Is this the ultimate spreader?

Though of little practical relevance to us here in Ireland, the GVM T380 Prowler certainly does have presence.

This self-propelled spreader is a US-built machine; it showcases where high-capacity spreading technology is these days.

The vehicle, depending on how it’s configured, can carry either a 12t hopper (for granular fertiliser or lime) or a 1,800-gallon sprayer (for a liquid payload).

The fully mechanical, all-wheel-drive chassis boasts near-equal weight distribution. Coupled with its wide tyres, the Prowler is claimed to offer up to 64% more flotation than other, comparable self-propelled ‘applicators’.

A 380hp Cummins QSL9 engine provides the necessary muscle; it is mated to an 11-speed Funk DF250 powershift transmission.

The drive-line is also home to a torque converter – with lock-up and a self-locking, inter-axle differential.

Four-wheel steer is optional; so too are adjustable axles.

Up top, there’s an air-ride cab, which is home to an air-suspended seat. The chassis incorporates variable coil-spring suspension. All told, operators should enjoy a reasonable degree of comfort aloft this imposing contraption.

An in-cab, 7in monitor displays machine diagnostics and gauges – including engine, transmission, hydraulic and electrical data (including all CAN messages). The status of all fuses can also be viewed on this screen.

In ‘spreader’ guise, the Prowler’s so-called ‘Double Duty’ applicator sports a 95-105ft (29m-32m) spread pattern. This can be stretched up to 120ft (36.5m) for some materials.

The ‘sprayer’ variant comes with steel booms that span up to 90ft (27m); aluminium booms are available up to 120ft.

Who or what is GVM?

GVM is a manufacturer of agricultural application and snow equipment. Its machines are sold to farmers, custom applicators (contractors), government agencies and – in the case of snow-related equipment – airports.

It’s a family-owned company, with roots in agriculture. The firm originated from Andgrow in Pennsylvania (US). Andgrow was a fertiliser dealership, founded in 1975 by Jack Anderson.

Shortly after its foundation, Anderson decided that he wanted to be able to offer his employees year-round, full-time employment, so he began manufacturing foam markers in the ‘off-season’.

In 1977, Andgrow became GVM Inc – adopting the trading name that the company has to this day.