Accurate fertiliser spreading has long been a priority for Cumbrian
farmers Mark and Charlie Jones, but entry of Low Plains Farm, Calthwaite,
into a Countryside Stewardship scheme last autumn has placed even
greater importance on this job.
Charlie Jones and his Kuhn spreader.
Farming 400 acres of arable crops on their Eden Valley unit, the
Jones’ have always insisted on buying top quality fertiliser
and spreading it with a reliable and accurate machine.
This ensures the best results from their cereals and potatoes
enterprises, and makes the most efficient use of increasingly costly
Within the Countryside Stewardship Level 1 requirements, fertiliser
(and sprays) cannot be spread on the buffer strips that now exist
in varying widths around the farm, and hence there is now a greater
focus on the border spreading capability of their spreader.
“We operated a Kuhn MDS 1132 spreader before and were very
happy with its performance overall,” said Charlie Jones.
“This machine could be set for border spreading, but this
would involve getting off the tractor and making adjustments to
the vanes on the discs. Given the increased frequency of border
spreading with the introduction of buffer strips, we decided to
look at an automated system that would ultimately save us a lot
Field borders require fertilizer to be spread with an accurate
Kuhn offers a number of border spreading options on its machines,
including automated cab-operated facilities that can be retrofitted
to MDS spreaders. This system is called Telimat and comprises an
hydraulically operated arm supporting an arrangement of stainless
steel deflector fins, which – when positioned in the path
of the fertiliser – accurately controls its direction and
distribution at the field margins.
The system is operated by a single-acting ram, which pushes the
unit into position, and a spring that lifts it out of position.
Calibration involves two key adjustments, including the distance
of the fins from the spreading discs (set according to fertiliser
type), and the angle of the fins within the unit (set according
to working width). The Telimat system operates on Kuhn’s
MDS spreaders and also on the new Axis machine launched this season.
“We looked at the option of having the Telimat system fitted
to our MDS 1132 spreader but decided in the end that it would be
as cost effective to buy one of the new Axis spreaders with the
system included,” adds Charlie Jones.
”The Axis is the next generation spreader from Kuhn, and
it retains all the features that we liked on the MDS, including
its simplicity and ease of use – and of course the accuracy.”
Although many of the features on the Axis remain from the MDS
range, the heart of the machine – its distribution system – is
state-of-the-art new technology.
Axis has the ability to maintain consistently accurate spread
patterns automatically at varying forward speeds and/or application
rates and can also achieve an unprecedented maximum mass flow rate
of up to 500 kg/minute – which may well be relevant to the
Jones’ when spreading on their potato ground.
Both of these key attributes are the result of patented distribution
technology, known as Coaxial Distribution Adjustment (CDA), and
are the main reasons why the Axis is being positioned as a new
generation of fertiliser spreader offering tangible benefits within
progressive agriculture, including precision farming applications.
The Telimat system offers similar accuracy to the standard border
spreading system on Kuhn’s MDS spreaders. As with Kuhn’s
other border spreading systems, calibration charts for Telimat
are designed for settings in the Optimum Yield Position (where
some fertiliser will go over the boundary edge) or the Optimum
Environment Position (where no fertiliser goes over the boundary
and a yield penalty is accepted).
In the Jones’ case, the Optimum Environment Settings will
apply, and they can have full confidence in their machine’s
ability to meet their stewardship obligations for fertiliser spreading.
It goes without saying that they will also continue to make best
use of inputs, and their winter wheat, barley and oats crops – the
latter being grown on contract for Quaker – will continue
to achieve the very best quality output.
“We won’t see the final results from our Axis spreader
until we harvest the crops in the summer,” concludes Charlie
Jones, “but we’ve certainly no complaints at this stage. “The
automatic border spreading systems has been effective and has saved
us a lot of time, and our crops all look very even and application
rates have been accurate.”
Spreading at Low Plains is currently done to 21 metres, but the
plan is to increase the tramlines to 24 metres from next season,
a move that will be well within the capabilities of the Axis spreader.
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