Old vs new Croplands Pinto 3000 sprayer
The new Croplands Pinto 3000 boom sprayer builds on the strengths of earlier versions. Tom Dickson checks out the new features and draws on his own experience with a 2008 model
Pinpointing the most important piece of equipment to own on a farm – other than a tractor, of course – is a difficult task, because everyone you ask will have a different opinion depending on the type of property they operate.
My response is, and always will be, a boom spray. It doesn’t matter if it’s trailing, linkage or even self-propelled. If you have one, controlling weeds and pests in a quick and effective manner will boost production enormously. If you don’t, then waiting days or even weeks for a contractor to arrive can often result in serious losses. The spray unit can also be a useful tool in the application of liquid fertilisers.
THEN VS NOW
Eight years ago I bought a brand-new Croplands Pinto 3000 boom sprayer from my local Croplands dealer, Windmill Ag (it has since been taken over by John Deere dealer Cervus Equipment) in Hamilton, Victoria. It was destined for use on our 607-hectare (1500-acre) sheep and cattle property for weed and pest management, plus I wanted to explore the benefits of applying liquid fertiliser. I had come to the decision that the Pinto 3000 was the right unit for me after searching around a bit and looking at units from the four or five major brands. It held 3000 litres, had a chemical induction hopper and probe, bottom and top filling options, and four points of filtration. The boom rode on air bag suspension – which has since been upgraded to hydraulic suspension on the new units. It was equipped with hydraulic lift and fold and was plumbed for sectional shut-off.
I optioned up to the MT3405 auto-rate controller to maintain precise application rates regardless of speed.
All the features that made my earlier-model Pinto 3000 a great sprayer are included on the newest version, along with a few extra modifications, making it one of the best spray units on the market for farmers and small-to-medium contractors.
The Pinto 3000 has a height-adjustable hitch so it can be set-up to sit perfectly level on any tractor. For the record, my 90hp
John Deere 6220 pulled it easily. The tractor requires two sets of remotes, a PTO and a power source to operate the electrics.
The pump on the new version of the Pinto 3000 is still the same as I had on mine. It’s an A&R positive displacement, oil-bath diaphragm pump with chemical-resistant diaphragms.
The AR160 delivers 160L/min with a maximum pressure of 2000kPa (284psi). A Series 4 PTO drive is standard.
Checking the glass oil reservoir and running some fresh water through the pump at the end of each use will ensure you get years of trouble-free operation out of it. Filtration An 18-mesh basket filter prevents larger contaminants getting into the tank when filling through the top, but in all honesty I very rarely used it. I always thought that climbing onto a spray rig covered in chemicals was not the smartest thing to do, so the only time I journeyed up the side to open the top lid was to see if the tank had been properly rinsed out. I always filled the tank through the bottom fill point and mixed the chemical in through the induction hopper.
A 50-mesh suction filter, 80-mesh pressure line filter and 100-mesh nozzle filter collect the majority of the smaller contaminants in the water to prevent nozzle blockages.
It goes without saying that regular cleaning of all of the filters is highly recommended. Tank
Back when I made my purchase, there were two tank sizes available: either 2000 or 3000 litres. Today, the two options in the Pinto range are 3000 or 4000 litres. I went with the 3000-litre version because I felt 2000 just wasn’t quite enough. The bigger tank allowed me to apply higher volumes per hectare without having to be continually filling up.
Made from polyethylene, the tank has a quick-release hinged lid, filling strainer, top/bottom fill, hydraulic venturi agitation, antivortex suction, tank drain outlet and calibrated volume gauge.
“For the majority of the time, with only a few exceptions, I used to spray at about 15km/h, which equated to about 24 hectares or 60 acres per hour”
The 3000-litre tank was an ideal size because it allowed me to complete a 30-hectare paddock at around 100L/ha, and with one fill.
Contractors are often reluctant to put out high water rates because it slows them down, but it’s a proven fact that many pesticides are only effective when applied with high water rates. Sometimes up to 200L/ha.
When you own a spray unit, you are better placed to get the job done right. Doing it right the first time often eliminates the need for follow-up applications. Chemical handling
All your chemicals, either liquid or powder, can be mixed directly into the tank through an integrated suction probe, or through the optional 60-litre chemical induction hopper. I never actually used the probe, but did use the Induction hopper every time, meaning I never had to scramble up the side of the spray unit with heavy drums to pour in the top.
With a flick of a lever, the hopper comes down to about waist height and chemicals can be easily poured in. With the pump running, the chemical is transported into the tank by opening a tap at the bottom of the hopper. Rinse nozzles clean and flush the remaining chemicals out of the hopper and into the spray tank. Automatic rate control
Having the luxury of the optional automatic rate control unit made the job of spraying an absolute breeze. I could drive to the conditions and, regardless of how much I altered my speed, the MT 3405 ensured the application rate remained exactly what I had set it at.
Most electronic devices can take a bit of getting used to, especially for the more mature farmer, but that is not the case with the MT 3405. Its functions are clearly labelled. Basically, once you set your desired rate, all you have to do is turn it on and drive.
It features two large, easy-to-read liquid crystal displays and a lighted panel for night use.
The right-hand display always shows the application rate and the left-hand display shows data relating to the litres used, the litres applied per minute, the litres remaining in the tank, and the distance travelled.
It also keeps a record of the area covered in acres or hectares, as well as current speed. It has an on/off switch allocated to each boom section and pressure adjustment.
NOT AN OPTION
Some optional extras can be left off to save a few dollars, but I found the double-sided 50-litre foam marker a handy asset on numerous occasions. There were times for various reasons that I lost the use of my GPS mapping device, but the Bestway foam marker allowed me to continue spraying.
