Mounted, Reviews, Spreader

REVIEW: Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Fertiliser Spreader

Clever design features, technological advancements, precise spreading capabilities... the new Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro is certainly one feature-rich spreader. New Zealand’s Brent Lilley tests it out.

I headed to Christchurch recently to check out an Amazone ZA-TS spreader. As I discover, this very machine combines new technology to offer huge savings and benefits to farmers.  



Machine and Access


Frame and setup

Drop point






Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Machine and Access

Amazone -ZA-TS-Profis -Hydro -spreader Ladder

A safety ladder on each side of the machine gives access to the large top opening, which is more than wide enough to load with most buckets or bulk bags. Topping it all off is a canvas cover to keep moisture out.

In this machine it is opened and closed with a handle that can be used while standing on the ground, although a hydraulic cover is optional.

Safety panels and road lights are neatly incorporated into the outside of the hopper and are definitely required, as the size of the hopper completely obscures the tractor’s lights.

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Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Hopper

Amazone -ZA-TS-Profis -Hydro -spreader Hopper

The 700-litre base for the main hopper is actually made up of two hoppers, which deliver the material separately to each spinner.

Built from one piece of steel that is deep pressed to form its shape , this gives a smooth seam-free finish with a greater resistance to corrosion, while preventing build-up of material and improving flow.

 Welded steel bin above the hopper gives the machine I tested its 3,200-litre capacity. Clear windows built into this hopper at the front and back give a visual guide as to how much is left in the spreader.

Inside the hopper, a grate prevents unwanted objects or lumps from reaching the spinners. Interestingly, in order to meet safety standards this grate can only be opened with a special tool (which is stored at the rear of the machine).

An aggressive looking agitator is positioned in the bottom of each hopper to keep material flowing freely. Cleverly they are electronically driven, so avoid damaging the material being spread: if they jam on an obstacle, they automatically reverse to clear the blockage.

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Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Frame and setup

The hopper mounts to a separate weighing frame via three points; a fixed link at the top, along with two load cells at the bottom.

These constantly weigh the remaining amount of material in the hopper and are impressively accurate on flat ground. As the system relies on gravity, an optional inclination sensor may be required when working on hills for the monitor to more accurately calculate the hopper weight in sloping environments.

Fixed moulded plastic mudguards at the front of the frame behind the wheels are a simple but effective design feature, in order to keep mud flung up by the back wheels of the tractor from covering the spreader.

Four caster wheels on the bottom of the frame for storage are simply folded before the spreader is unhitched from the tractor.

This is great if you have a concrete floor to store the machine on — as it can be wheeled around with the ease of a supermarket trolley — but is probably not much more than a parking stand on any other surface.

I also like the fact the wheels are permanently fixed to the spreader and fold up out of the way when hitched to a tractor, as they are always where you need them and never get lost.

While it is great to see the machine coupled as closely as possible to the back of the tractor to keep the weight forward, it does make space quite tight between the machine and the back wheels when hitching up.

An A-frame type set-up would be an improvement for those coupling/uncoupling the machine often.

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Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Drop point

Amazone -ZA-TS-Profis -Hydro -spreader -drop Point Spread

The drop point of the material from the hopper to the spinning disc is part of the engineering secret behind this machine’s high and accurate working widths.

Unlike many other machines, the Amazone has an adjustable drop point. A stainless steel bowl on the bottom of the hopper with an offset hole is rotated around the central point of the spinner.

While the drop point is always the same distance from the centre of the spinner, this affects where the material is thrown, making it possible to maintain an even spread pattern, even as the spreading width increases.

The drop point can be either automatically or manually adjusted from the cab’s control box. The drop point for spreading a wide range of materials over various spreading widths can be found from tables in the manual or even from a downloadable app on your smartphone.

Sample trays and measuring equipment that come with the machine can check spreading width accuracy or calibrate the drop point for unknown materials.

The 16 trays are laid out in groups of four across half the spreading width; the contents is measured after several passes and results entered into the monitor, which automatically adjusts the drop point to achieve an even spread pattern.     

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Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Spinners

Two stainless steel spinners each use two sets of vanes on each disc. The first set is in use for normal spreading and feature angled tips (allowing the spreading width to be adjusted within the range by simply changing the spinner speed).

While this machine runs TS2 vanes on the spinners (giving them a spreading width from 18m to 36m), there are two other set-ups that allow for spreading widths from 12m up to 54m. Impressively the machine has been certified in Australia for spreading urea out to 44m.

