Test: Buckton 9MS muck spreader

By: Mark Fouhy, Photography by: Mark Fouhy


Buckton 9MS muck spreader The shiny new Buckton before the s#*t hits the fan...
Buckton 9MS muck spreader
Buckton 9MS muck spreader Testing time: spreading a load of wet animal manure.
Buckton 9MS muck spreader Hydraulically controlled rear door and floor chains control supply of material to the twin spreaders.
Buckton 9MS muck spreader The braked front axle is a standard feature of the Buckton MS.
Buckton 9MS muck spreader Clear visual sigh glass.
Buckton 9MS muck spreader The recessed floor chains and scrapers do a good job of getting the bin cleaned out.
Buckton 9MS muck spreader To achieve the best spread, the Buckton 9MS requires high revs.
Buckton 9MS muck spreader Oscillating tandem axle keeps loading and overall height down.

This month I caught up with Te Awamutu dairy farmer Allen (AJ) Bryant and put his new Buckton 9MS muck spreader to the test.

With the building of a new covered concrete feeding pad/standoff area, with 100 cubic meters of effluent storage, Bryant needed a machine to handle spreading effluent. After hiring a spreader in the past at $700-$1000, with varying results, he thought it was best to do some research and find a machine that would suit his operation and spread a variety of materials from wet to solid.

That’s where the new Buckton 9MS muck spreader comes in.

The test

Controls for the Buckton MS are fairly simple — two sets of hydraulic remotes are required. The first set is to operate the rear door (with liquids you only want the door open a small amount; with solids you can open the door up a lot more). The second set of hydraulics is to control the floor and the material fed back to the horizontal twin spreader unit.

With no fancy electronic control box, you will need to adjust flow rates on the tractor hydraulics to speed up or slow down the floor. The lack of electronics in machines can save quite a lot of time and allow for less-experienced operators to do a job which would otherwise require a more experienced operator.

The rear beaters run off the PTO at 1000rpm. With a straight shaft running beneath the floor and gearbox at the rear, power loss is minimised. With the easy-to-check oil sight gauge at the rear of the machine, you only need to get under the machine to tend to the couple of grease nipples on the shaft, brakes, and oscillating axle setup.

For the test, Bryant had initially filled the spreader with a liquid effluent waste. Without being certain where the run-off property I was heading to was, Bryant was going to be in front of me heading from the home farm, which I thought was ideal — I could just follow the spillage from the machine until I found him!

However, this was harder than expected as the rubber seals front and rear, coupled with the recessed chains, meant the machine hardly spilt a drop.

Buckton _9MS_2

The Buckton has a clear panel to check on the front, and, with the liquid loads, I thought it could be good to have one on the side as well, to avoid over-filling and the load surging over the top. The manufacturer hasn't added a clear side panel, as over time it will probably end up stained and green.

Testing with Bryant, my rough measurements gave a spread of 10 metres with the very sloppy load, and about 12 metres with the more solid load, with the tractor at lower revs. To achieve the best spread, the Buckton needs to operate at high revs.

With around 200 cubic metres of waste to spread annually, Bryant still wants to do a little more trial work and check the spread pattern and rates for various products to help maximise his maize and pasture crops, while minimising environmental impact and unnecessary fertiliser spending.

The Buckton has a twin axle with 400/70Rx22.5 tyres as standard. Bryant opted for 500/60Rx22.5 tyres on his machine, which will provide better flotation, less soil compaction, and increased stability on the hills.

With the oscillating axle used on the Buckton spreader, like a lot of silage wagons in New Zealand, wheelbase is increased by having the wheels under the body of the machine, as well as lowering the height for loading and making it easier for a front end loader.

Build quality/construction

Functionality over style is a key feature of Buckton and other Kiwi-made equipment. The MS spreader doesn't look fancy, it looks like a muck spreader.

The four floor chains have the scrapers welded to them and they do a good job of emptying the body of the spreader. Twin hydraulic floor motors, and the split floor chains, are the major differences in the Buckton machine versus some of its competitors, meaning a lighter chain and drive motor can be used for each side, spreading the load and weight.

Four thick box-section ribs hold the weight of a loaded bin of muck, and strong vertical beaters with extra steel blocks at floor height handle the bricks or whatever other random objects that accidently find their way into the machine.

Quality fittings/components are used throughout and the machine is finished off with a Buckton orange paint job.

Buckton _9MS_8

Extras

There a number of extras available for the Buckton spreader range from tyres, hydraulic jacks, and lights. Lights are a good idea if you intend to use your machine on the road, but if you are seldom on the road, 'wide load' warning flags may be sufficient.

A couple of the features Bryant and I felt were missing from the machine were a ladder at the front to safely check load capacity or for hosing out, and a yolk to hold the PTO while not connected. Paul Gleeson, sales manager at Buckton, says these features will become standard on new 9MS machines, and Bryant's machine was going back to have these additions added, which is excellent.

The verdict

Overall, the Buckton MS is a no-nonsense, practical, versatile, well-built machine to last for years. Six years ago, Bryant saw muck spreaders in action in the UK and with a new Buckton on-farm to help take care of the spreading duties and extract the most value out of his effluent, he's away laughing.

Pros

  • Designed and made in New Zealand to suit our conditions
  • Locally owned so parts and service are not a problem, feedback from customers is valued and changes have been made to design and machine tested already
  • Sensibly-sized machine to 
  • suit the larger dairy farm or smaller contractor
  • Ability to spread a variety of materials from 90-percent liquid to almost solid
  • Four floor chains with a drive motor on each side

Cons

  • No ladder to get up and safely check/clean the machine (although, this is being rectified)
  • No visual sight gauge at the front to tell you how wide you have the rear door open 
  • Potential uses
  • Liquid slurry
  • Wood chip/bedding material
  • Solid animal waste when using a solids-separating effluent system
  • Other animal waste eg. chicken, pig manure
  • Drain cleanings/top soil

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