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Miller sprayers draw praise

McIntosh & Son

National Miller Product Manager with distributor, McIntosh Distribution, Trent Kensett-Smith, pictured with one of the manufacturer’s latest 7380 models, says local manufacturing capability and talented, on-ground sales and service technicians ensures the sprayers are customised to individual grower requirements.

FRONT-MOUNTED booms that avoid awkward head turns have long been the leading feature of US-manufactured Miller self-propelled sprayers.

However, years of development mainly to suit Australian conditions has culminated in “Australian-designed’’ Miller sprayers today, with further local manufacturing and on-ground technical capability resulting in the delivery of machines customised to individual grower requirements.

Trent Kensett-Smith, National Miller Product Manager with distributor, McIntosh Distribution, said the manufacturer’s sprayers had been put to work extensively across Australia, leading to consistent product development for the Australian market – and the rest of the world had subsequently benefitted.

“In the US, conditions and situations can be very different to Australia. In Australia we push our machines. There are plenty of cropping programs well over 10,000 hectares that are sprayed multiple times. We get plenty of opportunity to look for improvements,’’ Trent said.

“Generally, our spraying windows are also tighter, so machines have to go harder at higher speeds, including higher cornering speeds.

“No-till and deeper tramlines also means our country can be a lot rougher, and the recent push towards deep ripping has added even further pressure.’’

As a result, he said the complete chassis and suspension system on the Miller sprayers was now purposely designed with added strength for the Australian market.

Strong knowledge on tyre technologies has meant tyre selections are also decided locally, targeting excellent flotation and reduced compaction.

Various modifications to plumbing systems are made as well, including boom recirculation for rapid, zero waste prime and rinse; use of 3-inch fill pumps; reconfiguration of filter set-ups to better suit granular herbicides; and elimination of catch points in the layout, allowing rapid, full flow system rinsing for faster and more thorough system decontamination.

“Australian conditions are progressing the performance of the Miller sprayers and, locally, we are progressing the technologies, options and componentry offered to customise machines to growers’ requirements,’’ Trent said.

“Rather than a sprayer arriving in Australia and going into service in the configuration it is shipped in, Miller sprayers arrive at our sites at Redcliffe in Perth or Dalby in Queensland and undergo modifications to suit the marketplace and, more importantly, a client’s personal specifications.

“We will order and utilise components to customise sprayers to the individual client. We have the ability in our manufacturing areas to configure booms with a full range of components, ensuring there is no limit to what we can put in the paddock for growers’ needs and wants.

“Factory Miller boom widths range from 27 metres to 41.5m, but we can go up to 48m with a Pommier aluminium boom. We also have four-wheel-steer options for those horticulture or hay clients who need to track on a singular tyre track to avoid issues.’’

McIntosh & Son

Mike Symes, Miller Sales WA with McIntosh Distribution, said the customisation also included metric or imperial configuration and a complete range of nozzle system options. These include from basic single nozzle spray lines through to multiple systems, as well as central line, gap-aligned, offset and tiered spray line set-ups, plus pulse width modulation (PWM) and Intellispray nozzle systems for high resolution, individual nozzle control.

“In addition to the Miller Spray-Air system, sprayers also can be configured with third party spray systems like Optispray from Airtec,’’ Mike said.

The considerable collective industry experience of the McIntosh Distribution Miller team in Australia puts it at the leading edge when it comes to configuring customised sprayers and, importantly, understanding the risks of on-ground applications for growers.

Trent said through close relationships with local dealer networks, this was further supported at local regional levels by talented sales and service technicians.

“It means that any steering system or controller platform, for example, could be put on to machines and it will be successfully delivered and set up on-ground for growers.’’

Mike said some of the latest appealing developments with the Miller sprayers included one-touch auto-folding and the addition of the Raven XRT high resolution height control system.

He said Raven XRT was a radar-based ultrasonic system that collected more data points, ensuring booms remained at optimum spraying height for longer.

Meanwhile, the latest Miller Nitro 7000 Series sprayers are attracting strong praise from grower customers for their increase in power, torque and fuel efficiency, as well as improved driver experience.

Proven IVECO Tier 2 turbo diesel engines deliver 434 peak horsepower with 1629NM of torque for the 7420 model and 383 peak horsepower with 1459NM of torque for the 7380 sprayer.

An innovative hydrostatic Danfoss pump system featuring electronically-controlled variable displacement piston drive motors and integrated Fairfield Torque-Hub planetary final drives are responsible for the improved drive performance. The drive motors supply greater torque at all speeds, while the weight distribution has been carefully designed to ensure it remains within 4 per cent of 50:50 balance during spraying. This package of power, control and balance leads to a great overall experience.

Near Mingenew, Sam Ward said the family covered an extra 400 hectares from a tank of fuel with their new Miller Nitro 7420 last season.

The improved efficiency allowed them to spray about 900ha per fuel fill, travelling at speeds of 22-32 kilometres per hour depending upon conditions.

At Dowerin, Reece Stratford said the fuel efficiency gained by upgrading to their Miller Nitro 7380 last season was enormous, as was the money saved in fuel.

“With the new motor, we sprayed for two days easily,’’ Reece said.

“The drive was really nice and super quiet. It appeared to have plenty of power. If you go through something like a boggy patch, it will put more torque through the hubs if needed.

“We also have the wheels set at the widest width of about 4 metres for good stability and you can notice the difference,’’ he said.

There are opportunities to view Miller Nitro 7000 Series demonstrations at various locations in the field over coming weeks. For further information on these events and the Miller sprayer line-up, growers can contact local Miller dealer