Hustler Spraysmart Fox 1500 test

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Jaiden Drought

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The Hustler Spraysmart liquid sprayer is helping one Taranaki farmer keep on top of production

Hustler Spraysmart Fox 1500 test
Hustler Spraysmart Fox 1500 test
  • Large 1500L tank capacity
  • Agile boom with locking system and hydraulic height adjustment
  • In-cab monitor with auto rate controller and foam marker control
  • Twin turbo Venturi mixing agitators in the tank
  • Components nicely located in one location

Hustler Engineering has a long history building farm machinery in New Zealand, probably associated with bale clamps and bale feeders rather than sprayers. But more than 50 years ago Hustler made its first sprayer and like the rest of its products, the latest Spraysmart range is very impressive.

Although most of the range is manufactured overseas and assembled here in New Zealand, customers can take comfort by the fact that these sprayers and components have been hand-picked by Hustler, based on structural integrity and ease of use. The range has also been subjected to plenty of testing here in New Zealand, and a large range of spares is on hand.

We are in coastal Taranaki where Chris Putt has been using his Spraysmart Fox 1500 for the past 12 months and is delighted with it.

Chris bought the sprayer because he can apply Gibberellic acid and liquid nitrogen products when he chooses, without having to wait for a contractor. Over the past year he has sprayed more than 1000ha. Based on hourly rates for a contractor, the sprayer has more than paid for itself.

The Fox 1500 is equipped with a 12m boom and a large tank. The 1500L capacity is the largest of all the linkage-mounted sprayers, and has the option for an additional 1000L front-mounted tank.

The Tank

The incorporation of a 18-litre hand-washing tank and 80-litre clean water tank with a three-way valve also allows users to keep the chemicals off their hands, particularly if you spec the tank with the Venturi tank filler c/w five metre filling hose and filter. This allows you to refill the tank from a fresh water source anywhere on the farm.

The 80L cleaning tank allows you to rinse the tank after spraying roundup, and if you want to switch to fertiliser there’s no trace of the herbicide in the tank.

Inside the tank are the high volume, infinitely variable, twin-turbo Venturi mixing agitators ensuring you get a consistent mix of chemicals without inducing foaming. The tank is surrounded by a heavy-duty, hot-dipped galvanized chassis, which links to the back of the tank to add strength to the boom lift function at the rear of the tank.

Pump and Valves

The Fox 1500 test tank was specified with the 130l/min Comet diaphragm pump (these are also available in 180, 215 and 280l/min versions).

Coupled with the anti-drip, air induction nozzles on the boom, the combination created a consistent application rate with little spray drift even though there was a gentle on-shore sea breeze. The boom was almost 1.5m off the ground.

What is called the "Hub service" is located on the side of the tank with two multifunction valves, a self-cleaning filter as well as a fold-down ladder for loading the tank manually. The optional chemical mixing hopper is neatly located under the "Hub service centre" located on the side. This is ideal as all the components are located in a central location. They’re easy to use and are clearly coded with diagrams on each valve.

The only improvement I could identify on the component side of things, are the valves mounted to the side of the left-hand linkage arm, which are right in the path of mud coming off the tractor tyre. The same applies to the solenoids on the back of the tank for the electronic boom sections. Both could be covered to prevent corrosion.

Chris has spec’d his sprayer with a foam marker for added accuracy. This is located on the opposite side of the sprayer from the "Hub" and is adjustable by simply turning a small nozzle to vary the amount of foam based on the operator’s requirements. The in-cab controller for this is separate to that of the sprayer.

The Boom

The 12m boom on the test tanker was equipped with the hydraulic lift feature, which is excellent for lifting or lowering the boom around obstacles in the paddock. The boom is not directly mounted to the tank – it is run though a sway arm type setup allowing sideways movement in a pendulum-style motion.

This used in conjunction with the self-levelling and suspended system, and creates a unique setup. The suspension uses wire ropes to take the weight of the boom, reducing the stresses on the rear of the tank. The ropes go to the hinge point between the two sections and are relayed back though shock absorbers mounted on the rear of the chassis.

The self-levelling feature is also run through a rope-and-pulley system with a patented, automatic locking system. Once one side is lifted, the wire rope is pulled tight and locks one side of the boom in. This allows the operator to spray with just one of the booms down and he still has all of the suspension and self-levelling luxuries. This is due to the boom balancing itself by locking the one side tight yet allowing the other side complete flexibility- genius. Located on the outer sections of the boom is the break-away feature. It’s also aided by a steel loop two feet in from the end of the boom. When it comes into contact with an obstacle, the outer section moves either up, forward or backwards.

The only problem Chris has had with the sprayer is the bolt that holds the wire suspension onto the boom (it’s also the bolt that hinges the two outer sections). This may be better located on the boom itself (it currently places a lot of weight on the end of the bolt, causing it to shear off).

The Monitor

Chris opted for the auto-rate spray controller, which allows him to switch off any of the boom’s five sections (it can do up to nine on the larger boom) electronically from within the cab at the touch of a button.

This also allows you to increase or decrease the application rate, and when coupled with a ground speed sensor it will do this automatically. The monitor also displays your speed, tank level, hectares sprayed, as well as keeping a cumulative total. On top of the monitor is the foam marker controller, which allows you to turn on either one or both foam markers with a little toggle switch. The monitor’s clear LCD screen is easy to read and buttons are well laid out for easy use.

The Verdict

I would buy this sprayer based on the boom design alone. I was extremely impressed by its agility and flexibility because booms are usually the first things to get smashed off the back of any sprayer. The large 1500L tank capacity in conjunction with the valve "Hub" and auto-rate controller make it very simple to use and allows you to spend more time spraying and less time filling.

See a range of Hustler machinery for sale.

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