Merle Doyle started out manufacturing truck-mounted fertilizer spreaders in 1951. Doyle's innovative rotating drum blender introduced in 1961 eclipsed spreaders as a business line and was soon followed by other fertilizer handling equipment. It has taken Merle Doyle's descendants three generations to come nearly full circle with the introduction of the Big Shot spreader.
"Truck spreaders fell by the wayside as we concentrated on blenders and conveyers," noted Colton Doyle, sales manager, Doyle Equipment Mfg. and fourth generation in the family-owned business.
The recent relocation to a new 200,000-square foot manufacturing complex in northeast Missouri made it possible for the company to reintroduce itself to fertilizer spreaders. Just as the innovative drum blender was unique in its day, Doyle is counting on innovation to capture market share in the competitive application equipment business.
The 16-ton, pull-behind Big Shot spreader rides on Camoplast Flexhaul tracks. Doyle says the company went with Camoplast at least in part because of its reputation for service and lack of failure in serving both OEM and retrofit markets. It didn't hurt that Camoplast is well known to many of the company's target markets—big growers and ag retailers.
"We have growers from 1,000-plus acres to 40,000 purchasing the Big Shot," said Doyle. "Compaction is a big concern for them, and we are seeing more and more track tractors as a result. We also saw growers putting Camoplast tracks on combines and large grain carts and decided to go with them on the Big Shot."
Tracks address some concerns and preferences, and the Camoplast pull-behind undercarriage design achieves common sense and economy, suggests Doyle. "Every farmer has multiple tractors," he said. "Why buy a spreader with a dedicated drive train and rear end? If a truck spreader breaks down, you stop spreading. If a tractor on a pull-behind breaks down, just hook up a different tractor and keep going."
The Big Shot features an eight and a half by 16-foot long stainless steel hopper. The spreader is set up to run off a Can Node Control system and closed-loop spinner control. A Raven Viper control system is an option, though Doyle says the Big Shot is compatible with virtually every controller on the market, including John Deere, Ag Leader and Trimble.
The PTO-driven, on-board hydraulic pump has a 42-gallons per minute (gpm) output, more than sufficient for powering the conveyor belt and 24-inch dual disc dished spinners. Spinners, blades and most of the unit were fabricated by Doyle Equipment.
"Our spreading system offers an Easy Set distribution bridge in back, with numbers lasered in for different fertilizer types and blends as well as lime," said Doyle. "There are no jacks, cranks or all-thread devices. Just pull a pin, set and replace the pin."
The Big Shot has a maximum 80-foot spread with fertilizer and a 50-ft. wide spreading pattern for lime. According to Doyle, the system was extensively pan-tested with different materials to ensure accurate spread patterns.
"We got good spread patterns out of all the materials we tested," said Doyle. "Spread pattern is critical for accurate placement."
Doyle expects retailers to see benefits and economy with the pull-behind design. He notes that many retailers end up with a rental tractor in the fall for anhydrous application. He suggests they can more fully utilize those short-term leases with this pull-behind.
With a focus on the potential with ag retailers, the Big Shot was introduced at MAGIE last summer.