Reviews

Test: HiSpec 4000 TD-R

The Irish-built HiSpec TD-R 4000 is a high-capacity tanker with just the right amount of technology intertwined to make it a simple machine to operate while staying reliable

Slurry is becoming of increasing priority on New Zealand farms, with most now having large ponds and systems established. No matter what careful planning is undertaken, there does come a day when that massive pond needs to be emptied.

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Large capacity means minimal trips to and from paddocks, and with two units at hand, the workload is doubled

Having been around a fair few Irish ag contractors over the years, I’ve noticed they share one thing in common – they all love slurry and rave about spending their days spreading, pumping, and basically dealing with slurry. It’s something I never really understood, as my thinking is, who would want to deal with effluent all day? So, it comes as no surprise that the Irish passion for and understanding of slurry is evident in its HiSpec machinery range, which is well-respected around the world.

Giltrap Agrizone and Cochranes of Canterbury have been quick to recognise the many benefits a quality brand such as HiSpec offers and is the New Zealand distributor for the innovative brand.

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A nice even spread pattern through the splash plate

Founded more than 25 years ago, HiSpec produces an impressive range of equipment for the agriculture sector, from muck spreaders, diet feeders, slurry tankers, and even a Kompactor multi-purpose trailer.

For this test article, however, we headed to Whakatane to see the HiSpec TD-R 4000 in action. This machine was recently purchased by Grant Farms Limited to complement its agricultural contracting and civil operation. In fact, just a few months after purchasing their first HiSpec, the farm added a second to the fleet, so clearly, it ticks all the boxes. For the purpose of our test, we got behind the wheel to spend the day adding some effluent to some paddocks to get the regrowth humming.

Specs

While I’m more often than not working around cropping and harvesting, it doesn’t take long to work out that there’s a whole lot more to tankers than just a tank and some wheels. This HiSpec tanker is a 4000 TD-R model and is the largest in the TD-R category. The 4000 corresponds to the size, in this case, 4000 gallons (18,184 litres), and TD-R references the design and configuration of the taker. TD means a tandem axle and the R stands for recessed.

This configuration is most popular with large farmers and contractors, as it allows for greater capacities with its lower centre of gravity, making for extremely smooth towing. This also keeps transport widths down and comes in pretty handy in terms of manoeuvrability through tighter areas.

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Manoeuvrability made easier with the steering axle

HiSpec has opted for a Jurop pump (another reputable brand, with a 46-year history of making pumps). Grant Farms had this unit fitted with a 14,000-litre pump over the standard 11,000-litre one to save time while filling, as more product can be transferred in a shorter time. This Jurop pump also features a hydraulic changeover valve, again helping improve overall efficiency and, in turn, reduce operator fatigue. If in a few minutes a load is saved, by the end of the day, that can equate to hours. Jurop pumps are known for their high quality along with requiring minimal maintenance. This equates to a long service life on investment.

We’ve all seen a photo or two of an old tanker of some sort that has become, well not much of a tank anymore, due to an implosion. HiSpec has anti-implosion rings in each section of the tank. This along with pressure relief valves means that implosion isn’t something to worry about. The tank itself is built out of 6mm thick steel, helping spread the load and improve overall structural strength. This also proves vital when an attachment is added to the rear such as a dribble bar or trailing shoe.

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All systems are controlled electronically

Giltrap Agrizone recognises that changes are likely to happen in the effluent industry, therefore bring the tankers premade and ready for all the extras to be added if required. This includes mounts and all the hydraulic plumbing from the factory in a nice tidy way, which is far superior to a retrofitted system. Adding to the structural integrity are collared dished ends, which also give a place for effluent attachments to be fitted, as they can clip onto them.

Indent ordering has many benefits over just the security of knowing exactly how the machine will come. In purchasing these two tankers, Grant Farms was after an extra level of comforting and dampening than standard springs on the drawbar. Giltrap Agrizone was able to help with this, contacting the factory to replace the springs with hydraulic rams, along with an accumulator to add the dampening. I can confirm this was a great move, as it works brilliantly and is exceptionally smooth taking out all the harsh shocks. This custom option has now made it into the optional extra bracket, available on all tankers.

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Splash plate provides even distribution

A feature also present on this unit is the turbo fill. Located at the end of the filler arm, a hydraulic motor runs a propeller to increase the speed of the slurry to the tank. It certainly makes a difference, as when activated, you can feel and see extra product rapidly filling the tank.

