Mark Bee, sales manager with Bestway Ag, said by using a tractor already in place on farms and dairies, using a pull-type sprayer cuts input costs, rather than having another note to pay off for a self-propelled unit. “And you can pull more gallons through the field, saving you fill-up time,” he said. Bestway products have 1,000- to 1,850-gallon capacities. In addition, he said with the V-ride system the operator “can drive over a railroad track with a cup of water on the boom and it doesn’t spill. I saw it with my own eyes.”
Cody Fast, marketing director and territory salesman with Fast Sprayer, said pull-type sprayers achieve lower cost of operation per acre with less up-front investment and have significantly less maintenance and repair risk – as self-propelled units have wheel motors, an added drivetrain and more electronics. With larger tank capacities (1,800- and 2,400-gallon tanks), not only can operators cover more acres between fills, but it also means spending less time mixing chemical, he said.
“We’ve seen a rising trend in bigger tanks over the last five years,” Fast said. “More pre-emerge nitrogen is being spread. I do all of the pre-emerge spraying on our farm, and during planting time, there aren’t a lot of people standing around to deliver chemical to fill tanks,” he said. This drives interest in having bigger tanks that require fewer fills.
Fast also said pull-type sprayers significantly reduce compaction, even with twice the tank capacity as self-propelled units. “In wet years, windows for spraying are even more narrow, so we can cover more acres on a more timely basis,” he said. He added that ISOBUS compatibility with nearly every platform farmers utilize makes pull-type sprayers more attractive than ever.
Jeremy Hughes, product manager with Horsch, said it’s not just American markets that have seen the increase in pull-type sprayers but the global market as well. Pull-type to self-propelled ownership ratios in European countries are as below:
- Germany = 10-to-1
- France = 5-to-1
- UK = 2.5-to-1
- Ukraine = 1-to-1
- Romania = 1-to-1
- Hungary = 10-to-1
“Not that many years ago the ratios were inverted,” Hughes said. “With tighter margins, and producers paying attention to soil health, things may change – moving away from self-propelled units toward pull-type.”
Hughes said in 70% of major crops, pull-type sprayers can be used. The biggest factor for using self-propelled units is when used in corn, but he added, “When is high clearance truly needed in corn production?”
Hughes said he believes several factors have contributed to the pull-type sprayer trend increase: “We’ve seen economics change, gained efficiencies, changes in chemistry, changes in crop management and rotations, agility in the field and using current farm horsepower.”
He said sitting on two ends of the spray application seesaw are concerns for mitigating drift versus achieving maximum coverage. With higher booms (self-propelled sprayers), the chemical is further away from the target. “Every year, we get increased ground speed [with self-propelled units] and raising booms up, but we’re hitting fewer targets – and now we’re fighting drift issues and missed areas,” he said.
PHOTO: Equipment manufacturers say pull-type sprayers are commanding more attention in the marketplace as producers look to cut costs. Photo by Getty Images.
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