Fertiliser and lime spreading contractors Kookaburra Contracting, based near Reading have just taken delivery of a new Gustrower spreader from UK supplier Ryetec.
This spreader is different from the norm as rather than trailed behind a tractor it is mounted to an off road 4x4 truck from German manufacturer MAN, well known for their military and specialist off road vehicles.
David Temple, managing director of Kookaburra explain the reasoning for their decisions to move away from tractor trailed spreaders was the high volume of road work that as a specialist spreading contractor they were being asked to do more and more.
"Despite the improvement in modern tractors and their faster road speeds," said David, "we realised that we needed a machine purpose built to tackle our high road use combined with excellent off road capability and power to carry out the job quickly and efficiently and with as much driver comfort as possible," he added.
The fuel economy of the truck based MAN power unit is much better on the road than a tractor and better in the field, combine this with a top speed of 40mph (The legal limit in the UK for an Agricultural machine with full suspension) even though as a truck it is designed for 56mph along with a high and low range transfer gearbox giving 24 gears and full automatic or tiptronic operation and a 290hp engine with 340hp optional even when wet.
David chose the Gustrower after years of experience with belt type spreaders, "the chain and slat conveyors positive feed and steep sided hopper gives us the edge as it virtually removes any chance of material bridging, or sticking in the hopper when spreading wet material, and the Gustrowers unique and easy to use adjustment of spread pattern mean we can spread any type of product with any moisture content accurately and with no fuss," David commented.
David also specified a sleeper cab on the MAN and explained the reasoning "we can travel 70-80 miles from base thanks to demand for our specialist services and if a job takes more than a day then there is so much wasted time traveling home late at night only to return early next morning when often the best conditions for spreading are at the beginning and end of the day. Now we can start a job in the evening, bed down for the night and start again next morning sometimes eliminating up to 4 hour traveling, turning this 4 hour traveling in to 4 hours spreading means we expect the MAN/Gustrower combination to replace two tractor and trailed spreader combinations, keeping us more competitive and offering our customers a much prompter service."
Ryetec have already taken a second order for this combination for contactor R J Cutting based near Ipswich, and can supply the combination in full agricultural spec including a range of tyre options from 445mm to 750mm wide and GPS variable rate with the ability to spread any agricultural soil improving material from high quality fertilisers up to 42 metres wide, to lime, gypsum, limex and fibrophos.
The MAN also has the ability to tow a low loader and telehandler for a totally independent operation.