Danny Milazzo was the runner-up in final 12 months’s Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year competitors and is head sprayer operator for veg grower Drysdales, based mostly in Berwickshire.
He operates one of many agency’s two Fendt Rogator 645s and provides us his view on its efficiency.
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- Operator Danny Milazzo
- Company Drysdales, Cockburnspath, Berwickshire
- Farm measurement 816ha, mixture of heavy clay to sand
- Crops grown Brussel sprouts (504ha), swedes (232ha) and leeks (80ha)
- Sprayer used Fendt Rogator 645
What sprayer are you utilizing?
We have a pair of ex-demo Fendt Rogator 645s on 4-12 months lease offers.
They changed a ten-12 months-outdated Multidrive 6195 with a Knight demount spray pack and a 3-12 months-outdated self-propelled Bargam, each of which had a 4,000-litre tank and 24m growth.
The transfer to five,000 litres and 36m has been a recreation-changer when it comes to output, significantly as we typically find yourself making 10 separate passes over the identical crop in a single season.
As a end result, we’ve shaved the very best a part of 200 hours off our annual spraying time.
© Danny Milazzo
We additionally thought-about Amazone’s Panterra, which ran the Rogator shut when it comes to consolation.
But it was driveline efficiency that made the distinction and there was no comparability when it got here to climbing a few of our hillier fields with a full tank of chemical.
What extras did you match on it?
We have particular person nozzle management, which I believe is a greater steadiness of accuracy and price than pulse-width modulation.
One of the machines has manually adjusted 5-means our bodies, whereas the opposite has the electrically managed 2+2 Dualselect setup.
This means I can run two nozzles by a single line and it’ll robotically swap between them to take care of droplet measurement, which has helped minimise drift.
We even have completely different auto growth peak programs, with one operating Norac’s established 5-sensor UC5 and the second fitted with Fendt’s Optisonic, which we’ve improved so that every one six sensors work, regardless of whether or not we’re spraying at 24m or 36m.
© MAG/Oliver Mark
Prior to the improve, we had been having issues preserving the booms at an correct peak when engaged on the swede beds, as they’re sprayed at 24m to go well with the width of the Enviromesh netting.
The design of the “particular fold” booms meant that solely 4 of the sensors had been operational when the 3m suggestions had been swung in.
As a end result, the usual sensor positions didn’t line up with the crop rows and the levelling system was mucking us round by taking readings from the soil somewhat than the highest of the crop, so we regularly ended up switching it off and operating in guide mode.
But Fendt tweaked the software program and adjusted the place of the sensors in order that we are able to use all six when the growth is folded to 24m, which is much extra correct.
They now line up with the crop rows, with one positioned about 2m in from the centre, one other at 9m and the final one on the tip.
One additional we haven’t received, however which I’d like, is a closed-switch system for filling.
The Hypro Pentair model seems to be good, although by the point the EasyConnect caps are extensively accessible it should in all probability make sense to attend and order it on our new sprayers in a few years’ time.
We’d want it absolutely built-in into the machines, somewhat than carting round standalone setups, as we’re on the street all day and barely fill from the identical place.
How has it carried out?
Like loads of different Rogators, ours suffered from moisture ingress that brought on the growth wiring loom to corrode inside 500 hours.
We had it changed on each machines final summer time and adopted Fendt’s advice to get a like-for-like substitute harness, somewhat than the upgraded model with completely different plugs – simply in case it brought on any additional faults.
Other than that, it has been nice. As we discovered once we first demoed the Rogator, the even weight distribution means it travels surprisingly properly regardless of it being 12.2t empty, and diesel consumption isn’t too dangerous, besides when it’s working arduous on tender floor.
© MAG/Oliver Mark
The different huge plus is that it’s extremely snug on the street and within the subject. It’s far much less tiring to drive than the earlier machines, which is essential once we are clocking up so many miles travelling between fields which can be as much as 60 miles aside.
The hydrostatic transmission is sweet too, and since there are separate pumps for the wheel motors and spray pack, there may be at all times loads of energy for lengthy, uphill drags.
We had a minor downside with a defective valve that brought on the rear wheels to steer slower than the fronts, however that was simple sufficient to repair.
Both machines additionally suffered from oil leaks on the steering valve block, which was attributable to an iffy seal. It’s apparently fairly a typical downside on Rogators.
Danny Milazzo © MAG/Oliver Mark
What are your go-to nozzles?
I are likely to run at 300 litres/ha for optimum protection. My go-to caps are asymmetrical Lechler twin flat IDTAs with ceramic suggestions for pre-emergence and the primary diet utility.
For first-stage fungicide and insecticide purposes I swap to Lechler IDK and IDKTs, which produce a high-quality/medium droplet for optimum protection.
Then I am going again to the IDTAs when the crop cover has actually thickened out, as they produce coarse, heavy droplets that penetrate a standing crop.
© MAG/Oliver Mark
What’s your spray retailer and fill-up space like?
The unfold of our fields means we’re consistently working from completely different websites so, in the course of the peak of summer time once we’re at our busiest, we use a 12,000-litre bowser and a few IBCs to maintain each machines operating flat out.
The chemical retailer is at our essential depot – we are likely to refill there within the morning and tow a few trailers containing all of the chemical to the completely different blocks of land.
We have additionally just lately gone paperless with the suggestions, so the knowledge could be despatched to an iPad within the cab display, which has simplified issues.
Likes and gripes
✔ 50/50 weight distribution
✔ Supreme operator consolation
✔ Good turning circle
✘ Wiring loom issues
✘ Leaky steering valve
✘ Steering typically sluggish to react
Fendt Rogator 645 stats
- Price £280,000
- Year 2019 (ex-demo)
- Hours 1,743
- Engine 7.4-litre, six-cylinder Agco Power
- Power 235hp
- Transmission Hydrostatic
- Road velocity 50kph
- Tank measurement 5,000 litres
- Rinse tank 500 litres
- Nozzles Five-body on one; 2+2 Dualselect on the opposite
- Auto shut-off Individual nozzle
- Boom levelling Norac UC5 on one; Fendt Optisonic on the opposite
- Guidance Novatel Terrastar-L
- Boom width 36m
- Wheel sizes Michelin VF 380/90 R54s and Bridgestone VT Tractor UF 650/65 R42s