Each spinner also features a second set of shorter stubby vanes, used to reduce boundary spreading. This clever set-up involves a separate shaft inside the driveshaft for the spinners that can rotate the central delivery vanes on the disc by 10 degrees.

This sends material to the boundary spreading vanes and throws it around half the width of the normal spreading vanes.

Three separate settings can be chosen on the monitor when boundary spreading; full cover to the boundary (a small amount will go over the boundary), tapered cover to the boundary (a reduced rate near the boundary, but no material will go over), and finally an invaluable water course setting (reducing the width to 1.5m less than the boundary).

Drive for the spinners come via a hydraulic motor powered through a load sensing coupling on the tractor. Electronic control is used to adjust spinner speed in order to achieve the desired spreading width.

On the cab monitor, the set spreading width is divided into eight sections on each side. The sections can be shut off one by one, starting from the outside on each side. This is an invaluable and very clever feature with huge savings when spreading triangles or thin strips.

Flow rate of material to the spinners is controlled with an electronically control shutter on the drop point. This not only ensures a fast and accurate shut off, but also varies the flow rate automatically as the spreading width is changed.

When boundary spreading, this feature can provide huge savings in the amount of material being spread.  

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Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Controls

Amazone -ZA-TS-Profis -Hydro -spreader -Amatron Screen

As the Amazone spreader is fully ISOBus compatible, it can be run through any ISOBus screen, although for our test we had the easy-to-use Amatron terminal set-up in the tractor.

Like any ISOBus equipment there is a wealth of information that can be displayed through the screen or exported into the system via USB stick.

All of the features mentioned, such as spreading width, drop point, flow rate, section control and boundary control, can be controlled manually by pushing buttons on the monitor. But this relies on your quick reflexes; the real beauty of the system comes when you combine it with a GPS receiver.  

The big Claas Axion 850 is running a Hemisphere Crescent GPS receiver on the roof. While pretty much any GPS that can be plugged into an ISOBus controller will do, the fitted receiver takes the machine to a whole new level of simplicity and accuracy.

Once you’ve set your spreading width, application rate and drop point, you simply drive around the outside of the area to be spread to map it. Once this is calculated, you’re all set.

For the best accuracy, it’s ideal to keep to straight lines although purely for interest’s sake (and because we can push the rules occasionally) we started spreading in a similar pattern to what a pre-schooler might do with a crayon on paper.

It was quite amazing to watch the flow rate to each spinner start and stop automatically as required and the spinner speed adjust to alter the spreading width as triangles and strips were encountered.

As the amount of material is constantly being weighed and the amount used is compared to the area covered, the computer automatically adjusts the flow rate to the desired application rate.

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The Verdict

This is a seriously smart and well thought-out machine. The build quality throughout is excellent, with the single piece deep pressed hopper base and stainless steel components sure to extend the life span of the machine.

A stand-out point from nearly all other machines on the market is the moveable drop point, which can be calibrated with material being spread to achieve an even spread pattern regardless of the spreading width the operator has chosen.

Further potential savings become apparent when used with a GPS receiver. This gives amazing control and accuracy by automating most features of the spreader.

This is a serious contender in the top of the highly accurate spreader market. For those spreading large amounts of high value materials, I’m sure the extra initial outlay will be easily recouped.

Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Hits:

  • One piece deep pressed hopper base to prevent material build up and smooth flow
  • Parking stand with caster wheels permanently attached to the machine for easy storage when not in use
  • Weigh cells constantly monitor the amount of weight in the hopper and the monitor can adjust the flow rate to match the desired spreading rate
  • Separate spreading vanes for boundary and water course spreading
  • Drop point can be calibrated to achieve even spreading regardless the set working width
  • Spreading width can be narrowed or shut off automatically when spreading triangle when coupled with a GPS receiver

Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Misses:

  • Limited space between the machine and the back wheels
  • Fine particle materials such as lime will not spread

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Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro Fertiliser Spreader Specifications

Make/model: Amazone ZA-TS Profis Hydro

Working width: 18-54m

Hopper capacity: 3,200 litres

Payload: 4,500kg

Drive: Electric over hydraulic

Linkage: Category 3

Remote valves required: 1 load sensing

Electronics: Fully ISOBus compatible

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For the full test report, grab a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine when it goes on-sale from December 1. Subscribe to the magazine today to secure yur copy.

Photography: Brent Lilley

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