Farm Ireland

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Warnings on slurry tanker designs

'Half-full tankers the most dangerous'

Teagasc's machinery specialist Dermot Forristal echoed the manufacturer's concerns.
Teagasc's machinery specialist Dermot Forristal echoed the manufacturer's concerns.
Darragh McCullough

Darragh McCullough

Machinery manufacturers and contractors have voiced their concerns about slurry tanker design following a series of incidents with the units.

Most recently, a 2,000 gallon tanker overturned in Monaghan town during busy lunch-hour traffic. The valves on the machine broke, allowing the cattle slurry to flow down the road.

A fire brigade crew and council staff subsequently spent hours sand-bagging and cleaning up the mess.

The tanker was fitted with a single set of wide diameter wheels that have become popular among farmers in recent years.

"They're popular because they are cheap to build, they are easily pulled, and they don't damage the ground much," said Simon Cross of Kildare's Cross Engineering.

"But they are designed for the field, not for the road. That's why we put a 30kph speed limit sticker on all of them now.

"The half-full tanker is the most dangerous, especially if there is a young driver behind the wheel. We'd be recommending a double axle machine if the buyer is planning to do a lot of road work," he said.

Design compromise

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Teagasc's machinery specialist, Dermot Forristal echoed the manufacturer's concerns. "The design is a compromise. It is very good in the field because it doesn't get stuck or create ruts due to its low rolling resistance, but they are less stable on the road," he said.

Some operators resort to letting some air out of the tyres to make the machine less bouncy on the road. This has the downside of increasing the instability of the machine on corners.

"People need to be careful with tyre pressures, because that can be a very tricky balance. It's also vital to ensure that both are balanced," said Mr Forristal.

Indo Farming