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  • Writer's pictureMike Casey

The 1500e01 electric foliage sprayer is now complete - and it works perfectly

Updated: Jan 8

Last month the final version of what we believe is the world's first electric foliage sprayer was built to run off the back of an electric tractor. The 1500e01 was built by TRS Wholesale in partnership with FMR and shipped down to our orchard for testing.

Our sprayer uses the 32amp and 15amp sockets on the back of our Monarch Tractor as a power source to power the 2.8kW pump and both of the 2.4kW tangential fans.

Greg Small from TRS Wholesale talking us through plugging the sprayer into the Monarch Tractor. Greg was hugely influential in the development of this sprayer and we a very appreciative of his efforts!

Being the first of its kind anywhere, a considerable amount of R&D took place, with completely new fans needing to be developed in Germany by FMR to run exclusively from an electric power source.

A huge effort was also put in by the team at Monarch Tractor, who built a custom 230V output for our New Zealand-based tractor compared to their normal 110V system for the US market.

This combination means we achieve fantastic spray coverage (which is critical to producing cherries) while using only a fraction of the energy a traditional PTO-driven sprayer would use. Instead of 2 hours of runtime on a traditional sprayer, we can achieve well over 8 hours with this efficient spraying system which means the adoption of electric tractors in horticulture and viticulture has got considerably easier.

The efficiency of this means we only use around 65% of the battery on the tractor to complete a spray of our entire 9300 cherry-tree orchard (25kms), with a fraction of the noise, drift, and energy demands of traditional sprayers.

We are certain that this sprayer, in combination with a Monarch Tractor, is the way forward for food producers looking to move away completely from fossil fuels. It's a win-win for the climate and the wallet, and it just got considerably more practical.

The Specs

  • 1500L Poly main spray tank

  • 17L Freshwater hand wash tank

  • 120L Freshwater spraying flushing tank

  • Hot dip galvanized chassis and boom

  • Genuine Weber Tangential fans with 10 nozzle quick caps fitted to a wet boom system

  • Auto spray rate controller

  • E-drive spray pump drive 72 lpm capacity @ 10 bar. (230 volt AC) (2.8kW)

  • E-drive fan operating range of 750 – 1150 rpm. (230 volt to 48 volt DC)

  • Auto fan speed controller including individual fan on / off function

  • Tangential fans are used to improve delivery in all canopies (2.4kW per fan)

  • Maximum treatable canopy height 3100mm

  • Minimum operating row width 1900mm

  • Single ADR axle equipment with 13.0/55-16 14-ply high-quality tyres

  • Mudguards included

A special thank you to Jaime and Emma from the Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures Fund. The Ministry for Primary Industries and the New Zealand taxpayer have both co-contributed funding with Forest Lodge and TRS Wholesale to make this project possible. Our sprayer and tractor have had a huge amount of interest and the next goal is to use the Monarch Tractor's automation capability to completely automate our spraying process.

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