Old reliables put Goldacres in spotlight

Goldacres G6 self propelled boom sprayersStaines Esperance salesman Brad Gray (left), sprayer driver Sven Hochhausler, Germany and Lort River farmer John Stead discussing the farm's two Goldacres self-propelled boomsprayers.

MENTION a Cummins engine linked to an Allison transmission and you’ve arguably got a farmer’s attention. Paint the machine any colour you like because colour is not a consideration when you know the proven reliability and longevity you’ll achieve with this combination.

And it’s proving a winner for Lort River farmers John and Simon Stead, who own two Goldacres G6 self propelled boom sprayers. After evaluating the performance of a similar model owned by a neighbour, the brothers invested in a G6 25 months ago from Goldacres dealership Staines Esperance and then followed up 11 months later buying a similar model. The two units have replaced an SP (4500 litres tank capacity) and a trailed sprayer (10,500L) with boom sizes remaining the same at 36.6 metres (120ft). “We’re doing the same amount of paddocks (7000ha in total) using half the fuel we used when we had the old sprayers,” John said. “Effectively that means achieving the same amount of hectares per fill that the other two units achieved.

“Our best effort was spraying 400ha using 120 litres of diesel. “And we never push the engine. “Generally you’re operating between 1300 and 1500rpm, similar to driving a super spreading truck, and you’re not sitting at 2200rpm to run the hydraulics because it’s mechanical drive. “And that was a big thing for us because it’s simple and you don’t have the downtime issues we used to have with hydraulic drive. “The only hydraulics you use is for the spray pump and wing lift and fold.” John also likes the lighter weight of the G6 compared to other models. “You can tell the difference going over heavy saturated clay soils which haven’t been a challenge for the sprayers,” John said. The simplicity is also emphasised in transport. “It’s a four-wheel drive disc brake system so it’s more truck-like and you feel a lot safer,” John said. The rideability of the G6 also gets a tick. “It’s smooth to operate and you tend to go a bit faster because of that,” John said. “So we’re now operating at a fairly constant 28km/h whereas before it would vary a lot more between 24 and 28km/h.” Another tick is the fixed three metre (10ft) axle which is a good feature when you’re concentrating on sticking to the runs. “On the other models you could go out to four metres (13ft) to keep the sprayer stable in undulating areas but with the G6 you get that stability on three metres.”

The older G6 has notched 1250 hours while the newer model has done 750 hours, providing a lot of flexibility with programs. “We use both on canola and wheat and barley then we keep one clean of cereal spray to use insecticides,” John said. “But both are cleaned out for late foliar applications.”

Victorian manufacturers Goldacres has always been at the forefront of innovation with boom sprayers and the company says it has worked out how to overcome the issue of boom pressure variation and boom line priming. In doing so it means a wider selection of nozzle combinations are available and everything is controlled from the cab. Achieving a consistent spray pattern – and therefore a consistent weed kill – can be tricky given the wide variation of conditions and topography throughout the Wheatbelt, which is why Goldacres’ proprietary RapidFire uses pneumatic nozzle control to eliminate the need for central boom valves and metres of excess spray lines. The air-operated valves are located in the nozzle body and deliver instantaneous boom operation – doing away with the need to prime boom lines before spraying. Pressure is already built in the boom line and it’s only a matter of switching nozzles on and off.

Goldacres has further expanded this technology with a three tier system (3TS) which expands the effective spraying speed range without exceeding the pressure range of the nozzles. Likened to a gearbox, RapidFire 3TS minimises the nozzle pressure variation even as the sprayer speed changes. On a single or dual-line boom system, the 3TS allows farmers to vary their application rate and spraying speed while maintaining the correct droplet size. According to Esperance Goldacres dealer Simon Staines, Goldacres SP sprayers are starting to gain traction throughout the Esperance district. “Owners have been very happy with their performance and reliability and for those who have traded up to a new model, the re-sale value is a bonus,” he said. “They’re highly sought-after and this year the trades have never hit our yards.”

By KEN WILSON – published in Farm Weekly, Thursday, June 15, 2017