SDS spreaders prove their strength on hire fleet

Few farm machines have a tougher life than muck spreaders – and the side-discharge types designed for semi-solid material have it tougher than most, with foreign objects from bricks to baler twine having an occasional tendency to find their way into slurry lagoons and scrapings. Add in the challenges of going out to multiple different users over the course of a year for a variety of different uses, and the Richard Western SDS machines in the fleet operated by SW Hire don’t have it easy. This is why choosing a design for its robustness as well as its spread quality was essential when selecting machines to add to his fleet, says managing director Simon Williams, who founded the business in 2003.

“We had run a fleet of Richard Western trailers and rear-discharge muck spreaders for some time, and had been very pleased with their build quality and robustness,” explains Simon.

“So when I decided to add side-discharge tank spreaders to our hire fleet it was natural to look to the same supplier.”

“I did consider some of the alternatives, but the Richard Western SDS design seemed more modern, with its 1.5m-diameter spread rotor and heavy-duty central auger with paddles spaced to prevent load bridging and keep the spreading rotor evenly supplied. The stone trap is also a welcome feature for the type of work these machines are expected to do.”

The first SDS spreader arrived on the SW Hire books in 2011, and since then the company has built up a fleet of 15 machines across its Wiltshire and East Sussex depots. All are 2,400-gallon/9,000-litre versions on twin axles, the mid-size models in the 1,600-3,600 gallon (6,000-13,500 litre) range.     

“They provide the best combination of flotation and manoeuvrability for our customers,” believes Simon.

“With dairy farms falling in number, but those remaining growing larger in size, the demands on these machines when emptying lagoons have grown. The SDS spreaders, though, seem to stand up to whatever the customers ask of them, and they are well-liked for their reliability and strength.

“Every hire machine is checked and serviced through our workshop upon its return, and we find that generally the strength of the SDS spreaders means relatively little additional attention is needed. When you consider they handle everything from emptying slurry lagoons which can contain foreign objects, to handling material from lake dredging which can sometimes hold similar surprises, they are impressively robust – and that’s exactly what we need on a hire fleet.”   

By Martin Rickatson 

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