Rugged Six Wheel Drive Slurry Tanker Set To Tackle Ireland’s Steepest Hills

Machine much less likely to lose its balance on sloped ground, say manufacturers

Production is set to begin on a new Irish-made slurry tanker designed to help farmers access some of the island’s toughest hills and softer, wetter ground more safely.

Equipped with a  ground-driven axel, the six-wheel-drive tanker by Slurry-TEK is expected to come to the market locally by the end of September.

The extra axle and tyres will reduce the pressure on the ground, meaning slurry can be spread in wetter conditions.

Based in Banbridge, Co Down, Slurry-TEK specialises in rain gun technology, with its range focusing on designs which make spreading on treacherous ground safer.

The firm’s innovations include a tank designed with an axel running through the chamber lowering the tank’s position and therefore reducing its centre of gravity.

The liquid nature of slurry means it can slosh around the tank, as the tractor and implement navigate bends, hills or other obstacles.

A SlurryTEK tanker in the Glens of Antrim

However, the concept behind the design is that by placing the axle through the tank, the slurry is in a more stable position.

The result is a machine which is much less likely to lose its balance on steep hills.

The concept was established by Mayo firm Agrispread before it was bought by Slurry-TEK and brought on to the current models.

Darryl Hylands, the firm’s managing director, explained that customers had put his designs to the test on areas of Northern Ireland’s Glens of Antrim.

“The position of the axle means that there is always slurry below the centreline of the axle, better pinning the machine to the road and the field,” he said.

“Some of our customers have even been able to spread slurry on land which had never been accessible to tankers before.”

“It’s very dangerous to spread slurry on sloped ground so we have come up with a concept that lowers the centre of gravity.

“Because the tanker sits 16 inches lower, the visibility for the operator is also better. This means there are fewer blind spots, which is safer, particularly in yards where there are other operators working or children are nearby.” 

Another unique factor is that the third axle is driven.

“It’s going to make steeper ground even more accessible and will improve access onto softer ground,” Mr Hyland said.

“Because it’s driven rather than being dragged, it means that the tractor isn’t doing all the work to move the tank forward so, in theory, it should cause less damage to the ground.” 

Slurry-TEK’s beginning start 20 years ago, making fallen stock incinerators and various styles of trailers for agricultural use. However, the firm ventured into manufacturing slurry tankers in 2014 following requests from local equipment dealers.

Today, the firm exports its wares to 28 countries, with customers including a goldmine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as farms and agribusinesses in New Zealand, Australia, and Iceland.

However, cross-border trade remains the firm’s largest market.

“Our largest market for the tankers is the Republic of Ireland,” Mr Hyland said. “Our core product is the LCG [low centre of gravity] tanker; it’s particularly popular in Cork, and the South-West, especially in the steeper, more mountainous areas.”

(Source – Irish Examiner – Farming – Rachel Martin – 11/05/2022)

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