A fertiliser spreader is a fundamental piece of farm machinery for a large majority of farming operations. For this reason, there is a wide choice of spreaders on the market from a wide range of manufacturers with varying specification levels.

These days the demand for bigger machines with greater output, wider spreading and better lateral distribution, means twin disc machines are now the norm, even for entry level. One particular series of twin disc spreaders has captured the attention and loyalty of many farmers in Southern Africa, the AMAZONE ZA-M series. Year on year, these spreaders account for more than half of all the AMAZONE spreaders sold in the region, making it the preferred choice of many farmers.

A trend setter and benchmark in spreading technology

The ZA-M series comes from AMAZONE’s leading ZA (Zentrifugalstreuer Anbaumaschine) fertiliser spreader range which, back in 1958, was the very first twin disc spreader in the world. The ZA spreaders now consists of a wide offering from the ZA-X (Eco Line), the ZA-M (Classic Line), ZA-V (New Line) and the highest tech available in fertiliser spreader technology the ZA-TS (High Line). In many ways, the ZA-M series has been a trend setter and benchmark in spreading technology. In 1989 it became the first spreader in the world with an effective working width of up to 36 m and a capacity up to 3000 litres, new standards in the sector. A few years later in 1995 it became the first spreader which could be controlled via satellite. In the Southern African market, the introduction of the ZA-M Profis Hydro range in 2005 had a significant impact on the fertilising spreading market. Not only could it calibrate itself on the go via sophisticated weight cell technology, do variable rate control (VRA) via shape files, do speed related application rate control, but it also introduced us to section control. This clearly positioned AMAZONE spreaders as the undisputed leaders in twin disc fertiliser spreaders and precision farming in the minds of farmers and it paved the way for the ISOBUS era where we are today.

When talking to Ruben van der Merwe, Falcon’s National Product Manager for the Amazone brand in Southern Africa, it is clear that his tremendous knowledge of AMAZONE spreaders is surpassed only by his infectious passion for the products. When asked why the AMAZONE ZA-M series is so popular in the Southern Africa region he says: “The ease of operation and the out of the box precision and consistency means it is easy to operate from the start without ever giving trouble, year after year and in some cases, passed from father to son.”

Consistently dominated the precision spreading market

The ZA-M spreaders have, consistently dominated the precision spreading market. Since their introduction to the market, the series has grown in popularity worldwide for their affordability, reliability and safety. Some of the most loved features of the ZA-M series include the hopper capacities that can be extended by use of the after-fit extensions, the convenience and reliability they offer due to simple and easily accessible adjustment of spread rates and working widths, and the safety set (with lighting system, marker boards and guard rail) that come as standard on all models. In addition, the slow-turning, high capacity agitation system and the reduced disc speeds ensure an even, granule-protecting fertiliser flow. Tried and tested over 100,000 times worldwide, it is no wonder the ZA-M series continues to impress.

The most popular model, in the Southern African region, according to the importer, Falcon Agricultural Equipment, is the AMAZONE ZA-M 1501 Twin disc Spreader. This model accounts for over 30% of all the AMAZONE spreader sales, of which there is an extensive range and offering. The second most sought after model is AMAZONE ZA-M 1001 Special. This model is the most suitable for small to medium-sized farms and is the entry price point into the series. It can have a 500 litre extension fitted, thus increasing its hopper capacity up to 1,500 litres. We put the question to Ruben of what is the single most impressive feature of the AMAZONE ZA-M series, “When it comes to the calibration of the spreader, you will not find an easier system. The yellow plastic calibration disc with all the formulas comes standard with every ZA-M spreader. You can literally assist a farmer with a calibration over the telephone in less than 5 minutes and it is something we emphasise to people a lot”, he says. Some additional features which stand out, is that the entire spreading system of the ZA-M spreaders is made from stainless steel. They are also easy to maintain due to the open design and they offer perfect functionality due to the maintenance-free, oil-immersed gearboxes.

Protection of the fertiliser and optimising yield

The SBS (Soft Ballistic System), which comes as standard, is a technology which provides peace of mind that fertiliser protection and precision is maximised. It is imperative that mineral fertiliser is gently handled to ensure a precise distribution and an exact placement to the plant over the entire working width. Fertiliser, which has been damaged whilst going through the spreader, will not be precisely distributed. The AMAZONE Soft Ballistic System is integrated into all ZA-M mounted spreaders where the agitator, metering components and spreading discs are all optimally matched to protect the fertiliser and ensure yield.

Hopper capacities can be upgraded using a combination of slim and wide extensions which all ensure sufficient safety when loading. The simplicity of being able to attach, fill, drive off and start spreading adds to the attraction of the spreaders.

Sweet-spot of modern technology combined with affordability

The affordability of these spreader means that whilst they may not feature the highest specification and technologies that are possible from AMAZONE, they certainly are not the low-end entry level of their range either, and quite simply, are the “sweet-spot” for many farmers in Southern Africa, looking for a precision spreader that offers modern technology coupled with reliability and safety.

To learn more about this range of fertiliser spreaders visit Falcon’s website at www.falconequipment.co.za