A self-propelled sprayer is the tool of choice for most large farms and contractors. We look at four offerings, all on the UK market — part I deals with technicalities, next month’s part II covers use and driving.

To narrow the focus of this test we concentrate on the base machines more than the sprayer they carry. The reason is simple: the sprayer is much the same between self-propelled and trailed versions of each, and in the past we’ve looked separately at the trailed models. While liquid application isn’t ignored it’s not explored in detail.

Four brands are featured: Agrifac, Amazone, Challenger and Dammann. A fifth (Bräutigam) was in the original Continental test, but isn’t included here as it’s not sold in the UK. Hardi and John Deere were invited to take part but elected not to, citing the introduction of new models around the time of last summer’s exercise. Fair enough.

The criteria we set for candidate entry were a 4,000-litre tank and 36m booms. Things didn’t turn out quite that way, with Amazone and Agrifac delivering 30m booms and Challenger and Damman sending 6,000-litre machines. Hey ho. So to level the field we worked at 30m and put no more than 4,000 litres in the tanks.

The final line-up is in the box below. Now for an overview of model similarities and differences. This takes in fuel consumption, pulling power, noise, clearance, turning circle and more — but it’s best to set the scene
with a look at the powertrains, all of which pair a diesel with a hydrostat.

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