REVIEW: Househam Veg Boss self-propelled sprayer

By: Tom Dickson, Photography by: Andrew Britten, Video by: Andrew Britten

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With a big name in vegetables, Schreurs is very exact in terms of its farm machinery. TOM DICKSON tested one of the horticulture operation’s new Househam Veg Boss sprayers.

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When it comes to self-propelled sprayers, Hardi, Goldacres and Croplands are brands that spring into mind but never before had I heard of Househam, pronounced ‘Howzm’.

Not surprising though, because I come from a sheep and cattle grazing background with a little bit of cropping, while the Househam name is more closely associated with the vegetable and cotton industry. The company specialises in custom-made machines to suit individual operations.

I paid a visit to one of vegetable growing enterprise Peter Schreurs & Sons’ properties on the eastern fringes of Melbourne to take a look at a self-propelled Househam from the Veg Boss range, designed predominantly to suit the requirements of the horticultural industry.The farm consists of 250 acres (101 hectares) growing celery, leeks, spinach and rocket.

Apparently Schreurs manufactures a lot of its own machinery for use on the property.

This tells me a few things. These people know exactly what they want and if it can’t be bought they will make it. And if they do buy machinery, they must believe it’s right for the job.

This is testament to the trust Schreurs has in its Househam sprayers because this is the second one they have owned. Mike Toth of Glenmac Sales & Service in Pakenham has supplied both machines.

 

Contents

The Machine

Booms and pump

Controls and ease of operation

Driveabaility

Spraying performance

Maintenance

Verdict

Specifications

 

Househam Veg Boss: The Machine

1397_Househam Veg Boss

The Housham sprayer I tested has a 170hp (127kW) Caterpillar engine, fully hydrostatic four-wheel drive transmission and is fitted with self-levelling load compensating air bag suspension.

A 3,000 litre fibreglass spray tank and Hypro side mounted centrifugal pump feeds 12m vertical double fold boom.

Look up the detailed specs of the Househam Veg Boss sprayer

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Househam Veg Boss boom and pump

A real key to its outstanding performance in a vegetable growing enterprise is the vertical fold boom. Each side can be folded independently making it able to spray right to the ends of a paddock.

Fold in one side and you can complete a turn, then recommence spraying.

This one is a 12m version to cover eight 1.5m beds per pass however an end spray nozzle is fitted to spray a ninth bed if required.

The spray lines are a single 0.75 inch (1.9cm) stainless steel line that operates in a continual loop back to the tank. This guarantees accurate and instant delivery to the nozzles and prevents settling in the lines.

The pump delivers a constant 40 psi of pressure to a four bank ANS nozzle. What this means in simple terms is that as speed increases, the spray is automatically directed through different nozzles to maintain constant droplet size and spray pattern.

As we go faster we just force more spray through the nozzle at higher psi. The ANS nozzles may even have two nozzles operating simultaneously to allow more volume of spray to flow while maintaining a constant 40 psi.

The vegetable industry demands precision and accuracy so an air sock is fitted to the boom. It creates a downward curtain of air to prevent drift while at the same time producing a turbulent spray pattern to make sure chemical reaches the underside of the leaf as well.

Auto steer and guidance can be included as an option.

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Househam Veg Boss controls and ease of operation

1468_Househam Veg Boss Controls

Jimmy Ha is a man of few words but he means what he says. He’s responsible for all the spraying on the property so should be the right person to talk to regarding its operation.

"[The new Househam sprayer] is more comfortable than the old one and the touchscreen controller works really well," Ha confirms.

When I jump into the cab for the first time I get a sense of what Ha is saying because there’s nothing intimidating about the layout of the controls. Like most new machines the Househam Veg Boss has an air suspension seat with built in armrest controller.

Most prominent is the forward/reverse lever then there are just a few buttons for boom operation, a park brake switch and engine speed. Ha says once you get used to its operation you can allocate most of the functions to buttons on the joystick directional lever to make life even simpler.

As soon as I disengage the park brake the steps automatically fold up out of the way to stay clear of the crop. Before we get into any serious spraying I cruise around a bit just to get a bit of a feel of how it behaves.

Again it’s super impressive how simple the Veg Boss is to drive. Because it has a fully hydrostatic transmission, I only have to push forward on the lever to go forward and pull backwards to reverse. It really is that simple.

The transmission has two speed motors. The lower, or spray range, goes up to 25km/h and the higher allows up to 40km/h road speed. It also has hill ascent and descent mode.

In hill descent, the transmission directs more drive to the front wheels to help maintain control and for the same reason, transfers drive to the rear wheels when going up hills.

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Househam Veg Boss driveability

Doing a dry run up the beds highlights two key features of the Househam sprayer. Firstly it has an exceptionally comfortable ride.

The load compensating air bag suspension on both the front and rear gives me the sense of just floating along. Combined with the suspension seat it completely eliminates bumps and vibrations.

