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

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

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.


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.


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.


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

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