AGCO has decided to “retire” the 50-year-old SpraCoupe brand in favour of its more popular Gator sprayer lines
Citing the need to comply with EPA emissions regulations and diminishing sales volumes, AGCO recently announced it will discontinue production of its line of SpraCoupe compact, self-propelled sprayers for the North American market in 2013.
Mark Sharitz, AGCO’s marketing director for application equipment, said production of all SpraCoupe 2013 models — including the 4460, 4660, 7460 and 7660 models — will continue only through to May. After that, the company will just manufacture SpraCoupe parts, which will remain available to machine owners along with service support from their SpraCoupe dealers, he said.
For roughly the past 50 years, SpraCoupe-brand sprayers have had widespread distribution across North America. Their appeal was primarily to farmers who wanted smaller, self-propelled application equipment. Not surprisingly, the number of farmers who fit into this market segment has been steadily shrinking, reflecting fewer, smaller farms and a growing number of larger operations.
Sharitz said that market shift combined with the cost required to upgrade the SpraCoupe machines to Tier 4 emissions compliance have made it impractical to continue the brand.
“Our SpraCoupe brand has enjoyed a proud, 50-year heritage of serving farmers’ application needs, and we thank our customers for their confidence in our quality AGCO products,” he said. “This was a difficult decision, but a necessary step for AGCO to maintain its leading position in the application industry.”
RoGator, TerrGator and telematics
All of that means AGCO will limit its sprayer line-up to the much larger RoGator and TerraGator models after 2013. And The RoGator line, the most comparable to the SpraCoupes, was given some updates for this model year. Most notably, the company’s AGCOMMAND telematics systems along with a no-charge, one-year subscription will now come standard on the all three models, the RG900, RG1100 and RG1300.
“Telemetry-based tracking is becoming less of a trend and more of an invaluable tool, particularly for agri-retailers and large-scale farm operations that manage fleets of machinery,” said Craig Jorgensen, business development specialist for AGCO. “Knowing where your machines are and how well they are performing at all times virtually cuts out any guesswork and helps operators move more intuitively and productively.”
The company is proud of the AGCO Power engines now offered in the RoGator line and points to improved fuel economy in the current Interim Tier IV-compliant versions. “When you estimate running your machine for 600 hours each year with diesel prices at four dollars per gallon, the savings add up quickly,” says Paul Haefner, AGCO Application Equipment product marketing specialist.
Among the other options now available for the RoGator models is the Norac UC5 spray-height controlNsystem. Ultrasonic sensors on each boom section maintain a constant spray height across the full operating width, eliminating the need for an operator to manually control boom height to ensure proper adjustment and prevent machine damage.
And there is the GatorTrak four-wheel steering option. It’s designed to minimize crop damage during headland turns. When activated, the rear axle automatically adjusts to place its wheels in the tracks left by those on the front axle. That minimizes the amount of crop trampled in the field.
It’s now possible to equip the smallest model, the RG900, with a spinner box, so all three models are now wet, dry or combination ready.
In all, RoGators offer four boom width choices between 80 and 120 feet. Those booms also offer improved plumbing and air aspirators for better on-off times. The RoGators’ current body design, which was introduced a couple of years ago, also incorporates some visibility improvements over previous models to help the operator see better when the booms are folded up alongside the cab. Sitting in the seat, it’s clearly much easier to side to each side, which makes road travel much safer.
“We’ve poured a tremendous amount of engineering and design into the RoGator over the past few years,” says Sharitz. †