07 July 2020
It's that time of the year again when you spend plenty of hours on the sprayer and while the Stratford family near Dowerin have long been fans of front-mounted self-propelled systems, they also are particularly appreciating the power and efficiency gains with their latest machine.
Reece Stratford is the main sprayer operator at the family’s ‘Nambawan’ property, which he farms with parents, Gordon and Leonie, and together with his girlfriend, Jayne.
Located at Minnivale, between Dowerin and Wyalkatchem, the property grows wheat, barley and lupins, while pastures are renovated with medic and clover. It also runs Merino breeding ewes, including for prime lamb production.
To tackle mainly annual ryegrass, wild radish and capeweed, the Stratfords have used the Miller Nitro front-mounted sprayers and last year upgraded from a 4365 model to a 7380 machine, one of the latest models in the manufacturer’s new 7000 Series line-up, joining the 7420 model.
“This is our third Nitro,’’ Reece said.
“With the front-mounted booms, you can spray right into the corners of paddocks and you are watching the boom all the time for blocked jets – it’s not behind you.’’
Distributed nationally by McIntosh Distribution, the new Miller Nitro 7000 Series offers significant increases in both horsepower and torque via its IVECO power plant, along with improved fuel efficiency. The 7380 model delivers 383 peak horsepower with 1459NM of torque, while the 7420 offers 434 peak horsepower with 1629NM of torque.
“The hours on the older model were getting up there and it sucked a fair bit of fuel. If we did a full day of spraying, we would be coming back to fill up during the day,’’ Reece said.
“With the new motor, we can spray for two days easily. The fuel efficiency is huge – and the money saved in fuel.’’
An innovative hydrostatic Danfoss pump system featuring electronically-controlled variable displacement piston drive motors and integrated Fairfield Torque-Hub planetary final drives have further improved drive performance with the Miller Nitro 7000 Series.
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.
“The drive is really nice and super quiet. It appears to have plenty of power. If you go through something like a boggy patch, it will put more torque through the hubs if needed,’’ Reece said.
“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 the new cab, designed for enhanced panoramic visibility with increased appointment and monitoring features, was spacious, well set-out and very comfortable.
“The windows are big, providing great vision.’’
Two chassis and spraying monitoring screens are carefully placed within the cab to maximise ease of use without obstructing the visibility.
“The cabin and the touch screens are incredible. They are big monitoring screens and it’s very simple,’’ Reece said
“You also have the same screen underneath the sprayer at the fuel point. You can control everything at that point without having to climb the ladder. You can open and shut the valves or rev it up or down.
“Even the chair in the cab has also got air-ride suspension, so it’s very smooth going across the paddock.’’
Reece said they decided to continue using a 36-metre mono boom while he increased his spraying experience, however they may consider the Miller Spray-Air system in future.
“The mono boom is a recirculation boom, so we can prime it ready to go, and it has air induction.’’
The Stratfords also transferred a granular mixing tank with their machine over to their mobile chemical trailer to prevent it from blocking vision, including of the centre nozzles on the boom.
Automated filling and rinsing controls are also a standard inclusion with the Miller Nitro 7000 Series, ensuring maximum filling efficiency.
The Stratfords sourced their 7380 model through McIntosh & Son at Wongan Hills. Reece said the local dealer provided excellent support and they appreciated an opportunity to gain a greater insight into the McIntosh Distribution business and the Miller sprayer range at a special company event in Perth last year.
He said he recently completed the 600-hour service on their Miller Nitro 7380 and was happy to report no major issues with the machine.
After receiving 91 millimetres of rainfall earlier in the year and 30mm last month, the Stratfords are now looking forward to further rains to help continue a mostly encouraging start to the cropping season at ‘Nambawan’.
“We did run into some dry seeding and were held up in a couple of paddocks, but the rain did come and the crops are off to a good start,’’ Reece said.
Growers interested in further information on the Miller 7000 Series sprayers can contact their nearest Miller dealership.