A slurry tanks workload is going to increase significantly in the coming weeks, meaning these machines are going to have to be in perfect working order.
There are a number of items a farmer or contractor must concentrate on when servicing a slurry tank, according to Michael Brennan from Hi-Spec Engineering.
"These include checking the vacuum pump and gearbox oil, as well as seals at filling points and the tanks hose," he said.
Brennan advised owners of slurry tanks to carry out general tasks such as greasing and maintaining the correct tyre pressure, the details of which should be written on the tyre, before getting into the more time-consuming tasks.
1. Vacuum Pump Oil and Gearbox Oil
The most important advice Brennan could give to someone servicing a slurry tank is to ensure that pump oil is topped up at all times.
"Vacuum pump oil is the key to keeping the pump and slurry tank in full working order," he said.
The biggest problem is pump oil. This needs to be topped up or the vanes will swell and lock up the pump.
"The vanes are inside the pump and they fit into slots in a rotor. The vanes slide in and out of the rotor, thus creating the vacuum."
Operators will also see an oil dropper on the tanker which indicates how much oil is lubricating the pump. Brennan recommends that this oil should be dropping at a rate of one drop per second.
"A drop per second is recommended. But this may speed up once the oil heats up, so it will take a little adjustment to get it right."
He also advised farmers to top up the tanker's gearbox oil, or to drain and replace it if water has managed to mix with the oil.
2. Filling Points
"The handle on the filling point at the rear of the tanker can become loose, meaning it will fall to the closed position if not held open," he said.
"There is a nut on the top of the handle which can be tightened."
Meanwhile, Brennan recommends that operators check the seals on all of the filling and spreading points of the tanker to ensure that they are kept air-tight.
3. Viewing Glass
The viewing glass on the rear of a tanker indicates to the operator when the tank is close to full.
But these can viewing glasses can become damaged or dirty meaning visibility will be affected.
"These glasses can be easily removed and cleaned or replaced with the loosening of a screw," he said.
It is in the farmer's own interest to make sure that a slurry tanks pipe is free of cracks or damage, as it will affect the machine's performance at filling, according to Brennan.
"As with the seals on the filling points, it is important that there is no unnecessary air intake into the tank when filling," he said.
5. How to Drive the Slurry Tank
"A tractor should be running at a little bit better than tick over when filling the slurry tank.
Once the slurry is moving through the hose you aren't going to run it any quicker by revving the tractor.
"Meanwhile, when spreading the tanker should be blowing at 0.7-0.8 bars of pressure, but this may vary depending on the thickness of the slurry," he said.