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Contractor comfortable in Miller sprayers

McIntosh & Son

Allen Hathaway, who provides a contract spray service throughout the WA agricultural region with his father, John, under their banner, Jarahl Ag Contracting, says he has always loved “seeing what’s going on’’, including on the ground, with the Miller front-mounted sprayers, rather than contending with the dust factor associated with rear-mounted boomsprayers.

FRONT-mounted booms and then air-assist spraying technology got WA agricultural contractor Allen Hathaway into the seat of Miller self-propelled sprayers, while developments with their latest and future machines are keeping him in them.

Allen and his father, John, operate Jarahl Ag Contracting, providing a State-wide contract spray service, also with a second tug-along boomspray.

They traditionally cover 40,000-50,000 hectares and already have notched about 20,000ha this year.

“We thought February was going to be quiet, but it has got very busy since then,’’ Allen said.

The Hathaways are into their eighth year in Miller cabs, originally graduating from a Nitro 4365 to a 6000 Series rig and more recently to the latest 7380 model, which complements another 7420 sprayer in the Miller Nitro 7000 Series.

“Every time a new Miller comes out, we seem to be getting into them,’’ Allen said.

He said excellent support from McIntosh Distribution, the national distributor for Miller sprayers, and dealer McIntosh & Son also had played a big role in their Miller journey.

“They are great to deal with as a group. If we have any trouble, they are a phone call away.’’

Allen said he always loved the fact he could “see what’s going on’’, including the ground, courtesy of the Miller front-mounted booms, rather than contend with the dust factor associated with rear-mounted boomsprayers.

“And if anything goes wrong, you can see it upfront,’’ Allen said.

He said the Miller Spray-Air system had allowed them to use lower water application rates and still achieve perfect spray coverage for clients.

Spray-Air uses air-assist and air-atomisation technology, forming one powerful spray nozzle system. Operators have fingertip control of the droplet size and speed of the air delivery for any spraying application. They can consistently atomise spray droplets in a range from 200-500 millilitres per minute per nozzle – spaced 25 centimetres apart.

“Whereas we were previously up around 60-70 litres/ha of water, we now use about 40L/ha as a base,’’ Allen said.

“As a result, we are getting over more hectares in a day and we are not filling up as much. The machine is more often in the paddock going up and back.

“My personal best in a day is 1050ha, but I can average 600ha every single day.’’

With the increase in canola area plantings this season, Allen said they were looking forward to utilising the Miller Spray-Air system to target grasses and then foliar diseases in highly vegetative crops.

McIntosh & Son

WA agricultural contractor Allen Hathaway, Jarahl Ag Contracting, says the Miller Spray-Air system on their Miller Nitro 7380 sprayer allows them to use lower water application rates and still achieve perfect spray coverage for grower clients.

In addition to the Spray-Air technology on their 36-metre truss boom, the Hathways also have another set of nozzles behind the Spray-Air system, providing the option of using high water rates when required.

They have now clocked 1700 hours on their latest Miller Nitro 7380 model and Allen said one of the most noticeable differences compared with their previous 6000 Series sprayer was the fuel economy achieved with the IVECO engine over the former Cummins engine.

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

“Dad recently sprayed 1000ha on about 410L of diesel – it surprised the grower as well,’’ Allen said.

“On the 6000 sprayer with the Cummins, we got 700-750ha if we were lucky.’’

He said the increased power and torque meant they had not yet noticed a lag in the motor, even despite working in difficult deep-ripped country

The Hathaways run their Nitro 7380 at lower revs of around 1750 RPM, aided by the planetary drive system continued from the 6000 Series.

A 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.

“It’s another plus and nothing has gone wrong with the drives, apart from a seal.’’

The Hathaways maintain spraying speeds to a top of around 24 kilometres per hour, allowing them to cover about 90ha/hr.

The complete chassis and suspension system on the latest Miller sprayers has been purposely designed with added strength for the Australian market, while Allen said the Raven XRT high resolution height control system was “really good’’.

“It’s excellent and stable – I can’t fault it.’’

The Raven XRT is a radar-based ultrasonic system that collects more data points, ensuring booms remain at optimum spraying height for longer.

Allen said in the next Miller sprayer he also would look forward to its latest one-touch auto-folding feature.

For further information on the Miller Nitro 7000 Series sprayers, growers can contact their local McIntosh and Son dealer.

McIntosh & Son

Allen Hathaway, who runs Jarahl Ag Contracting in WA with his father, John, has been in the seat of Miller Nitro sprayers for the manufacturer’s 4000 Series, 6000 Series and latest 7000 Series. “Every time a new Miller comes out, we seem to be getting into them,’’ he says.