Steve May is 2022’s Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year. Mr May is the arable foreman at Front and Sanders farm in Kislingbury, Northamptonshire, where he uses a 6,200-litre tank and 36m boom on his John Deere R962i trailed sprayer, pulled by a 6215R AutoPowr John Deere tractor, to cover 810ha.
“The tractor and sprayer both being John Deere means everything is integrated really nicely, which makes my life easier,” said Mr May. Plus, “the R-series sprayers are already high spec, so a lot of the features I needed came as standard; the technology is very clever but on a simpler level.”
The trailed sprayer’s features include Twin Select nozzles that have reduced the need for manual changes, as the fixed and rotating nozzles can be alternated between directly from the cab.
Mr May also added that he has been impressed by the “fantastic” PowrSpray system, which has separate pumps for filling and spraying. “The filling pump also has a 1,200-litre/min capacity, so I can fill the tank in around five minutes,” he explained.
Using the in-cab screen Mr May is able to select how much water he needs; the system will then fill the sprayer autonomously. There is also an ‘active pause’ function which slows the water filling speed while chemicals are added.
He also uses the 6215R tractor’s Greenstar RTK guidance to put the tramlines in, so fields can be sprayed using autosteer; “now [the tramlines] are perfect throughout the season,” Mr May noted.
Those at Front and Sanders farm have been so impressed by their John Deere R962i trailed sprayer that they have already placed an order for the new R975i sprayer, with a 7,5000-litre tank. The R975i is expected to arrive on the farm in time for 2023 spring spraying.