Last year Agco announced it was “retiring” its SpraCoupe brand of sprayers, which catered to farmers who want smaller-sized application equipment. That left Agco with just its RoGator and TerraGator lines of higher-capacity machines. But with the recent announcement of the pending introduction of the RG700 RoGator, it’s clear the company still sees a market demand for sprayers with a smaller tank capacity.
“The fact is when you look at the sprayer industry in North America it has almost tripled in size since the early 2000s,” says Mark Sharitz, Agco’s director of marketing for application, tillage and seeding equipment. “It’s the market above 1,200 gallons (tank capacity) that has really exploded. But the market that has remained the same size is that less-than-800 category. It’s a segment we couldn’t afford to walk away from.”
The SpraCoupe brand “had mechanical drive and quite a different platform, and due to compliance issues with Tier 4 interim (engine emissions regulations), we just weren’t able to extend that brand with all the updates it was going to require.”
The RoGator RG700, which has a 700-gallon tank capacity, will soon give Agco dealers a machine that appeals to owner-operators and to family farms that can’t justify the investment in larger sprayers — and might have continued to look to the SpraCoupe brand.
“It’s very much sized for most of the grower operations,” adds Sharitz. And it makes most of the standard RoGator features available in a compact model.
The RG700 uses the same hydrostatic all-wheel drive system its larger brothers do. And the Agco system is capable of minimizing wheel spin by monitoring each drive motor and channelling fluid flow to wheels with the best traction. But the transmission in the smaller sprayer is different. It’s controlled by the kind of simple propulsion lever common to CVT designs.
“This has a different drive system, it’s hydrostatic drive but it operates very much like a CVT transmission,” explains Sharitz. “It has much the same drive characteristics as the larger RoGators have.”
The RoGators’ standard flexible C-channel frame also helps improve traction by keeping all wheels on the ground. “It’s not a rigid frame and it flexes as you go over the field,” he adds.
Under the hood, a 165-horsepower, four-cylinder Agco Power diesel engine provides the muscle. “This (engine) has incredible torque reserves,” Sharitz continues. “It’s at least as good as what a traditional six-cylinder engine with similar displacement would have.”
Buyers will get a choice of two adjustable track widths. A narrow version with manual adjustments from 72 to 88 inches, or one with a wider stance of 90 to 120 inches, which can be changed hydraulically. At the back, boom width for the narrow-tracked machine is 60/80 feet and 80/90 feet for the wide-track version. With a full tank, weight distribution is 50-50 on both axles.
The RG700 is available with Agco’s standard boom controller or an optional Raven Viper system.
Operators won’t get quite as much office space on this model as they do on the larger 900-, 1,100- and 1,300-gallon models. The RG700 comes with a little smaller cab, but it sports the same overall “family styling.”
Production will begin this fall, when the smaller model will begin rolling down the assembly line in Jackson, Minnesota, with the larger RoGator models. Canadian farmers can get their first look at the RG700 in Woodstock, Ont. from Sept. 10 through 12 at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show.
— Scott Garvey is machinery editor for Grainews. “E-Quip Blog with Scott Garvey” is in between platforms right now but will appear, in the meantime, here in the Daily News feed on the AGCanada.com Network. Follow Scott @machineryeditor on Twitter.