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23rd June 1944, Page 26
23rd June 1944
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

THE spreading of lime over the fields, which until comparatively recently was a job for a man; a horse, and a cart, with the man using his spade to spread the lime as the horse transversed the field, has been stepped up, of late; by the use ot a motor lorry, instead of a horse and cart, with one man driving the lorry and three men at the back throwing the lime out with spades. Now, however, the job is completely mechanized; the lime is mechanically spread from the lorry as the latter travels across the field, only one man—the driver—being needed to do the work.

By the first of the three methods it took from 4 to 2 hours to lime an acre. By the second, with four men at work, an acre could be limed in from 25 to 30 minutes. By the latest method 2 tons of lime, the usual amount, can be spead over an acre in approximately 5 minutes.

Moreover, the work is more efficiently done and the lime evenly spread. When spread by hand, the result is bound to be an uneven covering, if due to nothing else than the gaps -which occur while the men turn for a fresh shovelful of lime. the vehicle meanwhile travelling forward. More over, in spreading by hand, care is not always taken to see that the lime has not become damp and congealed into lumps, a happening which still further detracts from the efficacy of the operation. Indeed, in particularly bad cases of this kind the farmer, ultimately, has sometimes come to the conclusion that he would have got a better crop had he mit limed the field, as the lumps of lime become such a hindrance to harvesting the crop.

The machine which serves as a means for this desirable end, is the Markjohn •Spreader, and its mechanism is fully covered by patents. It is designed to spread all kinds of materials, ranging from finely ground stuff up to 1-in. diameter, and spreads the material evenly in quantities ranging from 2 cwt. to 4 tons to the acre. The width of the spread ranges from 6 ft. to 40 ft.. The machine is fully automatic, for working • over grass or ploughed land or on roads, and is operated by one man, the, driver of the vehicle.

For the reasons stated, it is estimated that the cost of lime spreading, when using a 1Vlarkjobri Spreader, is approximately half that entailed by the usual methods.

The mechanism is ingenious, yet simple. Three of the spreaders which we saw in .ope_Btion, and which were demonstrated at Peas Pottage, near Crawley, Sussex, were constructed by liromilow and Edwards, Ltd., Foundry Street, Bolton, and mounted by that company on Dodge, model 101A, 5-tan long-wheelbase chassis with four-speed

gearbox. •

The equipment comprises a steel hopper, which takes the place of the bodywork on an ordinary vehicle, of 5 cubic yds. capacity. It is much wider at the top than at the bottom, the sides tapering from a width of about 7 ft. at the top down to 18 ins. There is no floor in the usually accepted sense, its place being taken by an endless rubber band mounted on rollers. This forms, in fact, a moving floor and is constructed in aCcordance with one of the Principality moving floor patents. At the rear• end of this moving belt is the spreading device which comprises two rotating drums with vanes, mOunted in housings, each having a horizontal outlet passing transversely across the vehicle. These outlets can be closed by swinging doors, but when the spreader is in use the doors are held open at an angle which is varied according to the width of spread which is .desired.

Another sliding door or shutter, also adjustable, is mounted in the back of the hopper, and by varying the position of its lower edge in relation to the moving floor the rate of feed from the hopper to the spreader can be controlled.

The back of the hopper is hinged at its top and can be swung outwardly so as to give complete access to the mechanism of the spreader, and to the interior of the hopper. • Inside the latter are three shallow V-shaped baffles, with the apex of the V to the top, evenly distributed along the length of the hopper so as to guide the load and divide it evenly in its flow on to the moving belt.

The chive is taken from the usual power take-off on the gearbox of the lorry. In one form a horizontal universally jointed shaft-transmits the drive to a range of gear wheels located just in front of the rotating drums, the moving belt also receiving its drive from the same source through a worm and wheel. All the gears -are completely enclosed and adequately lubricated. The machinery is put in and out of gear by means of a lever located conveniently to • the driver's hand inside the cab of the vehicle. In another machine the drive, instead of being by gears, is by chain and sprockets.

In operation, the driver first sets the rising shutterat the back of the hopper at an appropriate depth to allowthe desired quantity of material to pass. He also arranges the doors over the outlets from the spreaders at a height appropriate to the width of spread which is required.He then drives the vehicle up and down the field, strip by strip, until the hopper is empty. Actually, it takes 12Aminutes to empty the 5 tons, and to spread the lime in a finely powdered state over 2+ acres.

Normally, the hopper is replenished at the lime pits, and as itis essential that the lime should be kept dry, provision is made, in the present type of machine, for it to be covered by tarpaulins. The defect in this is that some 10 minutes or so is needed for removing and replacing the tarpaulin for each load, and it is anticipated that, in future, machines will have a hopper cover of the rollershutter type incorporated.

When the distance from lime pit to farm is considerable, a preferable procedure is to use other means for carrying the lime to the field, where it is dumped, and if the weather be Wet or the lime is not to be used immediately; covered over. Mechanical means for loading the spreader are then necessary. At the demonstration, a Chaseside Digger was used, and th, takes six or seven minutes to fill the hopper. An alternative means, which may be used is a travelling elevator of the belt-conveyor type, with a small petrol engine as the source of power. The time needed by this method is likely to be somewhat longer than when using the Chaseside Digger. • . Many materials, other than lime, can usefully be spread ler means of this machine, Artificial fertilizers of the dry type can be handled The machine can also be used for spreading grit and road stone, and it is anticipated that considerable use will shortly be found for these machines for such • work and other similar purposes.

At present, a lime and artificial manure-spreading service ie to be operated in Southern England -by Mechanical Spreaders, Ltd-. This service is for the exclusive use of producers and merchants who will thus be in a position to offer lime and artificials delivered and spread. It is not the intention of the company to supply and distribute the lime direct to farmers, othei than through the, officers of the producers and merchants.

As further machines become available, the service will be extended to other parts of England, and it is the present intention of the company to come to arrangements with responsible contractors, either -haulage ' contractors or agricultural machinery contractors or . the like,. to take over the responsibility for the handling. Of these spreaders, the organization of the work, anft. the provision for maintenance of the machines. Haulage contractors having the necessary faculties and the capacity to undertake work Of this nature would do well to communicate with Markjohn Spreaders, Ltd., 28, Eccleston Street, London, S.W.1.


Locations: Crawley, London

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