SCS Spreader & Sprayer Testing dispense advice at Tillage-Live

Practical advice on how to set-up, calibrate and test slug pelleters to achieve the most effective control, while protecting the environment will be available from SCS Spreader & Sprayer Testing at the Tillage-Live event.

The company is providing the advice as part of the event’s Knowledge Trail, for which NRoSO and BASIS points will be available. SCS engineers will be explaining to visitors how to ensure equipment is set correctly to meet the latest stewardship recommendations and why it is important to carry out a full-width tray test.

An SCS test costs £145 and this includes an applicator ‘MOT’ in which the engineer will check and set-up the machine on the vehicle and then tray test the distribution pattern. Once the spread width has been confirmed an accurate application rate setting can be determined. Applicators may appear simple, with few adjustments, but SCS staff often discover bad wiring connections, tired motors and worn spreading vanes.

“Although it’s one of the cheapest pieces of kit in an arable farmer’s fleet, the humble slug pelleter shouldn’t be ignored when it comes to maintenance and settings,” warns Rob Foxall, managing director of SCS Spreader & Sprayer Testing the national specialist, with 25 engineers providing a nationwide service
And driving up and down a couple of tramlines finding out whether the hopper is empty or not isn’t necessarily the best way of knowing whether you’re doing a good job.

“Even if an application rate calibration shows the machine is ‘spot on’, only a full-width tray test will reveal the true distribution accuracy where the pellets are actually landing. Like fertiliser, slug pellets vary in weight and density, which have a big influence on spreading characteristics. Just because a machine is said to spread to 12m or 24m, it’s impossible to tell how it will perform with specific materials unless it is tray tested,” he adds.

As well as offering on-farm tests for fertiliser spreaders, sprayers and slug pelleters, the company also has vast experience of testing various applicators with a wide range of pellets and products for manufacturers and suppliers.

SCS Spreader & Sprayer Calibration Testing carried out the work for the Metaldehyde Stewardship Group’s Get Pelletwise campaign machinery settings guide, which is available on-line at:

After clicking on the product to be applied, the recommended settings for the application rate are displayed alongside. But the only certain method of guaranteeing pellets are spread safely and precisely is to also service, check and, crucially, tray test the applicator for each product, he explains.

It may be the case that the working width has to be reduced in order to maintain accuracy, he adds. “We’re finding a lot of spreaders are spreading perhaps one pellet at 18m and a hundred or more behind the spreader. By reducing the working width, you can control the spread pattern far more accurately. For example, set a 24m spreader to work at 12m, a 20m to 10m or an 18m to 9m and operate using half the dose rate as well.”
Top tips for precision pelleting
• When renewing, invest in the best quality applicator
• Narrower working widths cut the risk of misses
• Always tray test the spreader with the actual product to be applied
• Check the actual spread width with a tray test
• Inspect the disc vanes for wear
• Check the integrity of the wiring and connections on electrically driven applicators
• Use a tachometer to assess disc speed and electric motor condition
• Use deflector plates and other adjustments (if available) to prevent pellets being spread into watercourses and hedges
• Always calibrate the spreader for application rate

Further information:
For more information, pictures or to arrange features or interviews please contact:
Mick Roberts
MWR Media
Rob Foxall
SCS Spreader & Sprayer Testing Ltd
0845 130 7175
1 SCS-Slug spread pattern check

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7 Responses to “SCS Spreader & Sprayer Testing dispense advice at Tillage-Live”

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