When selecting a personal pick-up you can be forgiven for adding a few bells and whistles that don’t provide a direct economic benefit. But good farm managers can’t afford to carry that idea too far when making business decisions. Every dollar invested in grain production equipment needs to pay a dividend.
Choosing farm machinery that can get the job done economically and efficiently is critical. With spraying equipment, though, that can be a tall order for small and medium-sized producers.
A self-propelled (SP) high-clearance sprayer is a machine that some growers should consider for their farming operations. But it’s expensive unless you can spread the cost over a lot of acres. An alternative is to rely on custom operators. That may not be ideal, either. Applying herbicides or fungicides at the wrong time is just wasting money, and custom operators aren’t always available right when you need them.
A pull-type (PT) high-clearance sprayer is the ideal compromise for many operations. These units offer good ground clearance, the reliability of a new machine, and freedom from dependence on custom operators. And they come at only a fraction of the cost of an SP model.
But lower cost isn’t the only advantage. PT high-clearance sprayers like Farm King’s model 1600 offer an impressive 1,600-gallon product tank; considerably larger than you’ll find on most SP models. That means less time spent loading and mixing, and more time spraying crops.
That big tank on the Farm King 1600 is designed for maximum efficiency. “The long sloping ultra-deep sump ensures complete drainage of crop protection products while maintaining a flooded pump condition, even on side hills.” says Tony Fath, a product specialist with Buhler Industries, manufacturer of the Farm King line.
The three Farm King PT high-clearance sprayers offer 850, 1,200 and 1,600 gallon tank capacities.
Tractors represent a large investment, so keeping them busy makes sense. PT sprayers help you do this. They also avoid having to transfer GPS equipment between machines, which involves downtime. “Typically, farmers use their planter tractor to pull the sprayer, providing efficient use of guidance and auto steer components for both operations,” says Fath.
The reduced maintenance costs of a Farm King PT model add to the savings, especially if you’re considering a used SP sprayer as an alternative. Expensive driveline repairs are always a possibility with these machines, even those that look good sitting on a dealer’s lot. Investing in a new Farm King is the better way to keep costs to a bare minimum — something that will make any farm accountant smile.
Field speeds with a PT model may be a little lower than with its SP cousin, but larger tank capacity can partly offset that with fewer refilling stops. And selecting a Farm King PT with the right options will keep things moving quickly.
For example, the 850, 1200 and 1600 models all offer rubber torsion (Henschen) suspension systems on their booms. That improves stability at higher speed, or in rough field conditions that might be encountered in old hay fields when terminating grass-legume stands in a field rotation plan.
“The patented rubber torsion suspension provides a silky smooth boom ride regardless of boom height,” adds Fath.
The Farm King PTs also make it easy to quickly change application rates. Each model comes standard with -inch diaphragm triple nozzle bodies on 20-inch row spacings. And to minimize nozzle plugging, each boom is equipped with in-line strainers.
To control product flow, Farm King sprayers use one of the most trusted controllers in the industry. The Raven 450 variable rate controller combined with Banjo electric boom control ball valves is simple and effective.
A tube-style boom design is standard on all Farm King PT sprayers. It provides strength and durability to minimize the risk of damage even in rough conditions.
All these features provide the ability and advanced technology to treat a lot of acres. So large-scale farmers who need to expand their spraying capacity can look at Farm King PT high-clearance sprayers as a viable alternative to buying a second SP model.
“With today’s crop protection products, timing has never been more critical,” says Fath. “Adding a PT high-clearance sprayer to an operation with a SP model can be very effective strategy when mother nature narrows the application window.”
Sprayers typically see most use early in the season, both before seeding and when crops are still young. So conventional and high-clearance pull-type models can provide a lower-cost method of covering extra ground in the spring when the ability to straddle tall stands isn’t required. That makes sprayers like Farm King’s PT models a valuable addition to any size of farming operation. Teaming an SP model and a Farm King PT sprayer is an economical way to expand spraying capacity in both young and maturing crops, with the lowest possible investment.
“It’s a great alternative to buying a second SP sprayer and having another power unit sitting idle 11 months of the year,” adds Fath.
Agricultural consultants are quick to point out that no two farms are exactly alike, so there is no black and white formula for calculating the best spray equipment package for any individual farming operation. One question, though, is always the same: how can you get the job done on time at the lowest cost?
Farm King’s PT high-clearance sprayers have the ability to handle most application tasks with an impressively low investment, and do it efficiently. That makes them worth a look for any operation of any size.