Rolland Rollforce 5517 spreader test

The recent Grasslandz event at Eureka in the Waikato provided a great opportunity to get an up-close look at a Rolland Rollforce 5517 muck spreader.

Although muck spreaders were a rare sight on New Zealand farms only a few years ago, their popularity has certainly soared in recent times as farmers now see the value in spreading manure, compost and other solid waste products onto pastures to promote growth.

Now it seems every year there is a different company importing a new type of spreader, which seems like a lot but the advantage for buyers is that there’s plenty of choice. One such choice is my test machine this month – the Rolland Rollforce 5517 muck spreader.

Design and build

From the outset, it was pretty clear that the Rolland Rollforce was very well built with some serious engineering in the design. Up the front, a solid A-frame drawbar has been used to give added strength and stability to the machine. A spring suspension with shock absorbers is fitted on the drawbar under the load bed to smooth out the ride. Interestingly, there is also an option for hydraulic suspension with accumaulators to minimise the amount of bounce even further.

As the machine is destined to spend most of its life handling somewhat corrosive products, all steel work has had six layers of paint inside and out with a process that includes a full submersion dip, powder coating and oven baking for an immaculate long lasting finish.

Load bed

A high front on the load bed offers protection to the back window of the tractor as stones often fly out when the material is emptied. The high front also adds to the heaped capacity of the machine. The sides of the load bed are kept lower to keep the loading height to a reasonable 2.8 metres, although this probably still means you will need a decent-sized tractor and front end loader or telehandler to get a good heaped load in. At the rear of the load bed, a hydraulic guillotine door keeps the load in for transport.


Floor chains

Inside the load bed, a chain and slate floor is used to shift the load towards the rear of the machine when the load is being spread. The heavy-duty upturned channel iron slates span the width of the machine and help scrape the floor clean as the material unloads. High quality 16mm marine grade chains are welded to the end of the slates and a hydraulic drive motor at the back turns the sprockets that move the floor chains.

Another clever inclusion is an indicator at the front which shows the operator that the bed is moving and which direction it is turning. The floor chains are kept tensioned on the front idlers which are not only mechanically adjustable but also include a spring system to keep chains tight at all times and absorb any shock loading.


The model tested has been designed with high output users and those who want to accurately spread light products such as compost and chicken manure. To achieve the best results in these conditions, the machine uses horizontal beaters and spinning discs.

Firstly, the two horizontal beater drums are designed to break the material apart from the main part of the load and feed it evenly on the spinners. They are an open hexagonal drum design with short hardened teeth spaced around it to tear material apart. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of cleaning out the twine that inevitably gets tangled in the beaters, will appreciate the open design and angle iron cross members that make it easy to run the grinder or gas torch along cutting the twine.

Heavy-duty spinners operating at around 450rpm propel the material out the sides and rear of the machine in much the same fashion as a regular fertiliser spreader work. The discs worked well on light material and the compost that was being spread on the day was covering around 15 metres fairly evenly.

The machine is operated at 1000rpm PTO speed and power is transferred through drive shafts under the load bed to the rear, where it is split through heavy-duty right angle gearboxes to the spinners and up the side to the beaters. Shear bolt protection on the drive shafts prevent any serious damage to the machine from foreign objects and slip clutch on the front will prevent damage to the tractor.

The really clever part of the Rolland setup is that beaters and discs are built as a separate unit to the rest of machine which allows them to be quite easily unbolted and removed once the hydraulics and drive shafts have been disconnected. While this is not something that you would do too often, it is nice to have the option.


All hydraulics on the machine run through an onboard closed circuit hydraulic system which uses a hydraulic oil tank and pump at the front of the machine that runs off the PTO and an electric over hydraulic valve bank controls the flow rates. Not only does this make hitching the machine up easy as there is only the PTO shaft, lights and control box cable to hook up; it also reduces the risk of oil cross contamination between tractors if used on different machines and lowers the hydraulic output and external valve requirements of the tractor.

Rollforce 11


With a closed circuit hydraulic system on the spreader, everything is operated through a simple and easy to use control box rather than remote valves. A row of toggle switches control the floor on/off, the guillotine door and rear hood. The speed that the floor feeds the material to the beaters can be manually controlled with a dial, or by using the speed sensor on the wheel which allows the floor speed to be set then turned to auto so that it will change as the forward speed changes making it easy for operators to achieve a consistent even spread.

The verdict

The Rolland Rollforce 5517 spreader is a top-of-the-line machine designed for high output users who require consistent accuracy, and there are some impressive features, all of which make the whole process simple for the operator. As you would imagine, all the extra spec does come with a price tag, but I would argue it is well worth it if you’re covering a lot of ground.

For those looking for a more economical alternative, Rolland has a complete range of spreaders to fit any budget that are all designed and built to the same high standards.


  • High quality construction and finish.
  • Onboard closed circuit hydraulic system.
  • Auto bed speed, ground speed from wheel sensor.
  • Mudguards.
  • Height indicator for rear door.
  • Hydraulic brakes and jack.
  • Spreading system on the back can be removed or interchanged.


  • Loading height is going to be a little high for some.
  • Price – but it does have all the bell and whistles.

Read the full test in the latest issue of Farm Trader magazine. Subscribe here.

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