HARDI Australia has just launched a new turn compensation technology for wide spray booms, called H-SELECT, and it could save farmers 5% to 7% in chemical usage.
Having introduced Australian broadacre growers to the benefits of low-weight aluminium booms and the country’s largest self-propelled sprayer – the 9,000 litre RUBICON – HARDI says H-SELECT offers some unique advantages.
H-SELECT uses 4-head nozzle bodies arrayed in individual or selected boom sections. An autonomous controller manages each section’s speed against the set spray rate, then switches the nozzle heads on and off rapidly and precisely in order to achieve consistent spray delivery across the turning boom.
Unlike pressure adjusted turn compensation, which affects fluid velocity and therefore nozzle performance, switching between nozzle heads means the flow rate can be continually adjusted without ever compromising the size or speed of the droplets produced. Along with accurate rate delivery, that consistency is critical to effective crop penetration and drift control.
The system also allows the operator to set and change the nozzle droplet size on the go, using H-SELECT’s in-cab Run Screen. It means a farmer can adjust their target droplet size to suit the day’s crop, coverage rate and spraying conditions. While similar switching technologies have appeared with two- or three-nozzle heads, HARDI says the four-nozzle solution is essential for covering the full range of delivery rates needed while turning wide booms around obstacles or in headland.
‘If you’re making a 50 m radius turn at 20 km/h,’ explains HARDI Product Manager for Self-Propelled Sprayers Steven Lancaster, ‘the inner end of a 48.5 m boom will slow down to just 10.3 km/h while the outer tip will accelerate to 29.7 km/h.’ ‘In other words the tip-to-tip speed range of 19.4 km/h is almost equal to the forward speed of the sprayer, and the flow rate will need to double across the boom.’
HARDI says H-SELECT technology integrates seamlessly with the existing systems on its largest RUBICON sprayers with their 48.5 m booms. The controller operates on the same electronics platform as the Rubicon’s existing ISOBUS, which neatly avoids potential compatibility issues or conflicts.
In fact H-SELECT is already being proven in the field. Since May 2018, HARDI Dealer Belle Vue Trading, located in Warracknabeal, Victoria, has put two H-SELECT equipped RUBICON 9000s with 48.5 m booms onto farms in the Wimmera area. These are closely monitored and supported by HARDI technical staff from Adelaide, and Rubicon-trained staff from Belle Vue Trading’s service department.
HARDI Australia points to the local systems and performance testing as key benefits of its H-SELECT deployment. ‘We not only bring the world’s leading sprayer technologies to Australia’, says Steven Lancaster, ‘but we adapt, test and support it here too.’
‘For the farmer with paddocks to prepare and a season’s valuable crop to protect, that’s a big advantage over simply offloading technology from a ship and hoping you don’t need to call a support team on the other side of the world.’
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