And definitely consider adding the polyethylene mudguards and mudflaps. Even in the muddiest conditions in the middle of winter, my Pinto stayed nice and clean. There’s nothing worse than having to scrape off a thick layer of mud to use the functions or do a bit of maintenance. I mentioned before that I optioned up to the MT 3405 control unit and never regretted it.
Other machines on the market have gone with the trend of using plastic panelling to create a shell that fully encloses all the componentry of the spray rig. It looks great but serves no practical purpose. Croplands put no panelling or covers on the Pinto to hide its network of plumbing and wiring. Some might say it looks a bit old school or lacking style, but its nakedness allowed me to be able to see exactly how it worked. Seeing is understanding.
It has long been said that there are two types of agricultural operators: competent ones and steerers. Steerers are fine under normal conditions but are as good as useless when something goes wrong. An experienced operator, on the other hand, knows exactly how the machine works and can get the best out of it and keep it functioning when things invariably go wrong.
To understand how it operates, you first need to be able to see how it operates. This leads me back to why I liked the Pinto’s styling in the first place. It was easy to see if flow was coming from the main tank or rinse tank, and how to divert that flow to the induction hopper for mixing in chemicals.
In fact, if every identifying sticker fell off, which they eventually do, most operators could still work out how to use all the functions. Leaking hoses and connections have nowhere to hide, so they can be spotted and repaired early before they become a serious problem.
Of course, price had to be considered as well. To my delight, after ticking all the boxes of what I was looking for in a sprayer, it came in considerably cheaper than the opposition. I covered about 4000 or 5000 acres every year for five years and never experienced any problems, never had a breakdown, and never once regretted my choice of boom spray.
At the time, I was given the choice of having either tandem Simplicity-style axles with independent suspension and 15-inch Landcruiser-style wheels or large tractor-type 18.4 x 30 single wheels. I went for the latter, believing they would handle uneven ground and wet conditions better than the smaller option, and lift the chassis higher for better ground clearance.
I remember having to slosh through deep mud in a crop sown on raised beds, thinking if not for the larger wheel package, I would have sunk the sprayer up to its belly and probably bogged the tractor as well. The 30-inch wheels are fitted to a heavy-duty axle matched to the sprayer capacity to provide easy towing and a smoother ride. New models have gone a step further with the option of 11.2 x 42 wheels for even higher clearance.
At the time, I opted for a 16m hydraulic lift and fold boom with very effective airbag suspension. It travelled over uneven ground exceptionally well. In fact, the faster I drove, the better it performed.
Like my older version, the new 16m, 18m, 21m and 24m-wide self-levelling hydraulic fold booms are epoxy powder coated to help protect them against corrosion. The air bag suspension has been replaced with hydraulic accumulator boom suspension and, instead of using a single ram for lifting the boom, it has hydraulic parallelogram boom lift.
It’s fitted with adjustable boom breakaways, is divided into three sections for sectional shut-off, and comes fitted with non-drip quick-release nozzle bodies with drift-reducing AirMix air-induction nozzles. Though the air bag system was very effective, this new style takes the performance and ride of the new boom to a whole new level.
My Croplands Pinto 3000 boom sprayer was great to use, but the taps and valves for tank filling, the suction and the chemical induction hopper were not that well placed.
The new unit uses a central control unit where all controls and filters for filling, flushing, chemical induction and hand washing are mounted on a central control panel. Everything is clearly marked for simple and quick operation.
The 200-litre flushing tank on my Pinto always seemed to hold enough fresh water to properly rinse out the tank and boom at the end of the day, but the new one has upsized to a 275-litre flush tank which will allow for a much more thorough rinse.
Unlike the one on mine, which was just a plastic drum strapped to the frame in front of the main tank, this new one is moulded to fit snugly and very unobtrusively into the front of the spray tank.
It also serves as a handy reserve in case you run out of mixture with only a few hectares to go – you can pump the water from the flush tank into the main tank, add a bit more chemical, and finish off the job.
The flushing tank provides better boom hygiene. Rinsing can be done in the field as soon as the job is done.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If you haven’t worked out my opinion yet, I loved the Pinto
3000. So much so that spraying became my favourite job on the farm, because I knew every time I used it I was improving the productivity of the farm and could get the job done on time and without a hitch.
For the majority of the time, with only a few exceptions, I used to spray at about 15km/h, which equated to about 24 hectares or 60 acres per hour.
If I ever go back to farming full-time, the first piece of machinery I buy, after I get a tractor, will definitely be a trailing boom spray, and without a doubt it will be a new Croplands Pinto 3000.
If I may make just one suggestion, I would like to see a hazard light and a couple of rear lights installed, and maybe even a work light over the central control station to help with operation and safety at night and on the road.
Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that I always wished I had added the electric fence line kit. It takes the risk out of damaging the boom on the fence on the first lap.
A few new design features make the Croplands Pinto 3000 boom sprayer an even better setup for medium-sized properties and contractors
3 1: A parallelogram boom lift coupled with hydraulic accumulator boom suspension protects the boom and improves the ride
2: All controls and filters for filling, flushing, chemical induction and hand washing are mounted on a central control panel. Everything is clearly marked for simple and quick operation
3: The Bestway double-sided foam marker is a cheaper alternative to a GPS guidance system or just a handy backup if you lose satellite connection
Based on years of personal experience, when you have your own Pinto in the stable, you can get the job done on time
A large 60-litre Chem-e-flush hopper swings down to waist height for ease of chemical handling
The AR160 PTO-driven diaphragm pump is shown mounted to the heightadjustable drawbar. A swivel eye hitch minimises stress on the drawbar on uneven ground