Amazone’s CEO, Christian Dreyer, told farm journalists that the company intended to focus on integrating sophisticated technology into its implements during a media field day in Germany in September. The brand’s fertilizer spreaders will be no exception.
Two updated ZG-TS pull-type spreader models made their debut at that field day. With tank capacities of 212 and 283 bushels, these machines make the basic dry fertilizer spreaders most Canadian farmers are used to working with seem as old fashioned as horse-drawn implements.
Using a single-axle design with large tires, the spreaders have a forward sloping product tank to keep an even weight distribution on the tires and tractor hitch. Another reason for the sloping design is to accommodate the steerable axle, which can pivot up to 28 degrees to keep the spreader following exactly in the tractor’s tire tracks. The axle can also automatically counter-steer on steep hillsides to keep the spreader trailing accurately. At speeds above 25 km/h the steer feature cuts out and the wheels track in a normal straight-ahead manner, allowing for road speeds of up to 60 km/h.
And the tank is mounted on four weigh cells that feed information to the implement computer. When combined with GPS, the computer can evaluate the amount of area covered and compare that to the amount of fertilizer spread and determine if the correct application rate is being met. It can also calculate the amount of fertilizer that should be loaded to finish a field.
At the back, the twin stainless steel spreader discs can throw product across a 54 metre (177 foot) wide area, and they can do that at a top field speed of 30 km/h. The spreader can feed up to 650 kilograms per minute of product to the spreaders to make that speed possible.
The system can also spread a “border” pattern, limiting the throw on one side to work along a field edge. It also ensures the spread pattern doesn’t thin at the extreme edge of the pattern along the field border. The DynamicSpread option allows for section control to limit overlap in irregularly shaped field sections.
And rather than stay parked on a windy day waiting for the weather to improve, the WindControl option on ZG-TS models will let them go to work in generally poor conditions. There is an on-board anemometer to measure wind speed and direction and it detects gusts, giving that information to the computer. That allows it to compensate by changing the disc speed and position on each side of the spreader. To confirm the spread is accurate, WindControl also uses 14 radar monitors to evaluate the pattern. If the wind becomes too strong for the system to compensate, it sends an automatic alarm to the operator.
For those operators who want to make a manual evaluation of the spread pattern, Amazone offers a special App for cell phones that makes spread analysis quick and easy. A series of purple-coloured mats are laid out to collect fertilizer granules. The operator takes a picture of each matt and the App can do an evaluation of the spread accuracy and make recommendations. The app is available for download free from the App Store.
And to keep the hydraulic demands on a tractor down, the ZG-TS spreaders can be ordered with a hybrid drive system. That includes an on-board hydraulic pump to drive some components and reduce the demands on the tractor hydraulics. That, claims the brand, allows the spreader to be pulled by a smaller or lower spec’d tractor.