Farm hits on winning combination – Summer ’20 edition
Jeremy Wheeler recently switched to a front- and rear-mounted combination and installed ISObus wiring on his tractor so he could benefit from the latest terminal technology to spray his 140ha of arable crops at Bulley Farm, Churcham, Glous.
Q. What sprayer do you use?
A. I have recently replaced a small self-propelled with a new mounted, Vicon iXter B18 with 1,800-litre tank, along with an iXtra Pro, 1,100-litre front tank. Together the combination not only has a similar capacity to the self-propelled, but at half the cost. It also comes with much higher level of technology and offers much better options.
The 24m wide boom is equipped with GeoControl auto-section control and Boom Guide levelling – using two sensors. It also has Ergodrive, which automatically raises and lowers the boom at the headlands.
I have also fitted cameras to both sides of the front tank. The pictures show on the terminal screen and I can switch between them so I can see what’s on the road when pulling out of gateways.
Q. What are your main crops?
A. We grow winter wheat, barley and oilseed rape along with cover and catch crops. The rape has totally failed this year, so this season we will also be growing spring wheat and canary grass seed. On top of my own work I carry out contracting – bringing the annual total spraying area to about 3,500ha.
Q. What tractor do you use?
A. The sprayer is mounted on a 2012, Claas Arion 640 tractor on 650 tyres. I did check with contract customers whether they minded a move from the smaller, lighter self-propelled and most were OK about the change. But the lower cost also means I don’t have to rely on contracting to justify owning the machine.
Q. Do use ISObus control?
A. Yes, but because of the tractor’s age it meant I had to install a new ISObus wiring loom to be able to use Vicon’s IsoMatch Tellus terminal, on which the display can be split to show two operations. I chose this so I can run guidance on the top screen and the sprayer functions on the bottom. It also runs the boom levelling, which works very well. Now I’m no longer looking backwards all the time, juggling to keep it level and so it’s much less tiring than before.
Q. Is the terminal easy to use?
A. Yes. The whole operation is run from the single, split screen, as well as using an ISO-joystick. I also included the iXclean Pro option, which runs all the functions from the cab – filling, agitation and spraying and a full rinse and clean program, providing the same functions for rear and front tanks.
It also has tank management that allows me to choose to fill both tanks with the same mix or different mixes in each tank, which can be sprayed out individually. There’s also the option to fill the front tank with clean water. If using the same mix in both tanks it automatically transfers the liquid between the two, helping to distribute the weight evenly.
Q. What GPS do you use?
A. I am using EGNOS for the GeoControl and mapping, but I’ve noticed it’s a way, way better receiver than my previous one. This is used for guidance as well as auto control of nine sections on the boom.
Q. What else is in the cab?
A. I don’t carry much, but I do have my ‘Gospel’ – in which I record details of all the farms, fields areas, gate lock numbers and passcodes. I write everything down in this; logging jobs, dates, nozzles and other useful information. I also write the mix and filling sequence on Post It notes, which I place near the induction hopper.