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RoGator Customer Review

“ After only a couple of hours I knew I made the right decision ...”

Leo Casey, NFS-Ag, Gunnedah, NSW,

December 2012

THE Gunnedah-based NFS Agribusiness contract spray operation is celebrating the latest Croplands Equipment addition to its burgeoning fleet.  The recently-delivered Rogator 1300 is the latest unit in its machinery line-up, complementing a SpraCoupe 4660 purchased in 2011.
It gives NFS Ag operations manager Leo Casey a valuable option in satisfying the company’s growing portfolio of irrigation country and row crop customers.  With plenty of ground to cover during the course of any busy year the importance of equipping the business with the best possible machinery inventory has never
been greater.

The point to make here is that this noted crop treatment operation must cover between 100,000ha to 120,000ha per annum, depending on the season which has been especially dry these past few months.  “We’ve still got enough work to keep the wheels turning but with the wheat harvest completed we’re now looking at defoliating chickpeas, hoping that rain around Christmas will see a decent sorghum crop go in,” Leo said.

Working within a 200km radius of Gunnedah, NFS Ag specialises in treating wheat, barley, sorghum, cotton, also mungbean crops.  All this translates to a year-round commitment involving extensive post-emergent treatments, also fungicide and insecticide work, in addition to liquid fertiliser applications.
Taking the plunge, Leo says he was “pretty excited” to get hold of his new Rogator 1300 some three months ago, adding it had been hard at work earning its keep.  With 15 years in the spray business behind him he says it has been “very well put together” and, after having time to get a working insight into the newcomer’s performance, says the machine’s manufacturers have clearly been listening to userfeedback.  “For example, everything seems to be positioned in the right spot, plus they have strengthened those areas that need to be which appeals to drivers who have to sit on them all day, every day,” Leo said.
“And I especially like the low-maintenance, minimum-fuss aspect of these new Rogators which simply allow you to ‘get in and go’,” he added.  His new 1300 Rogator is equipped with 36m wide booms, a 5000L spray tank and a cabin that is remarkable in that it provides Leo with all necessary creature comforts when racking up long hours in the paddock.  “It did one of the biggest days we’ve ever done in the first week we had it,” Leo said.  “All up, we did 800ha in 12 hours at a water rate of 70L/ha, plus it also was a pleasurable day because not only were we comfortable but it also was very quiet.” 

In the quest to maximise paddock work with the minimum of downtime, NFS Ag says the new Rogator must cover between 50,000ha to 60,000ha per annum with every indication the 1300 can easily manage 100ha/hour during the course of a normal working day.  An essential aspect of these levels of performance is the
sprayer’s air bag suspension system, also the Air-Ride suspended seat and cabin, as alluded to earlier.  Skipping along in the “high 20kph” range the suspension system is described as “just beautiful” with Leo likening it to “floating along on a big cushion,” again singling out the absence of noise in the cabin for special mention.
Equipped with a Raven spray controller and auto height control, also a dual direct injection chemical system, Leo underscored how all the key controls were positioned to hand, obviating the need “to keep reaching for things” which left him in better shape to tackle long days which often include night work.  On that score Leo also
gave the thumbs up to the Rogator’s lighting system which he described as “really good” with HID lamps doing all that could be asked of them.  Meanwhile, to maintain performance hour after hour, Leo strives to achieve a five minute turnaround, courtesy of a nurse trailer, which allows him “to fill and go again” to pare back downtime.

Again he singles out the sprayer’s design engineers for their ability to come up with “simple plumbing systems” that allow users to fill, also clean out, as well as decontaminate Rogators, with the minimum of fuss.
“It’s all about a quick turn-around when moving from job-to-job,” Leo explained.
Other attributes of the 1300 Rogator include the ability to extend its three metre wheel centres out to four metres at the press of a button, to suit the job in hand.  “We’ve already done some 4m work in cotton so we are able to do both large broadacre jobs, also irrigation work ” Leo said.
Commenting on the Rogator’s boom arrangement, Leo said: “I was surprised to see how well it rides - it hasn’t given me any problems at all.”
The RoGator’s drive system also gets plaudits from NFS Ag’s drivers who recount it is “very, very smooth,” with the seven-speed transmission offering quick acceleration whilst placing all available power to the ground.  Essentially, its two-piece construction – a hydraulic motor and a separate gear reduction hub – are pivotal in
maximising tractive efficiency in a range of ground conditions.  Croplands says the drive system also enables newgeneration RoGators to run at lower engine speeds in transport - 1,950 rpm compared to 2,100 rpm – to further improve engine fuel efficiencies.

With a lot of road work between jobs, Leo says the caliper disc brakes fitted on the front wheels are a bonus since they offer extra stopping power beyond normal hydrostatic braking.  Having just completed a hectic season’s work, NFS Ag’s operations manager says he wishes he had put his hand up for a Rogator sprayer “many years ago,” adding he was buoyed by switching to the yellow-liveried machines.  “After only a couple of hours on the 1300 I knew I had made the right decision,” Leo said.  “In fact it just left me thinking how I should have turned to a Rogator earlier.

“It ties in nicely with my nimble SpraCoupe, and its irrigation work focus, with the 1300 more of a ‘musclecar’ - for doing the bulk of our broadacre spraying,” he added.
“They are a good fit – as a contractor I would always have one of each,” Leo said.

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NFS Ag’s operations mnager Leo Casey (left) with his business manager and brother, Michael, beside the company’s recently-delivered Rogator 1300.