The benefits of spreading farm effluent as a fertiliser.

Our slurry and muck spreaders return nutrients to the field, fast. Farming’s hard work. With the help of our spreaders you won’t waste a drop of sweat or effluent.

Don’t muck around

It may be dirty work but our muck spreaders get it done without any fuss.
Available in four sizes with recessed floors. Tick it off with heavy duty, low-maintenance Kiwi engineering.

In July 2014 Farm Trader spoke to Te Awamutu dairy farmer Allen (AJ) Bryant about the Buckton 9MS he had recently purchased.

Growing up on the farm he now owns, AJ had the responsibility of pumping and spreading the effluent rom a small sump near the cowshed and spreading this onto the paddocks to be cut for silage. He can remember running out of effluent one year, leaving the paddock partially uncovered before the silage was ready to be cut. It became obvious the value of spread effluent as the uncovered strip down the right-hand side of the paddock reached the top of his gumboots, where the effluent-spread left-hand side was nearly up to his knees.

AJ had seen a variety of muck spreaders working while at the Grassland & Muck event in the UK in 2007. He was sure these types of machine would be available at home in the near future. Having built a covered concrete feed pad with 100m3 of effluent storage, he needed a machine to handle the precious nutrient. Enter the Buckton 9MS.

AJ had had varying results in the past when hiring spreaders, so did some research to find a machine which would best suit his needs and would be able to spread a variety of sloppy to solid material.
Buckton are manufacturing four muck spreaders - 12m3, 15m3 and 20m3 capacity more suited to contractors and the 9m3 which AJ chose. It’s a great farm machine, able to carry approximately nine cubic metres of sloppy slurry and 10-12 cubic metres of drier manure.

Controls for the spreader are reasonably simple - two sets of hydraulic remotes are required. The first two operate the rear door, the second is to control the floor and material fed back to the horizontal twin spreader unit. Without an electronic control box, flow rates on the tractor hydraulics need to be adjusted to speed up or slow down the floor. The simplicity of the system isn’t a downside as lack of electronics can save time and allow for less experienced operators to do a job which may otherwise require a more skilled operator.

The rear beaters run off the PTO at 1000rpm. With a straight shaft running beneath the floor and gearbox at the rear, power loss is minimised. With the easy-to-check oil sight gauge at the rear of the machine, the operator only needs to get under the machine to tend to the couple of grease nipples on the shaft, brakes and oscillating axle.

For the test, AJ initally filled the spreader with sloppy liquid effluent. As Farm Trader were unsure where the property was that the test was being run on they thought they would be able to follow the spillage from the machine. This proved to be more difficult than expected as the front and rear rubber seals, coupled with the recessed chains, meant the machine hardly spilt a drop.

The spreader has a clear panel to check, from the front, on load levels. Rough measurements during the test gave a spread of 10m with the very wet load and around 12m with the more solid, running the tractor at low revs. To achieve the best spread (other contractors and owners are achieving an 18m to 22m spread pattern) the 9MS needs to operate at high revs. With around 200m3 of effluent to spread annually, AJ still wanted to do a little more trial work to check the spread pattern and rates for various products, to help maximise his maize and pasture crops, while minimising environmental impact and unnecessary fertiliser spending.

The Buckton has a twin axle with 400/70Rx22.5 tyres as standard. AJ chose 500/60Rx22.5 tyres on his machine, which will provide better flotation, less soil compaction and increased stability on his undulating property. With the oscillating axle, like a lot of silage wagons in New Zealand, wheelbase is increased by having the wheels under the body of the machine, as well as lowering the height for loading, making it easier for a front-end-loader.

Build quality/construction
The 9MS doesn’t look fancy, it looks like a muck spreader. You are paying for plenty of steel where you need it. Floor chains have welded scrapers which do a good job of emptying the bin. Twin hydraulic motors and split floor chains are the major differences between Buckton and its competitors. Lighter but stronger chains and drive motors are used, spreading the load and weight. Four thick box-section ribs hold the weight of a loaded bin and strong vertical beaters with extra steel blocks at floor height, handle whatever random objects accidentally find their way into the machine. Quality fittings are used throughout. Provided chains are kept tensioned correctly with the simple tensioning system, and it is regularly greased before use and after cleaning and storing, there should be no warranty issues in the first 12 months and probably little to worry about over the next 20 years.

Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Slurry Spreading


A well designed system and management plan will enable as much as 80% to 90% retention of the nutrient value.

The organic matter in the effluent will also improve soil water-holding characteristics, aeration and drainage and will make soil less prone to compaction and erosion.

Research shows that 1kg N from effluent is equivalent to 1kg N from Urea, in terms of pasture production, composition and nitrate leaching. Therefore farm dairy effluent can produce good pasture response, up to 10 to 15kg DM per kg N applied in effluent.

Estimated nutrients in effluent from 100 Cows (kg/yr)*

Figures are estimated using the Overseer nutrient budget model, figures may vary from farm to farm. Testing the effluent from your farm will confirm the nutrient values. *Source: DairyNZ and Environment Waikato’s “A Guide to Managing Farm Dairy Effluent”.

Slurry Spreader Test and Review

While dealing with slurry is not everyone’s idea of fun and can seem like a tireless task at times, it is something that requires good management and is a fairly rich source of nutrients. Although there are plenty of alternatives for undertaking it, a slurry tanker offers the flexibility to cover your whole property even if it is some distance to and from the source.

In November 2015 Farm Trader went to the farm of Gus Morten, who runs a pig breeding and finishing operation on two properties close to the Waitaki River, New Zealand. With all pigs kept indoors there is naturally a lot of slurry to be dealt with in a responsible manner. The farm incorporates a fair amount of surrounding grassland that responds exceptionally well to a good dose of pig slurry.

With the operation spread over two properties, a slurry tanker is the obvious choice for flexibility. At times a truck and tanker are used to ferry slurry out to the slurry tanker while it’s working in the paddock, increasing efficiency. Gus’ previous 8000L tanker was due for replacement and he felt the natural step was to move to a larger capacity tanker. The Buckton SL15000 with its 15,000L capacity ticked all the boxes.

Vacuum Tankers
To fill the tank, a pump is used to suck air out of the tank creating a vacuum inside that in turn draws the liquid in, filling the tank. Emptying it out is equally as easy. The pump is switched from vacuum to pressure which pumps air back into the tank pressurising it to force the liquid back out. This system keeps the normally corrosive and harmful slurry well away from the internal workings of the pump. Buckton use an Italian Battioni Pagani rotary vane pump to move air in or out of the tank. It uses an automatic lubrication set-up to keep it running and can displace 12,000L/min.

The simple strong construction of the tanker begins with a heavy-duty box section beam that is used as a chassis and runs from the swivel towing eye back under the tank to the walking beam oscillating tandem axle which is mounted slightly to the rear of the machine. This ensures most of the weight is carried on the chassis and the tanker’s tyres, while also transferring some weight to the rear wheels of the tractor for traction. LED road lights on the back of the tanker and hydraulic brakes, to help bring the machine to a stop when loaded, are good safety features. Large flotation tyres are used to spread the weight and minimise compaction.

The tank is built from rolled, welded sheet steel and incorporates an internal baffle to keep liquid from slopping about when moving. It is mounted so that it slopes to the rear to ensure all liquid is easily unloaded. Two sight glasses (one at half and one at full) are easy for the operator to see and give an idea of how much liquid is in the tank. There are two manholes to aid cleaning - one at the rear and the other on the tank top, accessed by a side ladder. The inside of the tank has been painted for added protection against corrosion.

A very easy operation. To load, simply pull the tanker alongside the slurry pit and lower the loading arm hydraulically from the cab into the slurry (if autofill is fitted). Turn the PTO on to run the pump, creating a vacuum. The change in sound of the pump lets the operator know the tank is full. Raise the loading arm back up into the transport position and it’s done. To unload, the pump is changed hydraulically in the cab, from vacuum to pressure, closing a valve on the inlet. With the pump running, the gate valve on the rear outlet is opened hydraulically to begin spreading and emptying the tank. The canon nozzle and splash plate on the back of the machine makes spreading a relatively simple affair.

(Times vary slightly due to viscosity of effluent and depth of pond)

Application Rates Based on a 10 metre Pass

Litres/Load 7500 10,000 12,000
Depth of effluent (mm) Metres/pass Loads/hectare Meters/pass Loads/Hectare Metres/Pass Loads/Hectare
3mm 250 4 333 3 400 2.5
4mm 187 5 250 4 300 3
6mm 125 8 167 6 200 5