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Spray that pays

01/25/2011 @ 2:28pm

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.

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.

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