New liquid applicator for seed tubers
The machine features a unique rotating nozzle beneath the treatment hood, which directs the spray to give an all round coverage of the seed tuber. Air flow fans assist in delivering the spray pattern onto the tubers. The new Team liquid seed treater has been developed in conjunction with Syngenta Crop Protection.
Combined with new roller table technology that ensure all tubers achieve at least three and half rotations under the spray pattern, seed is given effective all round coverage with the liquid seed treatment. A unique auto-feed hopper automatically creates a constant delivery of seed tubers across the treatment table.
Mick Gathercole of Team Sprayers highlights the applicator is fitted with a patented new direct injection system. This adds the seed treatment chemical at the point of application, which avoids the need for pre-mixing and reduces chemical handling.
The system spray output is fully adjustable to match the volume of tubers moving across the table, ensuring each potato receives the correct amount of liquid seed treatment.
It also means the machine is simple to flush through with clean water at the end of each treatment session. Although virtually all the spray pattern is retained on the seed tubers, any drips and rinse liquid is captured and retained in a self-contained unit for safe disposal.
Having been thoroughly tested and evaluated over the past year, the first production Team liquid seed treater machines are now available to order for next season’s seed production. This will coincide with the planned launch of a new seed treatment from Syngenta, currently in the process of UK registration.
"The new liquid seed treater will be a significant advance in potato seed treatment technology," according to Mr Gathercole. "It can achieve far more consistent, even and accurate application of seed treatments to all tubers, enabling seed producers to assure the best possible results with the treatment offered."
The machine has a capacity to treat up to ten tonnes per hour. Output from the table can automatically feed to trays, boxes, bags or bulk store as required. Mr Gathercole believes it will prove an attractive option for seed producing companies, seed growing groups or contractors providing a seed treatment service for seed and ware growers.
Stuart Wale of SAC reports that currently some applicators are achieving less than 50% of treatment retention on the seed tubers, which inevitably means a high level of waste. Coupled with this, uneven application means that many of the tubers are not receiving sufficient coverage or protection.
"The seed growers’ grading lines can be incredibly hectic to satisfy demand in the few weeks leading up to planting. With frequent changes in batches with different requirements, it’s difficult to maintain an even throughput on the table to achieve good results," he reports.
"Developments that can improve the reliability and coverage of seed tubers, combined with the simplicity to produce consistent results under the pressure of the seed grading line, will be extremely welcome."
New seed treatments, with the potential to control a broader spectrum of seed-borne diseases, will be best placed to benefit from advances in seed treater technology. Dr Wale believes that, with the availability of more accurate seed treaters, an increasing number of ware growers may opt to take charge of the treatment on farm, possibly by ordering seed earlier and using a contractor to apply the most appropriate treatment for their own farm.
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