Farmers who have become accustomed to seeing small, white, airplane-like Spra-Coupe sprayers racing through cotton and soybean fields may be in for a shock in the coming months.

They may soon be seeing big, white Spra-Coupes racing through their fields as AGCO Corp. begins to supply dealers with its new 7000 Series self-propelled sprayers.

“The 3000 and 4000 Series Spra-Coupes were introduced a long time ago, and a lot of things have changed since then,” says Richard Rose, vice president and general manager of AGCO Application Equipment.

Versatile machines

“Farms have grown bigger, new chemicals have become available and farmers have new challenges. One year they may be confronted with mold; the next year with aphids. They have to be able to respond to these challenges in their own time frame.”

When the first Spra-Coupe hit the market in 1965, “it was considered a break-through machine,” said Rose, who spoke to dealers and members of the agricultural media during the introduction of Spra-Coupe's new 7450 and 7650 models at the Memphis, Tenn., Agricenter. “Now we're moving to the next level.”

“AGCO has been responding to customer needs from the beginning,” said Arnie Sinclair, general marketing manager, AGCO Application Equipment. “They imagined a new kind of Spra-Coupe, and with the 7450 and 7650, we have a sprayer to meet their needs.”

Sinclair said the new models offer more power, more traction, more comfort and more tank capacity, “and the spray system is more stable and more durable with the traditional reliability and accuracy that our customers expect.”

Designed for larger farming operations in the Mid-South, the Southwest and the upper Midwest and Plains states, the new models can be outfitted with either 725-gallon poly or 660-gallon stainless steel spray tanks.

The larger payloads are powered by a new 174-horsepower Perkins 1106C diesel engine that meets all U.S. EPA Tier 2 and European Union Stage 2 off-road emissions. Its charge air-cooled, waste-gated turbocharger provides more oxygen for a cleaner fuel burn, more efficient power production and cleaner exhaust, Spra-Coupe spokesmen say.

Power to spare

“This electronically controlled engine provides plenty of power to muscle the 7000 Series payloads across soft soils and steep slopes,” says Brian Burmeister, sales engineer, AGCO Application Equipment. “Cooling efficiency also benefits from the side-by-side integrated cooling system and all aluminum construction with over/under plate fin design.”

“The engine and the transmission talk to each other, so to speak,” said David Webster, general sales manager for AGCO Application Equipment. “When the electronics sense an increase in the load, it tells the engine to supply more power.”

The 7000 Series transmission offers six forward and two reverse gears with four selections under 18.3 miles per hour and a top speed of up to 27.5 miles per hour. Torque also matches need with the integral torque converter. The load-sensing hydraulic pump drives the two-speed front wheel motors.

The optional front wheel assist can be activated on-the-go and will disengage at higher speeds when no longer needed, said Sinclair.

The new models also provide operator comfort and boom stability with the oscillating front axle with independent strut and spring suspension, he noted. That combines with rear-suspension coil spring and knee-action design incorporated into the wheel leg and chain case to take the bounce out of ridges and depressions.

The three-point, rubber cab mounts with their four rubber insulators further reduce vibration and noise from the operator station.

Like earlier Spra-Coupes, the 7000 Series is designed to match the crop and the field. Operators can drop to boom height on the 42-inch clearance 7450 to as low as 17 inches and to as high as 90 inches for optimum crop coverage. The boom on the 48-inch clearance 7650 can be dropped as low as 23 inches and as high as 96 inches.

Spra-Coupe officials say that tracking width easily adjusts to row or bed width. The electro-hydraulic controls adjust tracking in 2-inch increments from 71 inches to 89 inches on the 7450 and 88 inches to 128 inches on the 7650.

Increased stability

“The new 60/80 boom is engineered for increased stability and durability with full boom and tip breakaways and retractable fold over tips,” said Sinclair. The five section shutoffs and independent left/right boom folds allow the operator to quickly and easily adjust spray swaths at field edges and reduce overlaps.”

Rose says the 7000 Series Spra-Coupe will allow the company to meet the needs of larger farming operations in the United States and in other countries.

“We're specifically looking at expanding the Spra-Coupe brand to Australia, Brazil and Eastern Europe,” said Rose. “Some of the fields in Brazil stretch to the horizon, which would make them ideal for the 7000 Series.”

AGCO is also introducing a new 4000 Series Spra-Coupe with a larger engine and more torque for its more traditional customers.