Spraysmart Jacto Advance sprayer
Mark Fouhy learned a lot when he tested Spraysmart’s Jacto Advance sprayer from Hustler.
'Jacto' is the Portuguese word for jet, which denotes speed, strength and power. It's also the name of one of the world's largest sprayer manufacturers - two facts Mark Fouhy recently learned when he tested Spraysmart's Jacto Advance sprayer from Hustler
Spraysmart Jacto Advance sprayer
Being on time with your spray applications is critical and, more often than not, for your name to get to the top of your contractors list. Then there's uncooperative weather that can be very problematic and if you missing that window, production costs can sky rocket. However, Hustler's Spraysmart system may offer a solution for both farmers and contractors.
For more than five years, Hustler has imported Jacto models under its Spraysmart banner, selecting models most suitable for New Zealand's conditions: the 800-litre mounted Jacto Condor; the 2000-litre trailed Columbia; and its bigger brother, the 3000-litre trailed Advance.
A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to test the big brother, which is operating in the Waikato in a maize-growing operation. The Advance is used for round up, pre-emergents, post-emergents and pesticides on around 200 hectares of maize each year.
The beauty of the Spraysmart Advance is that it's quick and easy to hook up to the tractor, mainly because the six hydraulic boom functions are all controlled from the spray controller, not each individual rear hydraulic port. So there's no risk of putting the wrong hose in the wrong port, which will save you time, and means anyone can connect the sprayer up and it only requires one labour unit.
I like that the Advance sprayer is trailer mounted and a 100hp tractor is enough to pull it. Some of the larger mounted sprayers (1000-plus litres) would be heavy hanging out the back or side of this range of tractor.
For the test, we had the Advance hooked up to a Case MX100, which handled the job well.
I was very impressed with the 24m boom on the Advance. Having been in the game for a long time now, Jacto has certainly got a handle on how to make a good boom. The three middle sections are steel, with the outer wings on each side being made of riveted alloy, which allows flex without fatigue and has a good strength-to-weight ratio.
While extended and locked in place, the boom has suspension in the form of a coil spring for up/down forces, with accumulators and rubber cushions taking care of the rest. The boom is suspended for yaw, vertical and individual wing motions.
Both sides of the boom are able to move forward or back at the same time, giving less swing from one side to the other, keeping your spray pattern more accurate.
When driving over the bumps in the paddock, my head was almost hitting the roof, yet the boom hardly moved at all. They have been designed to be operated at up to 30kph and in the paddock, we were only doing about 10 to 12kph. Although there is no suspension on the single axle of the Advance, the boom is still suspended in transport position with rubber cushions, so it can cope with driving between jobs at 40kph, and you won't run the risk of breaking it off before you get to the next job.
Folding the boom is quick - work mode to travel takes one to two minutes - so you can be out the gate and down the road to the next job. Jacto has opted for a side-fold boom configuration on the Advance to provide better strength, and it has fewer moving parts so there's less wear and tear.
The boom's hydraulics are brilliant in that they automatically slow down as you get nearer the rest point, saving the operator from having to feather the controller. It prevents the chance of smashing the boom into the stops (if you're not paying attention).
When folded for travel mode, you have two height options, 3.8m and 2.95m. Having the two height options means you won't need to build yourself a new shed - it should tuck nicely into most farm buildings. The only downside to this folding mechanism is that access to the tank is slightly restricted in the lower setting.
The stainless lines and spray tips are all mounted between the sections of boom, protecting them from damage.
The QUADRIJET system allows up to four nozzles to be fitted for different jobs. For example, if you are using your sprayer for liquid fertiliser applications you may require different nozzles. You are able to change nozzles with just a hand twist - no tools are required which is great. And there is no chance of tips being dropped and chemical leaking over you.
The 3100-litre blow-moulded tank provides strength and excellent stability, with its shape fitting inside the chassis perfectly and has been designed for excellent mixing and cleaning with its deep sump. The deep sump also allows the tank to be completey emptied when working on hilly terrain.
A small trailed bike sprayer I currently use can be a nuisance on hills when the chemical levels are getting low. I find I can only spray on the downhill as the pump inlet is at the front of the tank, so a lot of time is wasted driving back up the hill to spray back down.
The 24-litre mixing hopper is mounted on the right-hand side of the tank next to the main tap that controls filling/mixing/rinsing. The 200-litre rinse tank, mounted in front of the main tank, means you can almost have the tank cleaned by the time you open and shut the gate, instead of still having to clean up when you get home and want to knock off.
