2019 Ktwo Evo 1400 review

By: Jaiden Drought, Photography by: Justin Bennett, Video by: Justin Bennett


The Ktwo Evo 1400 is purpose-built for spreading solid muck and, this month, Jaiden Drought tests its performance and design first-hand.

We venture a long way from Matamata Ag’s home base to check out one of its high-end offerings, the Ktwo Evo 1400, on a mixed dairy and cropping farm near Ashburton.

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Bruce Turpin and his team farm a 400-hectare property, run with 200 hectares as a dairy farm and the remaining as a cropping block.

Having dairy cows turn food to effluent is a valuable nutrient tool that’s utilised fully across the farming operation on this property.

Not only is effluent from the dairy shed and yard captured but the addition of a free stall barn three years ago also means a significant amount of the farm’s total effluent is captured, before being spread evenly over a much wider area, significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the property.

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The high front guard protects the tractor while the mesh design still allows you to see how much is in the spreader

All of this aforementioned dairy effluent gets pumped to a sump. This is pumped up through a solid separator, with the liquid then spread via the centre pivot irrigator while solids are spread through the Ktwo Evo 1400 solid muck spreader.

The solids are mainly spread over the cropping block as all of the crops grown support the dairy farm. As a result, nutrients are transported back to the dairy farm with the crops, so the system enables a simple merry go round of nutrients in and nutrients out before coming back in.

More importantly, the effluent is being used productively and not ending up in waterways (contrary to popular public misconception).

Company history

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The 180hp Claas proved more than ample for the task

Ktwo was established in the 1980s in the UK. The family-run business retains its high focus on build quality and technology.

New Zealand Ktwo importer Matamata Ag is also a family-run business dedicated to offering farmers and contractors high-quality agricultural machinery suitable for a wide variety of applications.

The Ktwo products fit the Matamata Ag standards in terms of build quality and being fit for purpose for the New Zealand market.

Machine features

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Loading the separated effluent solids

Scales

Top of Bruce’s wish-list was scales for accuracy and traceability. The load cells, coupled with an RDS in-cab monitor, allows the spreading rate (in this case, six tonnes per hectare) to be set. This then dictates oil flow to the floor chains.

All the operator has to do is open the tail door and stick to the set forward speed (which will alert you if you are going too fast or slow). It’s as close as you’ll get to a foolproof system.

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This feature also not only allows them to track, monitor, and record how much nutrient is being spread at any given time but it also allows specific crop requirements to be met (if the effluent is tested) without the need for additional chemical fertiliser.

The 1400 on the side of the machine references 14 tonnes (or 21 cubic metres of capacity). In the middle of winter, when the material is much wetter, 14 tonnes fits comfortably in the machine, and as it’s wet and therefore heavier, it does spread better.

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The monocoque body allows high load capacity while still being able to have the advantages of large wheels 

For the purposes of seeing the machine in action for our test, we only managed nine tonnes of dry material, although, the beauty of this rear discharge machine is that this type of material or chicken litter, sawdust, etc. is handled with ease and no drama, whereas some other machines struggle with the two different types of material.

The monocoque body is flared, which offers increased capacity for loading, as well as easier unloading and the ability to fit with larger tyres without increasing the transport width.

Chains and gearbox

These Ktwo chains are officially big daddies: four 16ml marine chains (twin row) with 128-tonne breaking strain, driven off a 75mm diameter floor drive shaft with six tooth sprocket. In terms of floor bars, this machine uses what I call slotted bars.

These are essentially two pieces of channel bar, sitting inside one another before being welded for added strength to cope with the extremely heavy loads. The heavy materials being loaded can be hard on floor chains and bars, and for a contractor, it’s often a bit of a lottery in terms of what gets loaded into their machine, so high level build quality is an absolute must.

The only gripe I have is that the single side drive for the floor chains does put additional twisting stress through the floor shaft.

Rotors and tail door

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The large removable rear door brings all the material to the large bottom spinners

The large 1.25-metre diameter dynamically balanced, bottom spreading rotors have top speed of 65km/hr. This gives a much wider and finer spread pattern across the paddock, something that’s really important with the dry fluffy heavy straw or sawdust type by-products, traditionally much harder to spread.

Rear beaters are 965mm, with the removable rear cover allowing all the teased material to be dropped down onto the fast spinning bottom rotor teeth (boron hardened), then blasted across the impressive 20-metre spreading width.

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The large boron-hardened rear beaters can spread up to 20m

The wide angle PTO shaft at the front is coupled to the main driveline back to the central rotor drive. A torque limiting clutch offers driveway protection.

I reckon the tail door would benefit from a scale that can be seen in the mirrors, as essentially, this is the only thing that can alter the spreading rate on this machine, as the rest is computer controlled.

Axle and tyres

As well as 10 stud, 150mm commercial axles with heavy-duty brakes, our test machine was fitted with 580/70R38 tyres. I prefer single axles on these machines, as it allows weight to be transferred back to the tractor giving better traction. Also with less rolling resistance, you don’t get the sledging of tandem axles in the wet.

Verdict

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How good does it look from above!

The scales, coupled with the in-cab monitor, make this machine an integral part of Bruce’s business. All of the nutrients from the dairy farm can be transported back to their origin (the cropping side) and with great accuracy and traceability can be evenly spread over the coming season’s crop.

The build quality and ease of use of this machine (despite a level of technology) is one of its standout features. Often, adding more and more steel to these types of machines will make them stronger of course, but the weight then becomes the downfall.

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Both top and chain guards protect the rear window in the tractor – and the operator of course!

Ktwo has been smartly designed, with extra strength added in key areas, staying mindful that the machine still has to be towed around paddocks, even at times when the weather is marginal because cows keep producing effluent, no matter what the time of year.

Pluses

  • Impressive build quality
  • RDS monitor and scales allow spread rate to be computer controlled
  • Large single tyres are better in the wet and allow weight to be transferred to the tractor
  • Monocoque body allows higher capacity and larger tyres without compromising width
  • Large 16mm chain with 128-tonne break strength
  • Double channel floor bars for added strength
  • LED lights with auto fold down covers
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The 16mm floor chain with 128T break force and reinforced bars mean they can tackle the toughest jobs

Minuses

  • Single side floor drive
  • The tail door needs a scale which can be seen in the side mirrors

Ktwo Evo 1400 spreader video

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