Making the Most of Manure

With agronomic focus on soil’s organic matter content – and its effect on structure and health – having become more intensive over recent years, the role muck spreader design plays in ensuring manure is applied thoroughly and accurately to maximise its value has also become more important. Whatever the material, a well-processed, even application will help extract the best from muck and enable the soil to gain the greatest benefit in terms of nutrient distribution and organic matter build-up.

Well-engineered design in key muck spreader feature areas such as the rotors, bed and body can help to ensure loads are spread quickly and evenly, for a fast turnaround and accurate application, believes Angus Western, managing director at Richard Western Ltd. With the value of manure and other waste materials as both a nutrient and a soil structure-building organic matter source becoming more significant, he urges those looking to invest in a new spreader to see it in action and consider the effect of its design principles on its ability to spread loads thoroughly, precisely and quickly.

“Large diameter boron steel rotors producing a high tip speed were a key principle when we designed our Delilah spreader range,” he explains.

“We use units of 890mm diameter on the D4100, D4120 models and below, and 1,100mm diameter on the D4130 and D4150, with optional fitment on the D4100. Their arrangement, with a significant overlap, ensures full shredding of material across an extensive range of manures, composts and sludges, a critical aspect of getting a thorough and even distribution and breakdown of material and release of the nutrients it contains across the full field profile. The 1,100mm rotors have a disc base with three blades and replaceable wearing parts, while the option of a hydraulic-folding canopy door or removable hood allows the spreader’s use as a vertical beater machine or, with the doors closed or hood attached, as a spinning disc spreader.

“An even feed to the rotors is also important. To ensure this, the hydraulically-driven floor on Delilah spreaders is powered by two 16mm floor chains and a 65mm rear floor shaft on models up to the 12.2 cu m capacity D4120, with 20mm chains and an 80mm shaft on the largest D4130 and D4150 machines (12.2/14.4 cu m). Fitment of a slat between every five chain links of the floor bed provides consistent load to the rotors, ensuring an even spread pattern without pulsing.”


The ability to load the spreader evenly also has a part to play in even distribution, suggests Mr Western.

“To this end, the body on Delilah spreaders, which is constructed with 6mm floor panels and 4mm side panels, is 1,550mm wide, with a flared top to create a wide loading area for easy loading, less spillage and a fast turnaround.”

Cornish contractor John Solomon has first-hand experience of Richard Western design principles and the firm’s ability to respond to farmers’ advancing agronomic needs, having recently worked with the company to create a machine specification to suit his requirements. For the past month he has been running his first Richard Western spreader, a shorter, higher-sided version of the 12.2 cu m capacity/8.31m long D4120, which can hold the same level load but is a full metre shorter.

“We spread large quantities cattle muck, plus some chicken and pig manure, but we have traditionally been a bit limited by the capacity of machine we can operate because of our area’s narrow lanes, which make it difficult to get long spreaders into tight gateways.

“When looking to upgrade from my old spreader I wanted a machine that would not only be easy to manoeuvre, but – being a contractor and wanting to produce good results for customers – also based my decision on a machine that would give me an even spread pattern, as well as being quick to load and discharge.

“I looked at half a dozen different makes, and as I run Richard Western trailers, its spreaders were among them. Features such as the rotor design and the number and robustness of the bed slats were some of the main attractions, as was the heavy-duty build. But while the Delilah D4120 suited us in terms of capacity, it was too long for our lanes and gateways. The D4100 model was more suitable length-wise, but didn’t have the capacity I wanted.”

After talking with local dealer Hamblys, John was put in touch with Angus Western, who was keen to help develop the type of machine he required and meet the needs of customers requiring a shorter, higher yet still stable design. The result was a development of the D4100 with a 12.2 cu m capacity but a length of just 7.31m, using the 890mm diameter rotors.

“It’s proved to be just what I wanted,” says John.

“Build strength is excellent, enhanced by a heavy-duty gearbox and bigger shaft drives. The high rotor mounting makes for a better ride on rough lanes and fields, but stability is excellent compared with the competitive machines we demoed previously.

“We usually run it behind a Fendt 724, but it seems to require less power than our old spreader of the same capacity. It’s very quick to unload, with more slats between the bed chains, while the large rotor overlap produces an impressive shred and fine spread pattern. It just eats the material, regardless of how strawy it is, and utilises the whole of the rotors – not just the bases. Those are the qualities I need to help customers make the most of their manure.”

The development machine has now been added to the Richard Western Delilah product line as the D4120 Compact. For more information, contact Richard Western or your local dealer.

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