The need to replace an aging sprayer led a Yorks farmer to the Cereals Event two years ago and after careful consideration, the choice was made. CPM follows the thought process.

We particularly wanted a machine with excellent build quality.

By Jane Brooks

Following several generations of the Hopwood family who’ve farmed at Clock Farm and Grimston Grange, Julian Hopwood and his son Scott are, as they would say, the current custodians of the land. Situated just 8.5m above sea level near to the villages of Heslington and Dunnington in the Vale of York, the soil ranges from blow-away sand to medium loam.

They farm 242ha, 40ha of which are potatoes, with combinable crops and grass taking up the remainder of the arable rotation. Grower group United Potato Farming Limited (UPFL) take 75% of potato production (crispers) which end up at KP Foods’ Billingham plant, with a further 12ha grown for McCain chips.

The Kuhn Metris 2 Equilibria boom suspension gives automatic self-levelling of the boom if there’s a slight slope.


Cropping is on a seven-year rotation, focusing on potatoes, oilseed rape, winter wheat, winter and spring barley and also spring beans which go for seed to Dalton Seeds at Peterborough. There are also stubble turnips on the light land, which a local farmer’s sheep graze off.


Some wheat goes to Warburtons for milling. Crusoe fills the late-drilling slot after potatoes, if conditions are favourable, but if not spring barley or spring wheat are drilled. This year they’ve tried winter wheat variety KWS Lili on medium loan and Gator, which has replaced JB Diego on the lighter land.

The fact that the Kuhn Metris 2 has a steering axle was one of the deciding factors in Julian Hopwood’s choice of sprayer.

Potatoes generally follow winter barley – Venture this year – with Concerto being the spring choice. The land isn’t particularly high yielding so disease resistant varieties are important, which includes the OSR variety Elgar.


“This will be the second season we’ve grown industrial hemp on our variable lighter land for bed and mattress manufacturers Harrison Spink, using this as another break crop,” says Julian Hopwood.


“Generally we plough and press everything and combi drill. We have a 6f 16-inch (40cm) variwidth Dowdeswell MA120 plough and a 6m set of Massey Ferguson discs with a home-made trailed packer that we use to work the OSR and winter barley stubbles.”


The sprayer up for replacement was a 2006 trailed Spraycare/Househam 24m 3000-litre model. Originally a contractor’s machine, it came to the farm in 2008. “Potato work isn’t as smooth as cereal work and all the sprayer’s steering was on the front linkage, it had four rams and 3three pivot points which were constantly wearing out.


“Although we didn’t have a particular brand in mind, it was my son Scott who wanted us to look at all options. He studied agriculture at Bishop Burton and has mechanical and engineering knowledge, so particularly wanted a machine with excellent build quality,” recalls Julian Hopwood.


Due to the demands of potato work, the acreage and some small, difficult-shaped fields they’d already decided on a 24m boom. “We went to Cereals and looked at all sorts of machines. The final choice came down to two sprayers, one of which was the Kuhn Metris 2,” he continues.


“After Cereals, Nigel Donkin from Kuhn and Marcus Bourne from Peacock and Binningtons’ Selby branch arranged for us to see a Metris in action in Derbyshire. A deciding factor in our final choice was that the Kuhn had the steering axle whereas the other one we liked was still on draw-bar turning.


“One of our requirements was heavy-duty aluminium booms – the advances in technology from our previous machine are really noticeable. We didn’t want to go any heavier than the 3200-litre tank machine, so went for the boom auto GPS shutoff and Manuset version of sprayer.”


The advances in technology also extended to boom suspension – Kuhn’s Equilibria system gives automatic self-levelling of the boom if there’s a slight slope – and the Hopwoods also opted for seven-section control on the boom.


“It’s an ISOBUS system and we have the ISOclick control box. The sprayer’s quick and easy to fill and the induction hopper is good to operate. We use Hypro 15RE nozzle caps which work well for most applications, changing these when a fine 100-150 l/ha is required.” Inside the cab, the control box is practical and has been developed with the operator in mind, he adds.


Peacock and Binnington together with Kuhn worked with Peter Winn Tyres of Pocklington to fit larger wheels and 420/80/46 tyres as the Hopwoods wanted a bigger rolling radius. Due to this, the machine is a little higher but still sits parallel to the ground and is well balanced. The drawbar is robust and it sits well behind the Hopwood’s 145hp Massey Ferguson 6480.


The blight chemical programme and other spraying decisions vary according to the advice of their agronomist, independent arable crop specialist Samantha Johnson. A member of the AICC, she’s looked after all the farm’s chemical needs for the past two years, following Sam Lawrence, who was the farm’s agronomist for 30 years.


“Agri-tech services have been used for about ten years – they initially did the neutron probes for the potato irrigation scheduling. They now undertake potato cyst nematode (PCN) sampling and have nutrient mapped the whole farm.”


This has led into variable-rate spreading of straight fertilisers with the farm’s Kuhn Axis 40.1W spreader. Although they may not have saved on input costs, Julian Hopwood says he’s now seeing nutrient indices levelling out across individual fields.


“The Kuhn sprayer was purchased last May, and Scott and I have done all the spraying with it, apart from when we’re lifting potatoes in the autumn. A local contractor does the pre-emergence spraying with a Kellands low ground pressure machine, which is where we first saw the aluminium booms and liked their structure.”


Almost a year later, Julian Hopwood is pleased with the sprayer and the after sales service he’s received form Peacock and Binnington and Kuhn. “There’s significant competition, certainly in this area. Relationships and communication are key to our business in all that we do, from purchasing machinery to marketing our produce.”

Metris range goes plug and play

The Hopwood’s Kuhn Metris 2 is one of the first sprayer models to have full ISOBUS compatibility.


Kuhn upgraded its operating system to full ISOBUS plug and play across its range of mounted and trailed sprayers including the Metris 2 in 2016. The upgrade has brought all new Kuhn sprayers in line with the ISOBUS cross-industry system and enabled the machines’ control system to be displayed on a compatible in-cab terminal, or the Kuhn ISOBUS CCI unit.


Kuhn’s separate ISOclick control box plugs into the CCI terminal and gives quick and easy access to functions such as section control, boom height and angle. It fits neatly at the end of the tractor seat’s armrest and can be re-programmed to operate other machines, such as Kuhn fertiliser spreaders or seed drills.


Apart from providing a simple display through one ISOBUS screen, the system is also a basic task controller, allowing work rate and data recording as well as delivering information about the tractor such as pto rpm and forward speed.

Farm Facts

J Hopwood and Son, Clock Farm, Elvington Lane, York


  • Farmed area: 242ha
  • Cropping: Potatoes, oilseed rape, winter wheat, winter and spring barley, spring beans, hemp
  • Soils: Medium light loam
  • Elevation: 8.5m above sea level
  • Mainline Tractors: 3x Massey Ferguson 7624; 2x MF 6480
  • Telehandler: JCB 536/56
  • Combine: 2008 Massey Ferguson 7278 Powerflow with 7.6m header
  • Drill: 4m KRM/Kuhn combi
  • Plough: 6f Dowdeswell MA120
  • Cultivator: 6m Massey Ferguson discs with trailed packer
  • Sprayer.: Trailed Kuhn Metris 2 with 24m boom
  • Spreader: Kuhn Axis 40.1W
  • Staff: Julian and Scott Hopwood plus part time seasonal staff.