Spreading 60,000-70,000t of material annually with just one spreader, Diarmuid Gryson runs one of, if not the busiest dung spreaders in Ireland.
A business almost solely based on drawing and spreading dung and bulk materials, Diarmuid took delivery of the very first Agri-Spread HBS spreader to come off the production line in early spring.
Dubbed as the new Pro+ HBS Series, these machines feature twin horizontal rotors which feed two large rotating spreading discs for increased output and precision spreading of bulk manures.
In 2015, Diarmuid took on a contract to deliver and spread the compost from a local mushroom house. The compost was distributed to local tillage farmers and he spread is using a Danish-built Samson SP12, 12t vertical beater dung spreader which he purchased secondhand.
The following year he started drawing and spreading bio solids and dairy sludges for a waste company, while using their 25t Bergmann tandem-axle horizontal beater spreader with discs to apply the waste materials. This was being pulled using a Claas Axion 850. Diarmuid soon progressed further, and bought the spreading equipment off the company.
In 2017, the spreading workload was continuing to grow and Diarmuid made the decision to trade the Bergmann spreader in for a new HiSpec Excel 1250.
At this stage, technology was beginning to play more and more of a role in Diarmuid’s business. As a result, no money was spared in the spreader and it came fully loaded with weigh cells and a rate controller etc.
Last year, Diarmuid felt it was time to upgrade his machine once again.
“I looked at the several brands before my dealer Mid-Louth Garage introduced me to Agri-Spread. I found them to be a dream to work with- nothing was a problem and they were willing to tweak any features and designs I was after.
“This was the very first horizontal beater dung spreader with discs that they built and this was the type of machine I was after. I feel a horizontal machine with discs offers a more even spread with the best chop length and the widest spreading width. With vertical machines, we struggled to get past 6-8m, whereas today we are spreading 12-14m.
“When Agri-Spread had my machine designed, they invited me down and thoroughly went through the drawings of the machine’s design to ensure I was happy with all aspects.” Diarmuid completed the deal for the machine in December and took delivery in early March.”
The new spreader series features a monocoque design, meaning the chassis is integrated into the body. Driven off Walterscheid PTO shafts, it is operated at a PTO speed of 1,000rpm. The material is fed to the horizontal beaters by a single-piece floor slat. Agri-Spread said it is using double 20mm pre-stretched heavy-duty (Grade 80) marine chains on the hydraulically driven floor.
The spreader is guarded by three different protection systems. The floor gearbox is protected by a preset crossflow relief valve on the motor that drives the floor. By cutting out when hitting a certain pressure, it protects both the beaters and the floor drive mechanism. The floor can also be reversed if a blockage occurs. The wide-angle PTO shaft is protected by an M10, 8.8-rated shear bolt. A cam clutch system protects the beater gearbox.
The shaft-driven rear horizontal balanced twin rotors are equipped with 12mm boron flights. These are designed to shred the material before feeding it on to the adjustable large diameter 1,085mm discs with twin paddles which spread the material up to 24m, depending on its density.
The machine featured is loaded with all the technology available from the Mayo company. It’s equipped with weigh cells which work through Isobus as an auto rate controller. In Diarmuid’s case, he runs the tractor on a Claas Axion 830, and uses the Isobus through the tractor’s S10 terminal.
When starting a new job, parameters such as the application rate (t/ha) are entered on the terminal. The machine then has the capability of adjusting the floor speed automatically on the move to achieve the set application rate. The weigh cells feed back the load remaining in the spreader to the terminal at all stages, while data such as beater and disc speed can also be seen on the terminal.
The spreader can also be specified with a range of Isobus terminals.
With an unladen weight of 8,450kg, the unit is designed to offer a spreading width of up to 24m. However, those who spread dung and such products will be well aware spreading width with such products will all depend on the density and quality of the material. In most cases, Diarmuid is spreading compost to 12-14m. Meanwhile, he has recently begun using the spreader to apply lime and after tray testing is now confident it can accurately apply the product to a 10m bout width.
The new HBS series comes in addition to Agri-Spread’s existing range of vertical beater 6-18t spreader offerings. There are three spreader models in the new range – 14000, 16000 and 18000 – which are designed to spread a range of manure types, with an internal floor width of 1,600mm. The Mayo manufacturer explained to the Irish Farmers Journal that smaller models with floor width of 1,500mm are planned in the future.
The spreaders are shot-blasted and painted with two-pack paint before being oven baked. At present, the range is only available in a single-axle version.
The range come with a fixed, swivel or spoon hitch and with the option of a sprung drawbar. Hydraulic brakes, parking brake and a headboard are standard with LED lighting, while air brakes are optional. The unit comes shod on 580/70 R38 BKT, 10 stud wheels on 150mm square commercial axles with 420x180 S-Cam drum brakes.
This machine is fitted with a hydraulic double-acting slurry door and a rear rotor hydraulic canopy door, which feature an adjustable spring-loaded hood drop point with a border control limiter.
Diarmuid specified the spreader with a ball hitch, a direction he went several years ago with his entire fleet of machinery.
He noted that it cuts out the slapping and banging on the road and reduces wear. Agri-Spread has said the new range will be available in limited numbers for 2023.
“I am genuinely delighted with the machine. I’ve never had a machine come into the yard that I have been so impressed with,” said Diarmuid.
“In terms of output, when being loaded with the same spreader driver, output is in the region of 50t/h, while with a dedicated loader driver in good conditions output can increase up to 80t/h. The only tweak we might make to the machine would be to increase the height of the drawbar from the ground slightly.
“I found Agri-Spread to be a very willing and helpful company, nothing was a problem with them. To date, the machine has spread over 50,000t of material and it is performing brilliantly. The on-board technology is extremely accurate and the build quality is second to none, there is no wear or tear visible so far,” he added.
“My next step will hopefully be a new self-propelled machine which I am working on with Agri-Spread at the minute.
“After spreading such a volume, all that we had to invest in the machine was six shear bolts!
“We are looking at mounting a new spreader on a new military-spec Renault 8x8 truck unit, shod on 750 ag tyres all-round.
“The reason behind this is as it stands, two tractors are involved in the spreading process – one pulls the spreader and the other pulls a low loader which either carries an excavator or a telehandler for loading the material.
“In my opinion, a €100,000 tractor sitting on a headland all day isn’t economically viable.
“I want to run a self-propelled spreader which will have the physical and legal capabilities of pulling the excavator and low loader as a drag unit, cutting out the need for a second tractor. That way, the second driver can follow in a van and also cut out the need for me to collect the team every evening. It would help streamline the process.
“I think that an 8x8 truck unit on such tyres would actually travel better than the tractor and spreader, as there would be no drag on it,” Diarmuid concluded.
Model: HBS Pro+ 18000.
Unladen weight: 8,450kg.
Max spreading width: up to 24m
Min hp requirement: 200hp.
PTO speed: 1,000rpm.
Tyres: BKT 580/70 R38.
Starting price: €70,000 plus VAT (£60,000 plus VAT).