To level out the ride even more and protect the boom through undulations, the suspension is further enhanced with active self-levelling.

The cabin on these sprayers is a forward mount design so the operator gets uninterrupted visibility out the front. In fact, visibility is fantastic all-round and the electronically adjustable review mirrors give me perfect vision out the back to confidently reverse up the windrows.

The Veg Boss sprayer is both four-wheel and two-wheel steering and while I find four-wheel steering great for manoeuvrability, at the ends of the runs for turning I quickly transferred back into two-wheel steering during spraying. This makes it easier to keep the wheels in the rows.

Ha says if the sprayer is in four-wheel steering and you start turning before the rear wheels have exited the row, it immediately rides up over the end of the bed.

The only time I try spray in four-wheel steering I start to turn a bit early and took out an irrigation sprinkler head.

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Househam Veg Boss spraying performance

Househam _Veg Boss SP

Ha has already set the rate at 400 litres per hectare but shows me by simply tapping the rate symbol on the Househam TMC touchscreen controller it can be altered.

That shows how easy the monitor is to use and he says all the other settings are just as easily done. You don’t need a degree in computer science to operate it.

I bump the revs up to 1,600rpm turn on the rear mount compressor to start the air sock, turn on the spray by flicking a switch on the back of the forward/reverse lever then push the lever forward to head up the beds.

As soon as we reach 1km/h the spray automatically turns on, it also turns off when speed drops below 1km/h. A quick glance at the screen indicates we are using between 12 to 13 litres of fuel per hour at 8km/h.

I have spent about 10 minutes in the cabin driving under Ha’s watchful eye and am very confident I could easily come back tomorrow, jump in and start spraying.

Loading chemical into the tank is simple and safe via the stainless steel induction hopper.

There is a bank of electronics at the fill point to control all the functions of the monitor without having to get back into the cabin.

The mixture travels through two filters, one on the way to the nozzles, then through a second as it flows back into the tank to complete the loop.

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Househam Veg Boss maintenance

Maintenance seems pretty straight forward with an ingenious little technique for filling the hydraulic oil.

From the ground you can pump oil back into the reservoir through the filter using a supplied hand pump. It’s recommended you change hydraulic oil at 1,000-hour intervals and engine oil every 500 hours.

Toth says many of the Househam sprayers he sells work in a sandy type environment because that is the nature of vegetable growing.

For that very reason the edges of the wheel rims have been thickened to resist early wear from continual friction caused by the abrasive, sandy soil.

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The Verdict

One of Househam’s key marketing strengths sits firmly in the company’s ability to custom build units to fit the demands of the consumer and the options seem limitless.

In my opinion, it’s a simple and uncomplicated design, comfortable, with good boom control and fuel efficiency. I see no reason why Househam sprayers couldn’t perform well in any operation.

Pricing is around $350,000 but varies depending on what options are included.

Househam Veg Boss Hits:

  • Vertical fold boom
  • Simple operation
  • Fuel economy
  • Four bank ANS nozzle
  • Thickened wheel rims
  • AirRide suspension
  • Hill ascent and descent feature

Househam Veg Boss Misses:                     

  • Small passenger seat

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Househam Veg Boss Specifications

MAKE/MODEL:               Househam AirRide Veg Boss self-propelled sprayer

ENGINE:                              

TYPE:                           Caterpillar

HORSEPOWER:          170 (127kW)

CYLINDERS:                  6

TRANSMISSION:          Hydrostatic 4WD

BOOM:

                TYPE:                Verticle fold

                WIDTH:                 12m

Click here to view the Househam Veg Boss self-propelled sprayer’s detailed specifications.

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For the full test report, pick up a copy of New Farm Machinery magazine issue 20.

Subscribe to the magazine to have it delivered, or get the digital edition and read it on-the-go.

Find Househam self-propelled sprayers for sale.

Look up Househam self-propelled sprayer specifications.

1212 Househam Veg Boss David Southerland Househam rep David Southerland displays the four bank ANS nozzles. 1212 Househam Veg Boss David Southerland
1325 Househam Veg Boss Each side of the boom can be operated independently from within the cab. 1325 Househam Veg Boss
1397 Househam Veg Boss A perfect fit for the vegetable industry. 1397 Househam Veg Boss
1462 Househam Veg Boss nozzles ANS multi-spray nozzles offer constant and accurate application regardless of speed. 1462 Househam Veg Boss nozzles
1468 Househam Veg Boss controls Push button control is provided for all functions including boom operation and wash-out cycles. 1468 Househam Veg Boss controls
1474 Househam Veg Boss cabin The forward mounted cabin has exceptional visibility in all direction. 1474 Househam Veg Boss cabin
1487 Househam Veg Boss wheel rims Thickened wheel rims reduce wear in sandy and abrasive soils. 1487 Househam Veg Boss wheel rims

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