The latest summer has once again highlighted the fragility of relying on river sources for irrigation in Marlborough.
“The routine monitoring of customer experiences led to the development of the K2 King Cobra with innovations in the irrigator’s precision, simplicity and ease of use,” he said.
“The original King Cobra was fitted with a wire rope that farmers told us was difficult to pull out, so we replaced this with a synthetic rope, rated to 3 tonnes.
“And an additional clutch allows operators to disengage the gearbox, enabling it to freewheel, so removing the friction previously caused by the King Cobra’s 1000NM gearbox.
“The G3, or entry level Cobra, is ideal for land contour of 100 to 150m with slopes to seven degrees, is limited to 63mm drag-hose and has a lighter gearbox that doesn’t need a disengaging clutch.”
Other farmer led innovations for the King Cobra and G3 Cobra (optional) include an anchor which prevents roll-back on hills and a change to the wheel assembly. The anchor faces rearwards, providing farmers with easy and efficient irrigation on hills; it works with the King Cobra’s clutch, engaging the anchor when disengaged, preventing the irrigator from rolling back.
Johnson says the front wheel assembly now tows on all three wheels, spreading the irrigator’s weight evenly, the cover on the King Cobra is raised and widened to cover the dog clutch, and the outer part of the frame is strengthened by 50% to 3mm.
Milton farmer Scott Johnstone, who used one of the original King Cobras on his 360ha dairy farm, says “it was difficult pulling the wire rope out because the heavier gearbox created too much friction”.
“We worked with Hi-Tech who adapted the irrigator to have a dog clutch and synthetic rope. The upgrade pack fitted to our King Cobra is now much easier to pull the rope out.”
Broadlands farmer Mario Arnold says the King Cobra’s low application rate helps keep the nutrients in the root zone to minimise leaching and maximise nutrient uptake by the plants.
A 70m spread width results in fewer irrigator shifts, and the auto-stop function at the end of the run helps prevent over-application of effluent in one spot.