Important purchases like sprayers are often about more than the machine itself, believes Kent farmer Mike Rodgers.
While he is delighted with his new Trailblazer Lite from Knight Farm Machinery, he also praises the quality of the company’s aftersales and support.
Mr Rogers has 1,000 acres from North Frith Farm, Hadlow, with a main arable rotation featuring wheat, oilseeds, barley and beans, as well as grassland for sheep and hay. He also has 300 acres of forestry and grows forage maize for the dairy unit at the neighbouring Hadlow College.
Having previously run a Knight Lazer trailed sprayer, he was familiar with the company and its products but was persuaded to buy an alternative make some years ago. He made the switch back to Knight when that machine encountered problems, and both he and his spray operator are happy he did:
“We were never really happy with the other sprayer, so we went back to the tried and tested,” Mr Rogers said. “We ran a Knight Laser for years and were always impressed with the excellent service back-up we received from the company.
“That applies to both the speed and efficiency of the service we receive when we contact them for spare and wearing parts, and the friendliness of doing business with the company”.
Their new machine is a 3,600-litre Trailblazer Lite with a 24-metre gull-wing boom: “It’s a fantastic machine, and since we’ve recommended it to several neighbours. It is a real operator’s machine because it is so simple to set up and use thanks to the Muller controller.
“It has all the features and mod cons we need such – from a very simple chemical induction system to an efficient spray line washing system.”
One important benefit, he explained, is that it remains stable on slopes, yet still has excellent clearance for tall crops: “Slopes are not a problem for a sprayer that is well balanced and ballasted. The machine we had before rode a bit high and the liquid tended to slosh around, which affects stability.
“The Trailblazer rides well and tracks accurately on our hillsides. The boom is very stable and that helps maintain very accurate applications, even when we are applying products at variable rates.
“Another advantage it gives us is excellent control over the pressures and application rates, even if we are working as low as 100 litres/hectare.”
The machine also syncs very easily with ISOBUS and the farm’s GPS system, and also works through the Starfire system on the farm’s tractors.
Another asset Mr Rogers has noticed is the excellent under-body clearance, which is useful when working in taller crops: “It is surprising how well it clears crops like oilseed rape and winter beans, while still being so stable.
“Modern varieties are nowhere near as tall as their predecessors were, but it is valuable to be able to go through them when they’re well-grown without risking knocking them down.”