“I looked at other machines available on the market but it was the simplicity and compact nature of the HARDI booms that really sold it to me” John Hennessy, Threecastles, Co.Kilkenny.
Kilkenny man John Hennessy farms 280 acres just outside the city in an area known as Threecastles. He is the 3rd generation to farm here taking over from his father Paddy over 42 years ago after leaving school at the age of 14. “Farming is all I ever wanted to do, so as soon as I could I finished my schooling and returned home to farm full time to help my father”.
The farm is divided up into both tillage and suckler enterprises which both account for approximately half of the farmed area. John finishes between 140-200 cattle and sows a combination of various cereals such as winter wheat, barley, oats and fodder beet. “The farm is roughly divided 50:50between the tillage and cattle which suits my system as I use some of the crops and straw for the animals during the winter while the bulk of it is sold to the co-ops”. To take care of the crops John trusts one brand of sprayer and one only, HARDI. “I purchased my first HARDI sprayer back in 1977 off the local dealer at the time in Kilkenny, Barlo. The reason I chose HARDI at the time was mainly because the dealer was nearby for backup and parts which I never even needed.
The HARDI sprayer would have also been quite popular in the area with many of my neighbours working them and getting on very well”. The initial HARDI on the Hennessy farm was an 88 gallon (400l) machine with 12m booms which was replaced no less than 15 years later by a new version which was converted in house by IAM from a 12m to an unusual 13m machine to suit the seeder. John had on the farm at the time.
As time passed on and the machinery on the farm inevitably got larger and more efficient, so too did the sprayers. “I took a big step forward in 2012 when I bought a new 1000l HARDI with 18m booms mainly because the tractor which I was using for spraying was now larger capable of handling a bigger sprayer, plus I was doing most of the work on the farm myself which meant I needed an efficient machine to get the job done faster”. This sprayer was then recently changed for John’s fifth HARDI sprayer, a 2018 MASTER
Plus 1200l machine with 18m booms, “I thought the last sprayer would see me out but decided because of the TAMS grant I was going to upgrade it to a slightly larger machine with a few more creature comforts, the new sprayer has an even better pump than the previous machine and the induction bowl is now more powerful which is a big advantage especially when using powdered sprays”.
Folding of the booms is controlled completely hydraulically and was one of the main selling points for John when choosing HARDI,
“I looked at other machines available on the market but it was the simplicity and compact nature of the HARDI booms that really sold it to me, they fold up neat and tidy behind the sprayer and don’t protrude out where they can get caught by bushes. Even though they have a break back protection system as standard I still don`t want to take the chance of doing damage to them”. The new sprayer has a hydraulic levelling system which again can be controlled inside the cab for both height and angle which is vital on the larger 18m booms which are now also cushioned to help when working on rougher ground. For added operator comfort all the functions are controlled electronically on a simple to use and compact control box which allows the user to utilise the section control feature which virtually eliminates overlap thus saving time and money.” I am by no means a big GPS guidance fan but the benefits of using section control and its simple and accurate operation is swaying me more and more that direction”. In relation to maintenance and looking after the sprayer it is made even simpler on the new MASTER Plus as all the grease points are now accessible from two grease banks at the front of the machine.
All the operative controls are clearly labelled and distinguishable making them easy to understand. “The HARDI for me is a pleasure to work, its simple to use yet accurate in the field, it’s construction is robust to deal with Irish conditions without any problem and it is extremely well designed which is very noticeable by how well balanced it is on the tractor, I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending a HARDI sprayer to anyone I would say, Go ahead any buy one you won`t regret it”.