Kent contractor develops driven-axle spreader

Compost, manure, lime, fertiliser, rooster pellets, fibrophos… you title it, Richard Moon’s home-built spreader can apply it – deposited in strips or chucked out in a 10m extensive band.

Based mostly in Sandhurst, Kent, the Moon contracting enterprise, operated by Richard and his father, Charles, began out as a mainstream lime, fertiliser and muckspreading firm again within the Nineties.

As we speak it nonetheless runs a Samson Flex 16, an Econ and a few Bredals for this standard work.

See additionally: Ejector trailers: What’s on provide and the way a lot do they value?

Nonetheless, the fast progress of the UK’s wine sector – in response to Wine GB, there was a 70% improve within the UK space below vines over the previous 5 years – has seen the Moons’ extra specialist work progressively dominate.

It now represents greater than 60% of the agency’s annual turnover — therefore the necessity for the “new” spreader.

Moon spreader working in the field

The Moon spreader has a workload that extends from October via to June. Energy comes from an 84hp MF 3640S © John Bourne and Co

The construct design transient

“Our older, home-built spreader, which we nonetheless run, does a great job, nevertheless it has its limitations,” says Mr Moon.

“It’s a single-axle machine that solely spreads compost and manure and, due to its slender width and comparatively tall sides, it may be unstable when travelling throughout the sloping floor and banks typically present in smaller, extra conventional vineyards.

“If it will get a lean on, there’s additionally an actual danger of the highest of the physique knocking the rows of vines and bushes.”

So, the design transient was clear for the brand new spreader.

It needed to have two powered axles, two-wheel/four-wheel steering, efficient braking, a 5-6t-capacity self-levelling hopper and the power to unfold a broader vary of supplies.

And it additionally needed to squeeze down a 2m-wide winery row.

The goal was to construct a machine with improved stability, security, moist floor efficiency and manoeuvrability.

“Backside line was we wished a extra versatile machine able to extracting itself from the trickier conditions we frequently encounter,” Mr Moon stated.

The Moons checked out what was accessible in the marketplace however couldn’t discover something that ticked all their packing containers.

So, in 2019, they determined to construct their very own. The part finances was about £10,000.

Charles Moon and Sons

  • Most important contracting enterprises Spreading throughout arable land, orchards, vineyards and hop gardens; GPS soil sampling
  • Supplies unfold Compost, manure, lime, fertiliser, rooster pellets, fibrophos
  • Space coated Predominantly Kent and Sussex however will journey farther
  • Equipment fleet
    * Tractors: 180hp John Deere 7530 with Quicke Q65 loader, 170hp John Deere 6170 with Quicke Q76 loader, 84hp MF 3640S, 95hp MF 3709S, 45hp MF 135
    * Basic-work spreaders: Samson Flex 16, Econ, and two Bredal spreaders
    * Slim-work spreaders: One home-built, single-axle spreader (compost and manure) and the featured twin-axle spreader (all supplies)

Making a begin

Step one was to discover a pair of axles with drive and steering, which was slender sufficient for a winery row.

The eventual supply was the rear axle off a JCB 520-40 telehandler. One axle was found in a breaker’s yard, the opposite on eBay – at a price of £1,000 apiece.

The axles’ authentic JCB wheels and tyres (15/55-17s) are nonetheless used for orchard work however, to shrink to the 1.6m total machine width requirement for winery purposes, the Moons acquired a set of wheels with 280/80 R18s.

The latter set’s rims needed to be modified – centres out and repositioned – to attain the mandatory chassis clearance for levelling and steering.

Modification was additionally required to the spreader’s two self-levelling rams, which had been purchased new.

They needed to be shortened by 50mm to create enough area for the ground chains when the muckspreader physique is on board.

As for the steering, one other two rams had been wanted. The eBay axle arrived with its personal ram — job completed — whereas the opposite got here with out. A used merchandise was shortly sourced.

Management of the levelling and steering rams is comparatively simple by way of solenoid valves.

The levelling rams are plumbed to present a level of self-levelling, with a solenoid enabling the operator to make guide tweaks from the cab.

In distinction, there are two solenoids for the steering, so the operator can management all 4 wheels or simply the rear pair, relying on the place the second solenoid is ready.

Electrical was the management technique of alternative, to minimise the variety of cables and pipework.

With axles on, and steering and levelling in place, the 100x150mm field part chassis began to take form.

