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Spray that pays

If you’re ready to take the
leap and purchase a self-propelled sprayer, there are a few things you should
know. Once you assess what you need and why you need it, you’ll be better
equipped to get the most out of your investment. 

“The first things to look at
are your purpose in buying a sprayer and the targeted application,” says Doug
Stockwell, field marketing specialist, AGCO Application Equipment. “We’ve seen
a growing number of farmers who are buying their own sprayers to ensure timely
application of crop-protection products. They’re also gaining control of input
costs, which puts a collar around their expenses.”

Hagie Manufacturing’s Jim
Williams says, “Sure, you can do preemergence applications and postemergence
applications, but what about insecticide application to control aphids or
fungicide application? Some self-propelled sprayers have the ability to be used
for other applications like late nitrogen applications and seed corn
detasseling.”

Williams notes that when it
comes to features, you probably will look at boom size and tank capacity first.

“You will try to match up
the boom with your planter size to drive on the same tracks as the tractor.
Along with the width, you will look at nozzle spacing, especially if you are
thinking about doing any drop-nozzle work,” says Williams.

Technology is becoming very
popular in self-propelled sprayers. Whether it’s a lightbar, rate controller
upgrade, boom height control, or automatic shutoff, all of these options can
increase the efficiency of the application and save money.

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Field performance is another
big feature. “The best way to see how a machine will perform is to demo it in
your field,” recommends Williams.

On The Finance Side

Budget is another factor to
consider. “Light, self-propelled sprayers center on simplicity, which results
in lower operating and maintenance costs and reduced fuel consumption,” says
Stockwell. “Moreover, sprayers in this category carry less weight than larger
hydrostatic machines and lessen compaction.”

He adds that other points to
think about are the low cost of sprayer ownership, its return on investment,
its resale value, and its contributions to operational efficiency,
productivity, and profit.

“If you are considering a
used sprayer, it may cause you to look at a sprayer with more or less hours
that may or may not need repairs before going to the field,” says Williams.
“New or used, if you aren’t planning on keeping it long, you need to consider
what the resale value of a machine is. Some machines will hold value longer
than others.”

Another huge factor is
service. “Some dealer locations don’t have qualified repair technicians to work
on sprayers or don’t carry or stock parts for sprayers,” says Williams. “In
some cases, you may get better service from a dealership 100 miles away than
you do from the one across the street.”

“Addressing your field
application needs goes a long way to easing the decision-making process,” says
Stockwell. “Self-propelled sprayers can be a great option if you don’t want to
overload your balance sheet or sacrifice features, technology, and efficiency.” 

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