WIith an increasing focus on reducing chemical herbicides, largely because of crop resistance and a potential build-up of residues, new methods of weed control are appearing.
Available in a range of operating widths, in either mounted or trailed formats, the Ashburton-based company chose the South Island Field Days (SIAFD) at Kirwee to roll out its latest version - a 24-metre wide behemoth that was built for Canterbury spraying business Windwhistle Contracting.
Featuring a trailed 3m centre section and six 3.5m wing sections, the machine allows owner Rick Daly to operate in 12m tramlines tackling thistle infestations and 'bolters' in the increasing fodder beet crops in the area.
During development, the latter created a problem, given the height of the growing crop and that of the bolters. Roller height is controlled by six forward mounted, adjustable, swivel wheel assemblies that offer operating heights from 200 to 950mm. A float function across the roller sections allows ground following that, in turn, sees operating speeds of 7 to 10km/h. Daly says this makes the machine easily capable of covering over 100ha each day - pulled by a 150hp tractor.
The big wiper is said to be the largest machine of its type in NZ. The centre section carries twin, 600-litre chemical reservoirs, along with a dedicated 11 litre/min pump for each of the seven machine sections. Electro-hydraulic control is used to fold (to a 3.3m transport width) and unfold the machine.
Meanwhile, it also adjusts the operating height, with a separate control system for application rates.
Already a convert to the Rotowiper system, Daly particularly likes the low chemical usage - effectively giving it 'green' credentials when compared to blanket spraying techniques.
He adds that the machine's roller/carpet based design means it can be lifted out of work without any chemical dripping onto the base crop and be fully primed to return to work. Daly is also impressed by the impressive acreages it covers each day.
All that's left to do is to give the machine a very large coat of spray paint!