20 Topcon tips - smart, accurate control.

20 Apr 2020
Isobus header
  • Why Topcon? In 2019 SAM Machinery introduced its new range of SAM computer-controlled spreaders. They feature well proven Topcon technology. This is world class European proof of placement tech. Topcon have been testing and innovating their electronics on-farms globally for over 20 years. It made sense to partner with the absolute best technology we could find.


  • Must be added at time of build. Any SAM Spreader can be built with a computer control system to replace the standard ground drive (both 400 wide & 800 wide belts and all sizes). Please note they are not retrofittable.


  • How does it work? The computer operates a hydraulically-driven floor-belt. Application rates are adjusted easily from the X25 screen inside your cab. It gives precise control when spreading any type of fertiliser or manure. It applies the correct rate regardless of changes in forward speed or product density (when running in dynamic mode).


  • The Spreader is ISOBUS-compatible and can be integrated with load cells.


  • As an ISOBUS system, it can plug straight in to any compatible tractor. This utilises the tractors own screen. Or it can be used with its own separate 8.5 inch X25 colour touchscreen display. This sits in the cab of the tractor.


  • With its load cell module, the system also gives dynamic rate control. Load cells give precision on the weight of fertiliser in the bin at all times. It uses the weight of the product to constantly check the spread rate on the move, so you can spread more accurately and provide traceability for what you have applied.


  • What do I input? The screen requires a few quick inputs from you – fertiliser density, spread width and spread rate. Then you are away. And your inputs are saved for next time!


  • Is border control included? Yes - border control reduces spinner speed on one disk (can be set up for left hand or right hand) which decreases the spread width. This is helpful for spreading beside borders and waterways.


  • An auto shut-off function is also included - this is for headlands or crossover areas, to avoid double applications.


  • You can easily record all your spreading details for traceability and record keeping. For better reporting and compliance, your proof of placement data is available to download. This gives both accurate coverage and peace of mind.


  • You can potentially swap tractors by swapping the screen across (depending upon your tractor set-up).


  • Spreaders can travel very slowly while spreading at a very high rate (e.g. when spreading shavings in sheds).


  • What oil flow do I need from my tractor? Using the computer-controlled system requires a tractor with an oil flow of about 80 litres/min.


  • The system can be used without load cells. This is called volumetric rate control, and it uses the computer system as a simple rate controller. With volumetric control, operators can still monitor and control all spreader functions (e.g., spinner speed and border control) through the touchscreen. You are just relying on a known product density and not accounting for uneven flow of material.


  • What is dynamic rate control? When your tractor has Topcon and the spreader is fitted with load cells, you can achieve even greater accuracy using the hydraulic floor speed and rate control. This system measures the weight of product in the spreader on the go and then automatically adjusts the floor speed to achieve the correct application rates. This mode is suitable for rates over 300kg per hectare. For very light rates use static mode.


  • What is static rate control? For lighter/finer accuracy, static mode can be easily calibrated using the nudge calibration function. The accuracy of the spreading rate is as high as 99 percent of the target rate.


  • Ask about the brand new TAP system (Topcon Agricultural Platform)  This means the field mapping of jobs can be sent to the cloud. Resulting in even easier record keeping and proof of placement reporting. There is a subscription fee for this addition.


  • Simple & easy to use. The monitoring system in SAM spreaders is fast, accurate and user-friendly.


  • Customisable? Absolutely. Our farmers have varying requirements and budgets. Many want to keep things as simple as possible sticking with manual drive machines, others want to add extra accuracy with load cells weighing the product in the bin. Many use their own third party mapping systems such as TrackMap. Others are looking for added control, accuracy and reporting and go for a fully computer controlled spreader (some using ISOBUS and others opting for the X25 screen).  The 'all bells all whistles' model is a Topcon computer control with integrated load cells, X25 screen and GPS aerial. This gives computer-controlled applications, border control, and auto-shut off as well as GPS for proof of placement and field mapping of jobs.