Performance

For test day, we hooked the HiSpec TD-R 4000 to a Case IH Optum 270. With ground conditions being a tad damp from recent rain, I was sceptical about how getting around the paddocks would go. The short trip on the road proved how smoothly these tankers tow. On the road empty, the Case IH Optum wasn’t hesitant either, easily pulling up to speed. Loading was simple with the fill arm and the addition of turbo fill speeds up the process. The Jurop pump is slightly louder than other brands, but HiSpec runs the exhaust out through the drawbar to provide a muffling effect. The sight glass on the front gives a good indication of what’s going on inside the tank.

The trip to the paddock was made extremely comfortable through the sprung axles and hydraulic drawbar suspension. The way it absorbed the harsh bumps so smoothly was rather impressive. Manoeuvrability into each paddock and around the farms was surprisingly easy for such a large set-up and was helped by the steering axle.

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Consistent application and minimal soil impact

The Case IH Optum made easy work getting around and was well suited to the size of the tanker. There was minimal wheel slip when climbing over rises, as the large 750/60R30.5 tyres lift the axle pivot point up and reduce the amount of travel needed compared to a smaller tyre. They also didn’t mark the paddocks much either, which is notable considering how many tonnes of machine is travelling across, especially after the amount of recent rain. The inverted splash plate did a great job of evenly spreading the slurry. A stone trap at the bottom of the tank helps keeps stones out of the discharge nozzle, while a pressure gauge on the front shows how much positive or negative pressure is on the tank while filling and discharging. This gauge is a little on the smaller side but isn’t too bad, as it’s not something that needs to be watched closely.

Hydraulic controls on this HiSpec tanker run off the power beyond, load-sensing circuit. I’m a big fan of this sort of set-up, as it allows more functions to be added into the implements system without the need for changeover valves or taps.

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Large rolling circumference tyres minimise impact on the soil

Another advantage is that you’re not having to adapt the controls to the tractor’s electronics, minimising confusion and fatigue. While an ISOBUS option is available, these HiSpec tankers run a Digistar controller and system. The hydraulics are pumped to a large valve block found on the front left of the tanker. Well protected under a steel cover are 10 electric valves, each controlling a separate function. Being so easy to get to is also an advantage; if an issue were to arise, diagnosing and overcoming would be relatively straightforward.

The controller itself covered the functions well in a simple design and format. Set up with a filling menu and an emptying menu made overall control of the tanker easy. It would, however, be an improvement to see the steering axle lock itself automatically when the tractor is put in reverse, as this could help reduce stress on axles if forgotten, especially at the weight they are carrying.

Running gear

Holding up a load as large as this requires a heavy chassis and axles. Being a tandem axle and recessed into the tank, a lot of structural support comes through the tank itself. But it still needs a point where the abuse of the terrain is absorbed. Two sets of individually sprung axles sit underneath the HiSpec 4000. As the front and rear axles each have their own set of springs, this makes the tanker impressively stable and able to handle rough ground well.

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Machine comes pre-plumbed for the addition of rear implements

This tanker was spec’d with air and hydraulic brakes to suit the air brakes Grant Farms run on their Case IH Optums. All four wheels are braked through a load-sensing brake valve, which controls the aggressiveness. Depending on the load of the tanker determines how much pressure is applied to the brakes. Meaning, if it’s empty, it won’t lock the wheels up and be touchy, and when full, it provides the optimal amount of braking force. As expected, both axles are 10 stud commercial axles, which have the durability to serve many years.

Daily maintenance of moving parts and axles are kept simple through the single central greasing port. As well as being easier for the operator to get to, this simple access also means that servicing is more likely to actually get done.

Summary

The Irish-built HiSpec TD-R 4000 is a high-capacity tanker with the right amount of technology intertwined to make it a simple machine to operate while staying reliable. The tandem, recessed axles improve the centre of gravity and manoeuvrability to allow safe, easy travel around roads or farms. The importers for this tanker, Giltrap Agrizone, did a great job of getting the added extras for the customer from the factory, showing the importance of the customer relationship and being able to supply any extras that are needed.

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Contour following with good weight distribution

HiSpec 4000 TD-R Specifications

Capacity 18,184L
Axle Tandem sprung commercial axle with rear steering
Brakes 420×180 hydraulic brakes
Pump Jurop 11,000L vacuum pump (as standard)
Drawbar Swivel hitch sprung drawbar
Tyres 750/60 R30.5 BKT FL693M Ridemax
Attachments Reinforced rear door for attachments (dribble bar)

PROS

  • Central greasing
  • Power beyond hydraulic system
  • Large 750/60R30.5 tyres
  • Baffles and anti-implosion rings
  • Hydraulic drawbar suspension (selected option)
  • Hydraulic Turbofill pump on the fill arm

CONS

  • Steering axle doesn’t automatically lock

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