I had owned the predecessor to the spreader shown below for many years. When I bought my new tractor and implements in October, I gave away my old trustworthy spreader (along with several other things to attempt to make room for all of the new equipment) because I had bought a new 3 point Frontier PTO driven Spreader with the 1025R and the other implements and mistakenly thought at the time that I wouldn't need pull behind spreader any longer.
As soon as I used the new Frontier 3 Point mounted Poly Spreader, I realized that I had made a mistake in giving away the old pull behind spreader. I began considering how I was going to proceed and after the fall fertilizer application, I had the winter to consider my next step. I have been considering some modifications to the Frontier spreader and also mounting an electric actuator possibly with a remote control for the flow control. Yesterday, I ended up purchasing a new spreader, just like the one which I had given away. The great news is that the previously very good product has evolved and gotten even better. Here is the new spreader.
Place of Purchase - Family Farm and Home, a Michigan based comprehensive home and farm supply store .
Price - Retail price was $199, I bought it on sale for $169.
Crazy Fact - In researching the spreader and the brand Master Rancher, I happened to see where these identical spreaders sold on Ebay in the last few days and closed with the final price being $327.40 each. But it did include "free shipping" and the packaged weight is 55lbs. YIKES, someone cut a fat hog on that Ebay sale.......selling those same spreaders for nearly double of the sale price. It pays to shop around and not assume that Ebay is the best deal.........
Features include 200 lbs of material capacity (actually, I can get (5) 50lb bags of fertilizer in my spreader, but it is definitely full at that point....).., a nice cover to keep the moisture out of the hopper for those of us who prefer to spread some material which is the most effective when applied to moist grass conditions.
Capacity to treat lawns up to 1 acre in size without refilling the material hopper. Generally, the fertilizer product I use will provide coverage of 12,000 sq feet for every 50 lbs of fertilizer. So, this spreader at it's capacity is suited to properly cover 48,000 sq feet of area, which is 1.10 acres.
Brand of product - The spreader itself is labeled "Master Rancher, Established 1948"...... The actual Manufacturer of this Product is YTL International. They manufacture a vast line up of lawn and garden related equipment which overall, appear to be of very high quality. Check out their website.
YTL International – International Brands
Pluses I noticed when I reviewed their (the YTL, Interntional) website include;
- They do have spare parts and their product manuals on line.
- There is also a search and identifying tool to identify and locate their Authorized Service Centers.
- There are also assembly videos for most of their products directly on their home page.
- They seem to have a good website designed to be helpful to their end users, especially when compared to many of their competitors in this product category and market.
- These steps confirm that YTL is interested in actually making replacement parts available and being a reputable, long term brand in the marketplace, which is good to see.
According to their website, YTL International supplies a wide range of the Farm and Home stores and big box stores including Lowes. Here is a list of some of their major retailers where you can purchase the YTL, International Products.
Stores – YTL International
Improvements I noticed on this spreader over it's predecessor;
A. - the material screen, shown in the next photo, which floats inside the spreader so it is easy to remove. Great for keeping lumps and clumps out of the material agitator and from blocking the material drop. This is something which happens more often than I would have thought. My old spreader did not have this screen and I fabricated one, but it wasn't as nice and well made as the material screen in this new spreader.
B. - The fit and finish of the new spreader is better than the old model. Everything is painted, even the ends of the tubes. Small details include the foam handle on the material volume control handle. The paint finish is very good. The assembly is top notch and with decent quality hardware.
C. - The previous material "flow gauge" on the old spreader left a lot to be desired. Problem was it was far from "accurate" and the gate bent easily, etc. New system on this spreader. Now, the flow rate is pre set to a handful of drilled positions and the spring loaded handle makes this process easy.
D. - The hopper cover material seems better suited for being flexible, which means it's less likely to crack or tear. It also fits without being excessively stretched which would likely lead to it's early failure over time.
