ensure that operating the sprayer is as easy as possible. Specific features are:
• The tank refilling valve has been mounted on the front of the sprayer making it easier to reach;
• the pump replaces water at 1 100 ℓ per minute to fill the 4000 ℓ stainless steel tank in less than four minutes; and
• the smaller mixing tank for chemicals is hydraulically lowered, enabling the operator to do the mixing at a more convenient level.
“To obtain an even mix with herbicide, I fill the main tank up to the halfway mark, add the active chemical and then fill the tank with the further 2 000 ℓ,” explains James.
“The machine has more than enough power to operate this sprayer and all its pumps. A 194-kW model is available, but James chose the bigger machine delivering 209 kW.
The beam can be lowered to only 600 mm above ground level to limit the influence wind, and can be lifted as high as 2,7 m to spray fully grown maize.
The sprayer folds into a compact unit when moving it from one farm to another. This strategic mobility makes it easy for the farmer to combat pests and plagues without delays or loss of time.
James adjusted his sprayer to apply herbicide correctly at a speed of 16 km/h. This enables him to spray up to 250 ha/day.
The final consideration in any acquisition of farming equipment remains price. “On 2500 hectares I can fully pay for this sprayer in five years, James claims. “Should I also spray for other farmers, this period might be even shorter.”
Valtrac was the first company to import self-propelled sprayers to South Africa with the Montana Parruda in 2003. A few years ago, Kuhn bought the Montana factory. With further development and improvement of the Parruda sprayers by Kuhn, combined with Valtrac’s legendary service, the Kuhn should remain the leading self-propelled sprayer in South Africa for a long time to come.