Both the mixing hopper and the ladder (for tank inspection) can be folded down when required and tucked up out of the way when not in use, giving ground clearance of 0.63m and helping to avoid crop damage.
The Pump is a JP 150 piston pump capable of up to 190 litres per minute at 300psi. A lot of other brands use diaphragm pumps giving higher flow rates per minute. The mechanical agitator allows the use of a smaller pump because you are not reliant on the pump volume for agitation, which can be ineffective.
I like that Jacto has opted for the piston pump for reliability and less moving parts, which means less wear and tear or breakage. The seals can be replaced in the paddock with the removal of four bolts, only costing you minutes, rather than days of spraying time.
With the Advance you get five filtration points before you reach the spray nozzles. Being able to clean the main filter without emptying your tank of water or chemical is an extremely handy feature. It can save users from pouring litres of expensive chemical on the ground if something has managed to block up the filter.
Spraysmart has tried other systems but only offers Raven GPS systems. Raven is a world leader in GPS for farming applications and all the Ag Helicopters I have been in use them.
Raven systems were originally designed for military use, so they have gone through some serious testing to ensure they handle any situation that's thrown at them. This is good to know because most farmers are of the same mindset: they want new technology to work properly the first time and every time - the less flashing lights that distract you from the job at hand, the better.
Raven not only makes the computer interface for the cab of your tractor but also the antenna, spray components, valves and steering component options if you were looking to go full auto steer.
The Spraysmart Advance we tested was fitted with the Raven Envizo Pro, and Raven Switch Pro controller, enabling manual/auto control of up to 10 sections and application.
The use of the auto controller with the GPS of the Raven can provide savings of up to 30 percent of chemical cost, a cost that can normally add up pretty quick. The GPS also reduces operator error and fatigue, so you can achieve more for your day's work.
I found the large 6.4-inch colour touch screen fairly easy to operate. I have worked with other guidance systems in the past but I'd say this set-up is one of the easiest to follow, with its simple icons making navigation easy, so you don't need to be a computer whizz to operate this machine.
The Raven has a light bar at the top of the screen which will tell you if it is online or offline, how far and using an arrow to point you back in the right direction. The monitor will show the areas applied, not applied and overlapped. Having the boom/auto controller broken into multiple sections means you'll save in chemical and avoid overlap, with rate-specific chemicals when you get to the narrow end of the paddock. Plus, each section of the boom will automatically switch off as more overlap appears on the screen.
Operation is totally hands-free for sectional control, starting/stopping, application and prescription maps.
The farmer already had owned a Raven monitor, which he used on a maize drill and an old spray rig. These monitors are easy enough to switch between different machines. All you need to do is change the settings to suit the different application and implement, including the width/rate/tractor, all of which can be pre-configured as a profile and called 'back-up' at anytime as you switch implements. Details for placement, rates and dates can also be changed so downloadable records are accurate.
If your spraying requirements are not quite as high as the Advance provides, the 800-litre Condor and 2000-litre Columbia from Jacto could be worth a look, as they are based on the design, strength and build quality of their big brother.
The Condor has boom options of 12 or 14m and the Columbia, 14 or 18m. Extras can include a chemical induction hopper, GPS, 50 to 100m gun and hose reels and foam markers.
Being quick and easy to set up was a big plus for me, as it saves the operator a lot of time and ensures contractors can and will be spraying when that window of opportunity opens.
The Spraysmart Advance can be hooked up to any midsize tractor and the GPS system can be used for a range of jobs, so it is more cost-effective for the farmer or contractor.
The capacity of the Advance is also impressive and allows the operator to complete only one pass on his headlands instead of two with his old sprayer, enabling him to get the job done a lot faster than before.
The build quality and design of the Jacto is what impressed me most. The boom is particularly well designed and it is clear the designers have refined it over the years, almost perfecting it. The suspension is excellent, taking care of all the bumps in the paddock.
With the boom being broken up into nine sections, the auto-controller and the GPS, this machine will save operators money on chemicals. Overall, less moving parts/pivots on the boom means less wear and tear, and there's no need for a welder every time you want to use the sprayer.
Lastly, I really like Jacto's 'never abandon a farmer using our equipment' philosophy, as it gives you the reassurance you need when you're carrying out critical jobs like spraying. Hustler is also committed to this philosophy here in New Zealand, so you're guaranteed great service.
They are well worth a look for anyone in the market for a high-capacity, high-spec yet very easy to operate sprayer.
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