It’s been a big year in the evolution of Case IH’s Patriot sprayer — it celebrated its 25th anniversary, got a special paint finish to mark the occasion and now Australian farmers can experience the latest version of the technology that has propelled the Patriot to such great heights.
The AIM Command system was a game-changer in spray technology, offering flexibility to product application; and the latest version — AIM Command FLEX — is now on the market, offering even more advantages than the previous form, the AIM Command PRO.
It offers consistent, flexible and accurate application, regardless of speed and terrain, and the likes of South Australian farmer Robin Krieg would not be without it.
Robin and wife Robyn farm with son Josh and his wife Caitlin at Kangaroo Flat, about 40km north of Adelaide.
They produce a wide variety of crop types from wheat, barley, canola and oats to chick peas, lentils, hay and faba beans, across more than 3000ha.
Their enterprise, as well as the contract spraying business they operate, relies on a Case IH Patriot, the third one the Kriegs have owned in the past seven years.
The Kriegs’ latest Patriot has already done 1000 hours, and Robin Krieg — who had AIM Command Pro on his previous Patriot — said the FLEX S was giving all that was promised.
‘‘It’s an improvement on what we had last time in that the FLEX is easier to operate,’’ Mr Krieg said.
‘‘You can go from a fine spray to ultra-coarse with the press of a button.
‘‘The individual nozzle control means you don’t waste any chemical and it works out to be very accurate — if you have 34 hectares to do, you’ve done 34 hectares — there’s no wastage of spray.’’
Case IH’s Australia/New Zealand high horsepower and sprayer product manager Alyx Selsmeyer said there were three levels of technology on the newest Patriot sprayer — Non-AIM Command, AIM Command FLEX and AIM Command FLEX S — with the three levels giving the customer increasing levels of spray control.
Features of the FLEX technology include:
■More consistent rate control over a wider range of speeds;
■36 section overlap control to minimise costly over-spray and double applications which can not only stunt the growth of the crop but can also lead to lodging — slowing things down at harvest time as well;
■Increased drift control by allowing the boom pressure to be adjusted independent of the target rate and sprayer speed;
■Application rate turn compensation — which means potential damage is minimised when spraying around trees, utility poles, or any curve in a field where the spray boom can be travelling faster on the outside of the turn and slower on the inside;
■Increased product application flexibility — for example, operators can choose to increase spray rates up to 30 per cent from the target rate in key sections of the boom.
Mr Krieg said as contract sprayers, and given their location, they sprayed alongside many different types of crops, from onions and potatoes to vineyards and flowers.
‘‘We have got a whole range of things around us where we’ve got to be careful of spray drift.
‘‘The FLEX makes it a lot easier to switch to an ultra-coarse spray and in a lot quicker time,’’ he said.
Victorian farmer Ryan Nalder said the ability to spray in conditions that would ground other sprayers was one of the big advantages of the FLEX, saving precious time and money.
‘‘Most farmers recognise the ideal spraying window can be quite small at times but with the ability to control your speed and droplet size at the touch of a button, we can extend that window,’’ Mr Nalder said.