“If I have 10 fields
where I needed a
certain number of grams of a product
for each field, I can call the dealer, and let them know what I need. When
I pick it up it is pre-measured and
pre-labeled as to
the product, the grams and the size of the field.”
Saskatchewan farmer Rick Bachman describes DuPont’s new PrecisonPac herbicide dispensing system as another step in precision farming. If Bachman needs chemical for a 95-acre field or 130-acre field, he can stop at the Viterra farm services centre in Wilkie and pick up a reusable plastic containter that has the correct amount of herbicide measured out specifically for those fields.
“Particularly when you have those odd ball acres, you can just pickup the pre-measured chemicals, put it in the sprayer tank and you’re ready to go,” says Bachman who along with his brother and their respective families crop about 3,000 acres of wheat, canola and pulse crops. “It is a very precise system. There is no measuring, no dealing with a bunch of packaging and half boxes of this or that. You get what you need and that’s it.”
Bachman is one of the first producers in Western Canada to use the PrecisonPac system, which is just being made available to the wider Prairie region this year. The system was tested in a pilot project by about 30 DuPont retailers in 2008, and will be available through about 100 agri-service centres across Western Canada for 2009, explains Scott Hollick with DuPont.
Rather than sell a prepared jug or box of chemical that treats 20 or 40 or 60 acres per container (those package sizes are still available), DuPont’s PrecisionPac system dispenses the exact combination of products you need for whatever size field you want to treat.
Only a limited number of herbicides are available through Precison Pac. At the Wilkie outlet, for example, Bachman could only get Refine and Express Solumax (granular) herbicides. Each system can dispense up to six dry flowable products. Initially PrecisonPac will carry DuPont Solumax herbicides, although the company is working with manufacturers of other dry flowable herbicides to add their products to herbicide selection.
“The major benefits are the convenience factor and the fact that this is a precise system,” says Bachman. “Before, if I had
a 90-acre field and I had two 40-acre containers of herbicide, the tendency would be to try and stretch it out rather than open another package for 10 acres. Or, if I had a little chemical left over in the sprayer, the tendency might be to apply a little extra to get rid of it.”
Bachman often uses Express in a tank mix with glyphosate for a pre-seeding burn off, while he tank mixes Refine with Horizon for in-crop weed control in cereals.
“Another nice part about it is that I can buy the herbicides I need on a bulk basis,” he says. “I can figure out what I need for year and let the retailer know how I need it packaged. If I have 10 fields where I needed a certain number of grams of a product for each field, I can call the dealer, and let them know what I need. When I pick it up is pre-measured and pre-labeled as to the product, the grams and the size of the field.”
With Refine, for example, he empties the package for a 95-acre field in the sprayer tank, adds the amount of Horizon he’ll need and away he goes.
Bachman says the precision chemical dispensing system reflects changes throughout the ag industry in terms of farm size, equipment size and a move toward bulk packaging of products. “Years ago everyone had a sprayer with a 400 gallon tank and they sprayed at 10 gallons of water per acre and they did 40 acres, but everything changes,” says Bachman. “I have a RoGator 1074 sprayer with a 1,080-gallon tank, and I usually spray at five gallons so it can do 216 acres. That tank size doesn’t match 40-acre packaging.”
Being able to use the PrecisionPac pre-measured, pre-labeled herbicides makes it easier, with less risk of error if more than one person is involved in field spraying.
“And it is nice too that you don’t have a bunch of packaging to get rid of,” says Bachman. “You put a $20 deposit on a reusable plastic jug. You carry that with you to the field, use the product and then bring the container back for the next order.”
Lee Hart is field editor of Grainews, based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]