RoGator Customer Review

"We looked at other brands . . . it always came back to the RoGator"

Ed Tomlinson, Terry Hie Hie, NSW,

March 2013

STEPPING up to a self-propelled Rogator 1100 sprayer has delivered new levels of operational efficiency for the Tomlinson family based at Terry Hie Hie near Moree in northern NSW.
Ed and his father Ross oversee a 3,300ha mixed enterprise encompassing dryland farming and some cattle which is being buoyed by a season that is described as “very good” with high expectations for the upcoming winter crop – based on useful soil moisture profiles.
With the farm sprayer near, or top of the list in terms of the most important machines on properties today, the upgrade from a trailed unit is on track to pay dividends on a number of counts.

The need for the new 1100 unit to perform to expectations is high in the absence of much of a summer crop with all eyes now focused on the winter season where the newcomer to the family’s machinery inventory must play its part.  The Tomlinson’s mid-range Rogator is one of a three-series line up on offer from Croplands
Equipment and has been supplied with a 36m boom, a 4000L spray tank and power in the shape of AGCO’s powerful 8.4L capacity 311hp (232kW) Tier 4i Sisu engine.  New generation Rogators deliver an extra 38 percent torque over earlier models. So it’s a plus their C-channel frames are able to flex over rough terrain to maintain strength in harsh operating conditions, meaning the extra power is transmitted to the ground.

The Tomlinsons, who purchased their 1100 model in July last year, say they were looking for tram track capability, 3m wheel centres, plus a 36m boom and were pleased it came with tip and full boom breakaway as part of the standard specification.

“While we looked at other brands it always seemed to come back to the Rogator and so far it has proved itself,” Ed Tomlinson said.   Growing cotton and sorghum, the new sprayer has also tackled a lucerne crop, all the property’s fallows, plus managed to spray a little of the family’s winter crop when it arrived last year.
Interestingly, the task of spraying a canola crop last year showed the sprayer had useful underbelly clearance to meet this particular challenge.  “It’s sprayed nearly 3,000ha in the last two weeks, or between 15,000ha to 20,000ha every year based on three fallow sprays, two in crop applications, plus a couple extra for
cotton,” Ed Tomlinson said.

Interestingly the 1100 unit “will quite comfortably do” 25kph, although on a day-to-day basis it usually operates at between 18kph to 25kph with daily acreages dependent on weather conditions at the time.

“It can be quite hot some days so you don’t get much of run during the day but on average we certainly achieve some four loads (tanks) a day,” Ed Tomlinson said.

Retaining the RoGator’s tested drive system which consists of a two-piece construction – a hydraulic motor and a separate gear reduction hub – sees it offer seven speed ranges to give drivers plenty of options when traversing paddocks.
Croplands says opting for a mid-range selection translates to a 40/60 front and rear power distribution, thereby eliminating ‘wheel hop’ to further increase overall field performance.

The Tomlinsons say while the hydrostat “is different to what we are used to with tractordrawn machines” there’s no doubt they are “much happier” with the new technology.  “Previously our spraying programme was getting behind but the 1100 has been able to improve operational efficiencies with a view to making a saving on our chemical costs – by working in a more timely fashion,” Ed Tomlinson said.

Turn-round times when replenishing the tank are around the 20 minute mark to ensure that downtime is kept to the minimum during the course of a working day.  The undulating country of the Tomlinson’s property with its contour banks made for special interest in the RoGator’s sophisticated air suspension system that works to minimise shock loads when traversing paddocks.  “Compared to the old 24m boom, we had some worries about the wider 36m boom but it has handled the job pretty well,” Ed said.  “While the new sprayer comes with autoheight control, obviously we slow down a bit and allow the suspension to ‘walk across’ our contour banks,” he added.
The Tomlinsons usually run their newcomer with two sets of broadacre nozzles, plus higher rate nozzles for undertaking insecticide and contact herbicide-type work.  Fitted with a Raven Viper controller, plus a Beeline GPS, their system also has Accu-boom swath control which have all culminated in further in-paddock efficiencies.
Headland turning is not impacted by the 1100’s drive system which accords with Croplands Equipment’s viewpoint that Rogators are very agile machines.

Turning to the cab Ed Tomlinson says as far as the controls are concerned, “Everything is there where you need it, plus it is all very visible, too. “Probably one important thing about it (the cab), is visibility to the RoGator’s boom with other machine’s always having a pillar or something in the way of seeing all the way to the end,” he said.  With plenty of night work spraying insecticides in the course of a year the view is that the HID lights are more than up to their task.  Meanwhile, the new RoGator Management Centre diagnostic display gives users all engine and drive read-outs, also all the fault codes – to let the driver know what needs to be done.
As well it keeps an eye on all liquid system operations, not forgetting wheel track, field lighting and foam marker status.  In summary, Ed said: “We have not had any issues with it (the 1100) – that’s why we bought it”.