JCB buggy solves water pumping issues for sugarcane farmer

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  • Plant & Equipment

Farming sugarcane is a water and labour intensive task but Mackay farmer Paul McKay reckons his brainchild, the JCB Pump Buggy makes it all much easier.

JCB buggy solves water pumping issues for sugarcane farmer
Sugarcane farmer Paul McKay uses his JCB Pump Buggy around his farm to ensure water reaches all the required areas on his property.

McKay farms sugarcane on a 283 hectare property which is set up to run hose irrigators being fed by various dams and sumps located along the drains on the farm. The real challenge for McKay has been pumping the water along the pipes to make sure it gets to all the required areas.

"I have been using my tractor via the power take off shaft to drive pumps," he says.

"But this was giving me a few problems. It obviously tied up an expensive piece of capital equipment for days on end and was a pretty big engine to be driving a relatively small pump."

"The biggest issue was that the tractor began to experience overheating problems as well," he adds.

That is when McKay came up with the idea of a portable pump with a hard hose or winch which can be taken to the water source and hooked up to the hose irrigators easily. It also has to be reliable enough to run unattended for hours on end and economical to purchase and operate.

McKay had a local engineering company design the pump buggy, which comprises of a substantial skid style base, dual axles with industrial tyres, hinge drawbar and a canopy for protection.

Power Equipment water agent Jeff Roberts recommended McKay install a JCB Dieselmax 444 engine to run the pump buggy. It is a 4-cylinder, 4.4 litre unit with 4 valves per cylinder producing high torque at low speeds. McKay’s unit is rated at 89kW at 2200rpm.

With the JCB Engine direct coupled to a Southern Cross centrifugal pump, the JCB Pump buggy has the design capacity to pump up to 300 litres of water per second.

McKay has been running the JCB Pump Buggy for two years now with no problems. On his farm, he tows the buggy to the relevant dam or sump where a portable diesel fuel tank is parked alongside, a water hose is connected to the inlet side of the pump and then dropped into the dam.

On the outflow side of the pump, a hose is then connected to a hydrant or hose irrigator. Once the JCB Dieselmax engine is started, the water flows.

"It has proven to be the perfect solution while also being very efficient," McKay says.

"It operates at an easy 1500rpm for stints of about 16 hours duration, from 5pm to about 9am or 10am the next morning. "

"The fuel consumption is excellent at just 8 litres an hour."

In fact, McKay is so happy with the buggy that he plans to purchase a second unit to be used as a backup pump when needed.

Power Equipment is the official distributor of Yanmar Marine and Industrial diesel engines, JCB's Dieselmax range and MASE's diesel marine and RV generators in Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and South Pacific.  

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