Test: Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer

By: Brent Liley, Photography by: Brent Lilley

Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer The vertical fold boom leaves the sprayer with an overall height of 3m when folded Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer A PTO-driven, three-cylinder pump with an output of 125L/min Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer Spring steel guides and guards prevent damage from the ground and obstacles Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer The pump is mounted a long way forward on the drawbar, leaving only minimal clearance for the three-point linkage arms Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer The sprayer is well balanced with the main tank positioned over the axle Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer An axle mounted on leaf springs provides a smooth ride Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer Foam markers fitted on the boom ends to help minimise overlapping Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer The trapeze linkage uses the weight of the boom to keep it level, limiting sway movement Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer Electronic valves are used to control the three sections of the boom from the cab Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer A break back on the last 1.5 metres of the boom prevents damage if an obstacle is struck Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer

Brent Lilley heads to Southland to test a new Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer — an affordable option if you’re looking to get into trailed spraying. Plus it offers some great features, including flow rate control and a hydraulic boom.

Test: Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer
An auto flow rate controller keeps the application rate on target, regardless of the forward speed

Although I'm virtually from the opposite end of the country, I'm a huge fan of Southland and get a real kick out of visiting the area. The development and scope of agriculture in this region is incredible and really appeals to me.

Although, during a recent mid-winter trip I was reminded how tough farming can be in this region. During an early morning drive between Dipton and Gore I saw plenty of farmers out and about shifting breaks (a time-consuming task), as the majority of dairy cows, sheep, beef cattle and deer are wintered on crops like kale and swedes.

But it wasn't all roadtrips and sight-seeing. I was down in Southland to do some work of my own testing a new Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer to benefit all our readers out there. This sprayer is an entry-level trailing sprayer designed for those wanting the simplicity and stability of a trailing sprayer without the hefty price tag that some others have. Once I reached Gore, I met up with Ross Dickson, Hardi's number one sales manager in New Zealand and together we headed north to a farm up the Waikaia Valley where the Hardi sprayer awaited us.

Mike Thompson is the owner of the Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer. He farms a mix of sheep and beef, with some cropping for winter feed and grain. The sprayer was purchased less than twelve months ago, upgrading from another Hardi sprayer he'd been using on his property for the past 10 years. The new sprayer will be put to good use spraying 250ha of pasture, winter feed brassicas and barley. Thompson says he's really impressed with the new sprayer and in particular, the service he receives from Hardi. He's had no regrets paying a bit more for a few extras, such as the auto flow rate controller in the cab, a hydraulic folding boom and height control, which have all made the job of spraying faster and more efficient.


All the components of the sprayer are mounted on a sturdy box section chassis, which includes an access platform built from checkerplate steel on the left-hand side, creating a safe area to fill the sprayer. The entire chassis is powder-coated in 'Hardi red' to give it a tidy finish. A wind-up jack is mounted on the drawbar out of the way, so when the sprayer is unhitched the overall length is just over four metres. A box section axle is mounted under the chassis on leaf springs to give the sprayer a smoother ride and the optional large 12.4/24 lug tread tyres keep compaction to a minimum whilst giving the sprayer 480mm of crop clearance. Unfortunately for those of you on row-specific crops, such as maize or vegetables, this sprayer has no options for any adjustment in the track width from 1.8 metres, although I'm sure if this was important it could be fixed with spacers or different rims. Having no mudguards probably won't bother too many people, but for those planning on spraying pasture, especially after cows, it might become an issue.


The main tank is moulded polyethylene with a capacity of 1200 litres and sits to the rear of the chassis, directly over the axle to keep things balanced. The tank is a low, squat oval shape which also keeps the centre of gravity low. It is filled directly through the hatch in the top, which is easily accessed from the platform on the side. There is an adequate-sized sump in the bottom of the tank to make sure the last of the spray gets used up on flat ground, like where we were, although I suspect it could prove a little shallow if spraying on hills. A clever drain plug incorporated in the sump can be opened by pulling a cord on the side of the sprayer to dump any liquid out and will close when the string is released. While all chemicals needed to be directly poured into the tank on this machine, Hardi does offer the option of a 25-litre chemical induction hopper. For this, a twin jet nozzle for agitating is mounted in the bottom of the tank to help mix chemicals.

