Joskin Euroliner 24,000 slurry tanker
This month Brent Lilley has tested the perfect machine for farmers who need to spread a shed load of slurry.
When it comes to pasture, most farmers around the country are trying to achieve the same thing — maximise output (grass grown) while minimising input (fertiliser and chemicals) and nearly everyone out there has a variation on how to do this.
The Joskin tanker was being pulled with a 210hp Case Puma, which seemed more than adequate for the job although it was the flat Canterbury plains. With an eight-inch jumbo filler arm, loading was quick and simple. Simply pull up next to a funnel arising from the lagoon, lower the filling arm into the funnel and then watch as the tank is filled by a vacuum pump creating a vacuum in the tank. The whole process takes less than five minutes without you having to leave the cab.
Out in the paddock unloading was equally as easy. The 18-metre boom unfolds and lowers itself to the ground. From the cab the PTO is engaged to drive the vacuum pump, this time pressurising the tank to force the effluent out, through the two macerators and out of the individual lines on the boom, spreading the effluent evenly across the width of the boom.
The Case tractor was set up with GPS guidance and auto steering, which made it simple to avoid overlapping and misses. We were applying around 3ml of effluent to the ground, which would result in the application of around 20 units of nitrogen per hectare.
At the front, twin hydraulic rams with accumulators between the chassis and the drawbar not only provide drawbar suspension but keep the tank level during operation, while allowing it to be tilted to the front or rear during loading, unloading and for even weight distribution. Further back there are three axles which use commercial running gear with air-operated drum brakes all round, great for stopping this huge amount of weight in a short space.
Some form of steering is a must on any tri-axle machine and the system used on the Joskin Euroliner is an outstanding example. A hydraulic ram is used between the front of the chassis and yoke, which is bolted on the tractor near the hitch. The front and rear axles have steering rams on them and once again a pressurised closed-circuit hydraulic system is used to connect them.
There are quite literally dozens of different tyre size options available from Joskin and the decision is quite an important one, given the amount of weight they are going to be carrying across what can sometimes be quite-soft paddocks. This machine was fitted with Michelin Cargo Bib 650/55 26.5 tyres a wide flat tyre to optimise the footprint size and keep compaction low.
The pump on this machine was a fitted GARDA pumping system that uses two individual pumps connected with a gearbox, allowing them to be run individually. The first is the vacuum pump which is oil lubricated and used for most operations.
The other pump is a centrifugal pump with a 200mm outlet straight from the bottom of the tank. This pumps a high volume at a high pressure, and is solely for the spreading cannon mounted on the tanker.
The tank is built from sheet steel rolled into shape, then welded to build sections that are then robotically welded together and fully galvanised for a long lifespan. This particular tank is one of the larger in the Joskin line-up at 24,000 litres. The tank is mounted on top of the chassis with a thin strip of rubber inbetween and is bolted down the length of the chassis
In order to fill the tanker without leaving the tractor, it's fitted with a jumbo filler arm which can be raised and lowered hydraulically from the cab. It is 200mm in diameter for faster filling and has an end that fits into a steel funnel and pipe that is connected to the slurry lagoon. To save time filling up, the pump can create a vacuum in the tank while heading back from the paddock and begin fill as soon as the arm is lowered to the funnel.
An attachment carrier on the back of the chassis is used to carry the chosen spreading attachment. This uses a four-point linkage with two top links and arms with quick-link ends. Two lift rams are used to raise and lower the attachment. This is a good system that allows you to change attachments as simply as you would on a tractor's three-point linkage system. Although we didn't change attachments on the day, I can vouch for this system having used it on a Joskin tanker overseas that was regularly being changed between a dribble bar and an arable injector.
For what may seem a rather complicated machine, the controls are relatively simple. The hydraulic system is run through a power beyond system from the tractor with all functions operated electronically from the box in the cab of the tractor. Although the control box needs to control around 14 separate functions, it is quite basic — two rows of toggle switches, each one with a small picture to show what the switch does, a little confusing to begin with but easy to master. Other than the control box the pump is run directly from the PTO, with a hydraulic jack plug into a spool valve.
This tanker is a seriously big unit and can move a massive amount of effluent around. I imagine the pool of potential buyers for this size tanker is going to be quite limited, but as Joskin builds a wide range of tankers there is bound to a size that will suit your situation. Over the years Joskin has built up literally hundreds of options, including many of the features of this tank which are available on most of its other tankers. This was without a doubt one of the best-designed and built machines I have seen recently with some brilliant systems for steering and suspension along with filling and emptying. If you need to move a serious amount of slurry then this one's for you.
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