Versatile sprayer helps bottom line in canola-wheat rotation

Grain Central, August 3, 2023

Southern NSW growers Nick and Joe (second from right) Lawless with Hamish Dalitz and Mario Mete, of Rural Group at Cobram, and John Hill, McIntosh Distribution, national distributor for Miller sprayers, recently caught up to update the performance of the Lawless family’s Miller Nitro 7380 sprayer used for spraying and swathing. Photo: McIntosh

SELF-PROPELLED sprayers are one of the biggest farm equipment investments, but southern New South Wales grower Nick Lawless recognised that by having a sprayer that also could windrow, it would save on employing a windrow contractor and help his bottom line.

This prompted him to upgrade from a 36-metre Goldacres tug-along sprayer with a 6500-litre tank to a front-mounted Miller Nitro SP sprayer with the same boom width and a 6100L tank, plus the option of its swather kit.

The ability to spray weeds while windrowing has proven a bonus for weed control.

Mr Lawless farms with his family in the Narrandera area and near Yarrawonga in Victoria and spends plenty of time on the sprayer in their continuous wheat-canola cropping enterprise.

“Hands-down, the sprayer is the most used machine on the farm,’’ Mr Lawless said.

From March last year through to the same time this season, the new Miller spray rig clocked 800
hours, working throughout the season and over summer.

That was part of the calculation Mr Lawless included with the cost of the new sprayer, compared with
investing in a new tractor and tug-along that both needed updating, and of course maintaining the
contract windrowing.

“The tractor never got unhooked from the sprayer to be used for anything else.’’

A 12m MacDon front is used for windrowing, and Mr Lawless said spraying under the cutterbar had
shown good early results.

“It was too wet for crop-topping last year and we only completed 200ha under the cutterbar.

“However, after 300mm of rain over summer, where we sprayed it only required one light summer spray, whereas everywhere else had three summer sprays.’’

The latest Miller Nitro 7000 Series sprayers have introduced more power, torque and fuel efficiency,
as well as improved driver experience, into the manufacturer’s range.

Featuring IVECO Tier 2 turbo-diesel engines, the Lawless family’s 7380 model offers up 383 peak horsepower with 1459NM of torque, while the 7420 model delivers 434 peak horsepower with
1629NM of torque.

A hydrostatic Danfoss pump system featuring electronically-controlled variable displacement, bent axis drive motors and integrated Fairfield Torque-Hub planetary final drives provide improved drive performance.

The drive motors supply greater torque at all speeds, while the weight distribution has been carefully designed to ensure it remains within 4 percent of 50:50 balance during spraying.

Miller’s IntelliSpray pulse width modulation (PWM) nozzle system for high resolution, on-the-go
nozzle control was another key attraction for Nick.

“If the wind picks up and we are concerned about drift, we can drop the pump pressure down from
4-bar to 2-bar and it will automatically adjust the duty cycle to maintain the spray pattern,’’ he said.

“The IntelliSpray (PWM) is particularly useful for maintaining the droplet size in our Victorian
country, where there are more trees and we are always slowing down and speeding up.’’

A Raven XRT high-resolution height-control system is further improving spray applications, ensuring
their boom remains at optimum spraying height for longer.

Mr Lawless has also praised the Miller 7000 Series front-mount design.

“With the visibility out the front, I don’t think we can go back now.’’

“The higher ground clearance with Miller Nitro sprayers is also excellent.”

The complete chassis and suspension system on the latest Miller sprayers was purposely designed
with added strength for the Australian market and four-wheel steer is available for those who need
to track on a singular tyre track to avoid issues.

Local tyres are selected for excellent flotation and reduced compaction.

The Miller Nitro unit sold to the Lawless family was the first to be sold by Rural Group’s Cobram branch, and Mr Lawless said branch manager Mario Mete and the team had provided excellent support for the machine.

Source: McIntosh Distribution


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