There is a separate 120-litre rinse tank mounted at the front of the chassis for flushing the pump, nozzles, and lines, which is used when changing chemicals. There's also a 15-litre handwash tank on the right-hand side for the operator's hygiene.


The pump is a reliable three-cylinder grease-lubricated pump with a more than adequate output of 125L/min and an easy to access filter to keep the lines and nozzles free from blockages. For whatever reason, the pump has been mounted a long way forward on the drawbar. This not only means the PTO shaft is quite short, placing stress on the yokes when turning, but leaves minimal clearance between the three-point linkage arms. This is less than ideal, but there is help at hand as Hardi offers a hydraulically-driven pump as an extra, which will do away with the need for a PTO shaft. Foam markers have been fitted to the ends of the boom with a tank and a unit to create the foam is fitted at the front of the chassis.


As mentioned, this sprayer was fitted with optional hydraulic folding on the boom, which allows it to be folded from inside the cab, saving time. As the boom uses an individual ram on each side on separate spool valves, the left or right can be lifted independently when spraying to clear obstacles. A break back on the last 1.5 metres of the tip of the boom on either side gives added safety if an obstacle is struck. As the boom folds and sits vertically, it gives the sprayer a maximum height of three metres to the top of the booms when folded. The nozzles are arranged in three sections and the single body holders were fitted with a standard Hardi low-drift nozzle. The boom itself is connected to the mount via a trapeze linkage, using the weight of the boom to keep it level while still allowing it to move, preventing damage.

To mount the boom, the sprayer was fitted with the optional hydraulic raise and lower kit that allows the height of the boom to be changed from the cab of the tractor quickly and easily when spraying in different crops and conditions. Also as an option this sprayer was fitted with airbag suspension, which in my opinion was well worth it. It is adjustable by increasing or decreasing the pressure with an air compressor. Even when we were spraying in a relatively flat paddock you could see the suspension taking away a lot of movement that would be transferred from the sprayer to the boom.


The controls in the cab are spread over three control boxes, which takes up quite a bit of room but they're luckily quite easy to use. The first box is quite simple for the foam markers, which has a left, right and on/off button. The main standard controller for the sprayer is the 'Spray 2' box which controls the master on/off switch. Controls for the three sections on the boom are clearly labelled with on/off toggle switches. The section control valves on the sprayer will dump the spray back into the tank rather than increasing the pressure through the other sections.

The third control box is the HC2500 flow rate controller, which is fitted to this sprayer as an option measuring the flow rate and takes the forward speed off a sensor on the wheel, then increases or decreases the pressure in the lines to maintain the target application rate, regardless of the speed. The two line display screen can be set to display a range of information but was displaying the set application and actual spray rates per hectare along with the forward speed. I found it straight forward and easy to use.


Chemicals and fertilisers aren't cheap these days and restrictions are getting tighter, so achieving good results from spray applications in a timely manner is as important as ever. Many of the features and options available on the Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer will help achieve this. Thompson confirmed this by stipulating he was particularly impressed with the flow rate controller, the hydraulic boom and airbag suspension. For me there were just a few negative points, such as missing mudguards and the clearance for the three-point linkage arms, but both could be fixed relatively easily with support from Hardi. Overall, this sprayer offers an affordable option for those wanting to get into a trailing sprayer. Stand-out features for me include a low centre of gravity, easy hitching and a more even weight distribution.

Hardi Grasslands 1200 sprayer




3-cylinder 125L/min



Ground clearance


Wheel track


Overall width


Overall height

3m booms folded

Overall length


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