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Buyers’ Guide: ATV Sprayers
It’s easy to ignore waterhemp that sprouts in a flooded pothole after a summer cloudburst. Ditto for scattered Canada thistles that infest a pasture or stubborn leafy spurge infestations in a ditch.
Enter ATV sprayers. They work well for those hard-to-spray areas like field borders, pastures, potholes, road ditches, fence lines, or wooded areas.
ATV sprayers come in a variety of models designed to fit individual situations. Following are buying considerations.
- Frequency of use. Spraying once a week requires a more durable sprayer than one that’s used once or twice annually, says Matthew Firth, Enduraplas marketing manager.
- Price. Generally, the more that is paid for an ATV sprayer, the higher quality that results. Prices can widely vary, but more expensive ones will last longer, says Katie Jo Miller, CropCare marketing project manager. If you expect you’re going to spray frequently, Miller advises shopping for a unit with a sturdy boom, durable spray handgun, and a manufacturer’s warranty.
- Weed species and chemical type. Knowing weed species helps peg what type of pressure will be required of a pump and nozzle type on a spray wand and boom, says Firth. The pump and plumbing must have the correct seals to curb corrosion, he says. “Know which chemicals you will run through it,” says Jon Kulzer, customer sales rep for Master Manufacturing. Some chemicals are more corrosive than others. Sprayers with more durable components will stand up to more corrosive chemicals than less-corrosive ones.
- Your ATV. “Know what size ATV you own and how you want to mount the ATV sprayer,” says Miller. “You can consider sprayers that mount on the back of the ATV or small tow-behind trailer options.”
- Spraying terrain. Standard booms allow for a more targeted application, and they work well on flat terrain. “You want even coverage and the boom to be at the same height in all locations,” says Miller. Level terrain doesn’t always occur. Enter boomless nozzles. “They are perfect for pasture conditions or when you have lots of rough and rocky terrain,” Miller notes. “They let you enter an area that you can’t get into with a boom.”
Also consider these ATV sprayer features.
- Pumps. They have different output capabilities. “Know your application rates and find a pump with the specs that meet your needs,” says Miller.
- Drainable tanks. If your ATV doesn’t have this feature, it will be hard to clean out the tank when changing chemical types. A sloped tank base helps ensure 100% drainage, says Firth.
- ATV seat pressure control. Frequent spraying can be made easier with this feature that allows you to make sprayer pressure changes right from the seat, says Firth.
- Multiple sprayer attachments. A sprayer capable of handling several boom attachments is handy, says Firth. This can enable you to use a spray wand in tight places and a boom in more spacious circumstances.
- Solid-color tank. A clear tank and sunshine are a recipe for algae growth. A solid tank color curbs this, says Firth.
- Liftability. Forkable points can eliminate a wrestling match with an ATV spray tank while lifting it in and out of your utility vehicle bed, says Firth.
Boomed sprayers have several options.
- Steel boom. Firth says his firm’s steel boom is its most popular sprayer attachment; its nozzle placement eliminates the threat of broken spray tips. Meanwhile, breakaway booms can swing back into place if they hit an obstacle.
- Poly boom. Enduraplas’ poly boom is durable and comes with breakaway booms.
- Versatile boom. Firth says a versatile boom works in short-space situations when you want large spray boom performance and variable spray patterns. A sprayer attachment from Enduraplas has a total width of 4 feet, but it has a spray pattern that covers a 16-foot swath. The boom is equipped with in-line shutoff valves to the nozzles that lets you spray with seven different patterns.