Sprayer range offers solution for fruit tunnels - Fruit & Vine

Sprayer range offers solution for fruit tunnels

Self-propelled and towed sprayers, designed for inside fruit tunnels with tabletop systems, offer a solution for growers without large central alleys. Adam McDonald, of McDonald Agri Ltd, explains the benefits of the range.

McDonald Agri Ltd builds self-propelled and towed sprayers for use inside fruit tunnels with tabletop systems. They are most suited for growers without a large central alley – either to spread the rows more evenly for light and better access for picking, or because for some systems, reducing the large gap in the centre may allow 7–8 rows instead of six to get more productivity per block.

Key features of the self-propelled sprayers are the 75hp engine which allows the machine to handle slopes whilst also directing lots of power into the fan for air-assist to get the products into the canopy. Additionally, a control panel allows users to set the rates they want to achieve. This follows through to the boom where most of the nozzles are on clamp brackets, making them easy to adjust as many growers have blocks of fruit with different spacings.

The company works with customers to modify the main design to fit their tunnels – e.g. height under the rear platform, width of cab, tank and more. Other options include boom extensions for those with multiple tunnel widths, designs that can switch from four- to five-row spraying, floor nozzles, and air conditioning.

The sprayers have been adopted by businesses such as L M Porter (East Seaton), which has two for strawberries and one for blueberries; and Hall Hunter, which has a version for a new block planting. McDonald Agri’s design allows eight rows in the same size tunnel that previously only held six rows – plus a central alley for a tractor-towed sprayer.

The typical lead time for delivery is 6–8 months, depending on the level of customisation required.

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