The 2-/four-wheel steering comes into its personal on tight winery headlands. Basic apply is to journey down one avenue, miss two and again up the following. Distance between vine rows is usually 2m © John Bourne and Co

Drive and brakes

That is the place the challenge virtually foundered. “We priced up a brand new hydrostatic drive setup however, at £20,000-£30,000, it was clearly a non-starter,” says Mr Moon.

“A extra primary mechanical drive was by no means an possibility due to the necessity for variable journey velocity when spreading, so we opted to go together with our personal hydraulic system. Additionally, the JCB axles had no braking, which meant ranging from scratch there, too.”

Every axle has its personal brake drum and hydraulic motor. A prop from the axle hub is related to the brake drum by way of chain and shaft.

One other chain heads from the brake drum to a sprocket on the hydraulic motor, with a home-made, actuator-operated canine clutch in between.

The latter prevents the continuously spinning chains from damaging the motor when it’s in “impartial” and the spreader is freewheeling.

From the cab, the operator can choose between spreader drive modes — “ahead”, “impartial” and “reverse” — and differ the axle motor velocity by way of a solenoid-controlled movement valve.

The brakes are a easy and pretty commonplace agricultural association. The one ram operates the 2 drums, one drum on every axle.

Participating the brake stops the chain spinning and the hub from turning.

Moon winery/orchard spreader spec

  • Dimensions (l/w/h) 5m; 1.9m flotation tyres, 1.6m narrows; 2.5m
  • Capability As much as 6t of lime
  • Spreading width 10m band or laid in strip
  • Drive system Hydraulic motors, chain and shaft; pto-driven hydraulic pump
  • Levelling Two hydraulic rams
  • Steering Hydraulic two-wheel or four-wheel steer
  • Energy requirement About 90hp
  • Construct value £10,000 excluding labour

Energy and management

With all the important thing hydraulic parts crammed in, the ultimate chassis job was to offer them with energy.

Right here the selection was a pto-powered double hydraulic pump, supplying 30 litres/min for the steering/levelling and 140 litres/min for the spreader’s wheel drive.

A speed-increasing, on-board gearbox permits the MF 3640’s pto for use on the comparatively frugal 540eco setting, and there’s additionally a devoted, home-built oil tank that holds 120 litres.

As for management, that is by way of a nine-switch field that occupies the right-hand facet of the little Massey’s cab and takes care of all the primary chassis features — wheel drive velocity and route, two-/four-wheel steering, levelling — and a few of the spreader physique features, too.

Driven-axle spreader control box

No scarcity of management alternative – a complete of 9 switches takes care of a lot of the chassis/spreader features, whereas the little show display (high left) reveals ground belt velocity when the lime spreader is on board © John Bourne and Co

Spreader our bodies

Chassis accomplished, Mr Moon reckons that knocking up the 2 demountable spreader bins was the straightforward bit.

Spreader one includes a 5t bin, chain-and-slat ground and a few hydraulic motors — one for the ground and the opposite for the completely put in, front-mounted cross-conveyor.

The conveyor just isn’t demountable, so stays in place and is redundant when spreader two is in situ.

Spreader one handles all of the soiled stuff — compost and manure — with the cross-conveyor dropping the fabric in a slender strip, to the left or proper, alongside the bottom of the vines or orchard bushes.

Spreader two applies all the opposite supplies akin to lime, fertiliser and rooster pellets.

It boasts a similar-capacity bin, however instead of the chains and slats there’s a belt ground and rear-mounted spinning discs.

One hydraulic motor powers the ground, two extra spin the discs, and all three are piped to run off the one spool.

Each of the our bodies’ hydraulic doorways are powered by the tractor’s second spool valve.


Two years within the making and £10,000 of part value. So, was it value all of the aggravation and money?

“Completely,” says Mr Moon. “We now have a machine that’s extra manoeuvrable, safer to make use of and extra versatile.

“We are able to unfold up- and downhill, get ourselves out of difficult conditions in greasy circumstances, and on sloping floor the self-levelling means we’re much less more likely to injury the vines or bushes.

“The one draw back is that the machine is heavier, however the efficiency benefits greater than make up for this.”

Subsequent challenge? “To construct an analogous machine for Dad.”

Element prices (approx)

  • JCB axles (x2) £2,000
  • Hydraulic pumps £600
  • Gearbox £300
  • Hydraulic motors (x2) £400
  • Valves (x5) £1,000
  • Chassis metal £500
  • Wheels (units x 2) £1,500
  • Machining prices £1,000
  • Assorted different objects £2,700
  • Whole £10,000

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