Pro Operator

ISObus updates older sprayer – Autumn ’20 edition

What's in your cab Bill Lowe

When Bill Lowe, manager at Whitehouse Farm, Puddington, Cheshire, recently bought a tidy, second-hand self-propelled to replace a mounted sprayer, he also upgraded the 22-year old machine with a new terminal and ISObus control.

Q. What sprayer do you use?

A. We have recently taken on some more land so we traded up from a 1,200-litre mounted machine to a 24m, a light and very tidy Case SP 3000.  Although it was built in 1998 it has only done 8,000hrs, but it came with only a basic rate controller, which needed upgrading.

Q. What are your main crops?

A. We have just increased our area to 350ha, which includes 180ha of winter wheat, 28ha winter barley, 94ha of maize and 44ha of potatoes. The new sprayer has not only boosted capacity by 150%, it’s also massively increased the ground clearance, which is helping with late sprays on cereals and foliar feeds on the maize crop.

Q. What terminal do you use?

A. We already had a John Deere 4240 ISObus terminal for use on other tractors and the larger farm business is all GreenStar, so it made sense to stick with using this. I also use the terminal in a New Holland tractor for drilling maize and have access to an RTK signal.

My son-in-law, Tommy Adams, is the Group Precision Ag Manager for Rea Valley Tractors, so obviously I turned to him to for advice on how I could update the sprayer to enable me to benefit from the latest technology. We also applied for and received a grant from the Countryside Productivity Scheme to help pay for the updates.

 

John Deere 4240 ISObus terminal

Q. What does this control?

A. The sprayer is fitted with a JD 6000 receiver and Tommy recommended connecting the terminal to an Ag Leader ISObus auto-rate control module with a manual switch box for the sections and master on/off. Two technicians from Rea Valley Tractors, Matthew Jones and Charlie Henderson, installed the new system and they made a very neat and tidy job – I’m really pleased and impressed.

Q. How does this all work?

A. It all works well through the JD 4240 screen – the Ag Leader module operates like any other ISObus implement, with the sprayer control pages appearing on the screen. As well as controlling the rate it also provides auto-section control, field and boundary mapping, job recording and mapping.

Q. Is the terminal easy to use?

A. Yes, it’s such a huge leap forward over our previous sprayer. The technology and control this system offers makes the job even more enjoyable. The screens can be customised to suit my requirements, with mapping, sprayer controls and applications available individually or mix and match. The whole system can be connected to a dongle in the back of controller, connected straight to the home farm computer, which all helps to give me more time to look at the crops.

in cab screen

Q. Any ideas for the future?

A. Yes. Currently the sprayer only operates with four 6m wide sections. It will be good to reduce those to possibly 2m wide, which will greatly improve accuracy and also make further savings.

Q. Do you remove the screen?

A. Yes we swap it between tractors, but I take it out every night. I am paranoid about security because we have had thefts before. It is such a huge advance I don’t want to lose it.

Q. What else is in your cab?

A. As little as possible, the installation is so neat it has tidied the cab up so much by removing all excess wiring. So apart from the screen and Ag Leader controller, there is only an iPad for Gatekeeper records, and everything else is put away.

 

Get a grant

Full details on the Countryside Productivity Scheme can be found HERE

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