Amazone Sets New World Record in Crop Protection
Is it possible to cover an area of 1,000 ha with a crop protection application within 24 hours? This question can be now answered with an emphatic Yes: and with a treated area of 1,032 hectares in just 24 hours, the UX 11200 sprayer from Amazone has recently set a new world-record.
Converted into an average work rate, the Amazone UX 11200 – at 43 ha per hour - also set a second new record for output from today's modern crop protection technology. With its tank capacity of 12,000 l and tandem axle running gear, the UX 11200 is currently the biggest trailed sprayer in the Amazone range and equipped with a 40 m wide Super-L boom and pulled behind a 330 HP Fendt tractor.
It meant that during the course of the world-record attempt - and depending on the weather and field conditions - daytime speeds of 13 to 15 km/h and during the night – thanks to the absence of wind and dew formation on the plants – of 17 km/h. The sprayer was filled directly in the field from a 21,000 litre water bowser supplied by the company Annaburger along with a 1000 litre crop protection agent bulk container on the load platform of the towing vehicle, a Mercedes Benz Unimog.
The world-record operation, which was projected to last exactly 24 hours, started on September 3rd, 2014 at 12 o'clock at Golzow farm near the village of Golzow in Brandenburg. The farm covers, in total, an area of 6,490 ha and is representative of European crop protection conditions in practice and thus shows where the UX 11200 can fully demonstrate its strengths.
The actual treatment programme was, following on from harvesting rape the treatment of volunteer rape with glyphosate at an application rate of 100 l/ha of water across 15 different fields. The treatment was carried out with the full agreement of the farm’s crop protection manager. The nozzles utilised were TurboDrop High Speed from Agrotop in different sizes (025, 03, 04). However, during the entire 24 hours, only the 03 nozzles were used.
Due to the variation in stubble length and the emergence of the volunteer rape plants at different heights, the fields proved to be very uneven thus making it especially demanding on the boom guidance system on the sprayer. In addition, work was made even more difficult by pylons and irrigation points in the fields. Therefore, all these obstacles and exclusion zones were stored in the tractor terminal prior to the record attempt to warn the non-local drivers of these areas in good time. Also the tractor was equipped with an automatic steering system which was supplemented by an RTK correction signal via a mobile station. The sprayer was operated via an Amatron 3 in-cab terminal from Amazone, and the automated headland and part-width shut-off via the SectionControl software within the tractor’s terminal.
Almost 30 % non-productive time
The statistics created in the course of the world-record attempt, showed emphatically the effect of field size and shape on actual work rates: for field sizes between 40 and 124 ha and tramline lengths of approx. 0.5 to 1.5 km, this value ranged between 38 ha/h on the most unfavourable and 45 ha/h in the best fields. This represents a difference of 18 % in the area covered.
Even more noticeable was the importance of unavoidable non-productive periods. Compared with a theoretical acreage output of 60 ha/hour, there is a non-productive differential of 28 %. Here, thanks to the large tank capacity on the UX 11200, only 8 % of the non-productive periods was directly attributed to filling the sprayer. So, despite of the 103,200 litres of spray agent applied in total, the sprayer had to be refilled only ten times during its world-record course. Depending on the residual amount in the tank, the time needed for each filling procedure was between 10:55 min and 13:45 min and thus equated to just two hours in total.
Moving the sprayer between the different fields lost nearly 1.5 hours and thus approximately 6 % of the non-productive time. For this the sprayer and tractor combination had to cover, in total, a distance of almost 20 km. Finally, the majority of non-productive time was attributed to driving around pylons and irrigation points and turning on the 40 m wide headland. Despite the favourable field structure, this required a time expenditure of 3.5 hours in total and thus almost 15 % of the overall non-productive time.
The staff mainly responsible for the organisation and execution of the world-record attempt was the Amazone sales promotion team. So, the 24 hour world-record beating operation was divided into three shifts with three different sprayer drivers on a Fendt 933. Also working on these shifts were the drivers of the Unimogs with Annaburg tankers attached who were responsible for supplying the water and carrying out the filling procedure.
During the world-record attempt, a weather station was installed especially on the Golzow farm with numerous data recorded, such as wind speed, air temperature, humidity, etc. Directly on the side of the field, an additional mobile measuring facility was available to also measure wind speed, temperature and humidity in the field to allow, if necessary, reaction by a change of spray rate or by a complete break in the spraying procedure. However, conditions were almost completely constant with a wind speed during the day of 2 to 3 m/sec and at night next to nothing.
As a neutral observer of the world-record attempt, the editor of Traction magazine was present during the entire time. In addition, two students from the University of Soest monitored the procedure scientifically. Together with the manager responsible for crop protection at Golzow farm, they carried out the accurate analysis of all the treatments across the different fields. So all the crops prior to and after treatment were documented and additionally the application variables, such as spray agent usage, fuel consumption along with the times for filling and spraying registered.