Test: Strautmann Silberblitz BE 1401
Recycling farming by-products is becoming more and more cost effective and beneficial for farmers, thanks to well-made muck and slurry spreaders. Mark Fouhy tests one such machine, the Strautmann Silberblitz BE 1401 muck spreader.
To test the new Strautmann Silberblitz BE 1401 muck spreader, I first had to look up the meaning of 'silberblitz'. I discovered (thanks to trusty Google) it means 'silver lightning' or 'bullet' — a far cry from my own translation, which was a bit more literal: 's#%t destroyer.'
The Strautmann Silberblitz BE 1401 I tested this month is a new addition to an assortment of machinery at a Waikato milking goat farm in Te Aroha.
Spreading nutrients with the Silberblitz
I had a couple of material types to test the Silberblitz spreader with – the first being manure-enriched wood shavings from one of the goat-housing sheds. This material was light and broke up easily through the twin horizontal beaters, dropping smoothly onto the twin spreader discs at the rear of the machine.
The second material we spread was wet waste goat feed (lengths of grass/straw/silage) combined with manure and bedding material. Although not a slurry spreader, it coped well with this heavy 50:50 water/solid product.
With a leaf spring setup on the axles, as well as the spring suspension system in the drawbar, the Silberblitz tows well. The tandem axle, with the large 560/45R 22.5 Vredestein flotation tyres, handled this heavier load well, and didn't leave ruts. However, the big tyres do scuff the ground a bit while turning at headlands.
For testing, I had the spreader hooked onto a Valtra T121, which worked well. Strautmann suggests a 100hp/74kW tow machine as a minimum requirement and spreading though hilly terrain you will want more power, as well as the extra weight of a bigger tractor.
Operating the Silberblitz
Operating the Strautmann Silberblitz BE 1401 muck spreader is similar to a loader wagon, without the pick up to worry about or a silage wagon that feeds out the back.
With the electro control box you have one cable connecting to the tractor for the controls, and another connection for the power to the control box, which will control the hydraulic functions through one set of hydraulic remotes. The hydraulics control the opening and closing of the rear sludge door.
A clear visual gauge is on the front of the wagon, which can be easily seen from the cab. The floor speed has a variable control, which I set to push the load back quickly, as I did not want to drive up and down the paddock all day, causing extra soil compaction.
If you happen to jam the spreader or push it back too fast, you can bring the floor forwards in approximately 30cm increments, which is enough to clear the load at the rear.
The horizontal beaters and twin spinning discs run simultaneously off the PTO, in the 1000rpm speed. If you attempt to run the floor without the PTO operating, an audible alarm and light will flash on the control box.
Strautmann claims only a max spread of 21 metres, but with the heavy wet material I was spreading, I was getting around 25 to 30 metres. One downside of the Silberblitz spreader is the inability to see when you have completely finished the load.
Servicing is crucial to keep muck spreaders performing optimally. Fortunately, the Silberblitz keeps things simple with a diagram at the front showing all the grease points to cover, as well as chains and drives which need greasing every 10 hours (daily), plus a few others at 50 hours.
Strautmann has looked after the floor-chain tension with a spring system mounted on the outside front of the wagon, away from the muck, which is simple and effective.
I was very impressed with the build quality and construction of the Strautmann Silberblitz. The galvanised main body and chassis is smart, given it has a life ahead of it spreading muck.
The running gear/floor chains/spreader/beater unit and drawbar are painted in Strautmann maroon/red. The hydraulic trailer brakes are European-made and standard on all four wheels. The taillights for road work also come standard.
A small feature of the wagon I liked was the manual brake application system. The wagon comes with two wheel blocks, but also offers the option of a manual brake as an extra safety feature to stop the machine moving while not connected to the towing vehicle.
Another good idea is the thick plastic floorboards as opposed to your traditional steel or wooden floor. The plastic helps keep the material sliding and it won't rot or rust in the weather.
By-products of farming, like calfshed waste, can be a burden unless you can utilise it to spread back onto your property to help replace organic matter and other nutrients for improved grass growth.
Purchasing a Strautmann manure spreader will help you achieve this and it won't be long before the initial cost of the Strautmann Silberblitz pays for itself. This is well designed, simple to operate, easy to service, and built tough enough to last you 'shed loads' of years.
- Excellent construction and finish
- Galvanised body and chassis for corrosion resistance
- Plastic floor boards to prevent muck build-up
- Twin disc spreaders and horizontal beater bars provide consistent spread
- Easy connection and operation
- Big flotation tyres minimise soil compaction and handle heavy loads
- Hard to see when load is completely empty
The Strautmann family has been manufacturing agricultural equipment from Bad Laer, Germany for over 80 years, and more recently from a second factory in Poland.
Strautmann manufactures a range of machines, from the very popular loader wagons to muck spreaders, trailers, bale-handling equipment, mixer wagons, buckets, and shear grabs.
Since 1983, Strautmann equipment has been imported and sold through Strautmann Hopkins Ltd, run by Andrew Hopkins, part of the Hopkins Farming Group, based in the Manawatu.
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