E. - There are grease fittings on the axles and the hubs, just as there should be. The old spreader had zirks on the axle, just not on the actual wheel hubs. Many spreaders in this price / size range have no grease zirks. The TSC had grease smeared on the ring and pinion by hand.
Competitive Products I considered included;
1. - The brands at TSC as well as the offerings at a few other retailers. The TSC spreader made by Agri Fab is very poorly designed and made. As I rolled it forward and backwards in the store, the cheesy gear drive set up used to drive the material spreader resembles something made from a stamped sheet metal ring gear and a pinion gear that was plus or minus 1/2 inch in tolerances. Here is a picture of the spreader and please note the ring gear to drive the material distribution.
2. - The TSC spreader bound up and locked the wheels up in the store when I moved the spreader back and forth just a few feet. Not only was the quality terrible, the assembly was even worse. The "agri Fab" 200 pound spreader is priced at $229, which is $60 more than what I paid for the spreader I actually purchased.
3. - The other retailers had spreaders which were too small or suffered from quality issues that eliminated them from consideration.
4. - The Deere product was nice, as one would expect from Deere, but more than double the price I paid for this spreader. Plus the Deere version didn't hold nearly as much material as does this spreader. The Deere unit I found held about 100 lbs where this spreader holds 200 plus, which is what it takes to cover my lawn.
The reason I gave my old spreader away was I bought a new 3 point Frontier spreader with my new tractor and other implements. So, I didn't think I would have a need for the tow behind spreader, but I was wrong.
My Frontier 3 point PTO driven spreader is HUGE in size and capacity and takes up too much room and also throws the material about 50 feet, which makes using it on places in my landscaping and lawn very difficult. The Frontier Spreader is my only regret in my purchase of my tractor and implements. There are also some issues with the Frontier spreader which had I known, I wouldn't have bought it. But that's for another thread.....If someone is interested in a once used Frontier POLY 3 point spreader that is PTO shaft driven and you will pick it up from me, send me a PM and let's see if we can't make a deal........
This Pull Behind Spreader has Quality in the product, it's design and even it's packaging. Check out the hardware which came with this spreader and how it is packaged and labeled. The back side of the package is even designed so you can push the items through the pre cut die marks in the cardboard backing. The size, quantity and description of each item is very clear.
They even included two "wrenches" for those "tool challenged" home owners who might not either have their tools organized enough they can locate them when needed or they don't own metric tools (I have heard it happens to some, I haven't personally met any yet.......but I know these people are out there......)
I am VERY IMPRESSED that someone actually took the effort to design and utilize this fasteners inventory card in their product, instead of the often misused plastic bag with a hole in it..........These little details really make a difference in the experience the customer has with the product line up.
This way of providing the hardware tells me the company cares about their customer and they are willing to spend a tiny bit of money to present the hardware needed for assembly in a logical, well labeled and orderly fashion. Very well done, YTL, the difference is often truly in the details and you nailed this one......
I really like it when a company "Gets It" and pays attention to their product and especially the small details which prove those selling the spreader have actually used it themselves. Buying this spreader (again) It's like a good friend has been returned to me, one I can count on and is dependable and who gives me exactly what I expect from them........
Unfortunately, Not Made in America, but not made in China, either!
This spreader is made in Vietnam. I happen to know that Vietnam has (in general) made great gains in improving their production and making a quality item. This spreader confirms the impressive improvement in quality is items manufactured in Vietnam as compared to just a few years ago. Personally, I would prefer made in the USA but if I can't have that, I would prefer Vietnam over China everyday of the week and thrice on the weekends............
Summary, if you need a tow behind Fertilizer Spreader, consider this product line up. If you need a spreader which can handle 200 pounds of material, give this spreader a careful look. The previous version of this spreader served me very well over the last many years (more than 10 years, less than 20 years) and based upon the improvements and enhancements, I think this new spreader should exceed the results of my last spreader from this company.