Customer Spotlight: Meet the Brorman Family

It takes a lot of determination and passion to be a successful farmer in the Texas panhandle, and we’ve found these qualities to be true in the Brorman household. Greg Brorman and his family live in Deaf Smith County where conditions are extreme and neighbors are scarce. The county area is 4,000 square kilometers (a little larger than the state of Rhode Island) with an average of five people per square kilometer. The area typically sees less than 50 centimeters of annual rainfall and temperatures ranging from -30 to 46 degrees Celsius so it’s no surprise there’s usually more beef production than crops.

But, for the farmers that commit to planting, equipment shopping is about getting the most for their dollar and care less about the color of their machine. Greg Brorman purchased his first Apache in 2009 and has owned one ever since. His family and neighbors immediately took notice. To date, there are now five members of the Brorman family who own an Apache and a total of 13 Apache sprayers in the county. In fact, they fit right in — 4,800 liter tanks and 40 meter booms are normal where fields are sometimes 2.5 kilometers long.

“There are still guys running Deere and Case, but a lot of guys around here have gone to Apache because of the economics of it – the price – you can get an Apache much easier than a Deere or Case and they all do the same job,” Brorman said. “Plus, the mechanics of the Apache are really simple.”

So, to the Brorman’s we salute you. We are thankful and proud to be able to call you Apache customers and we look forward to keeping you in economical, red iron for the years to come.

– Matt Hays, Equipment Technologies CEO

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Ask the Specialists: What is Raven Hawkeye™?

What Is Raven Hawkeye blog graphic

We work continuously to create programs and form partnerships to ensure all Apache sprayer owners have access to the latest precision technology. As a trusted and celebrated brand in the precision farming industry, Raven Applied Technology has created yet another game-changing solution with the invention of the Raven Hawkeye™ pressure-based spray nozzle control system.

“With the Hawkeye™ system our customers are able to spray more acres per day, by adjusting pressure and droplet size to compensate for wind speed and other weather conditions,” said Gary Grant, Parts Manager for Ohio Valley Ag., LLC.

Hawkeye is available as an option for all new Apache sprayers. The system is integrated with Raven’s Viper® 4 field computer and other ISOBUS-compatible terminals to provide more precise droplet sizes and consistent spray patterns from the boom to the field, thereby reducing spray drift. Hawkeye comes with turn compensation technology, adding even more precision to spray operations, individual valve diagnostics and sectional shutoff. The system is designed for easy installation and operation.

“We love this technology,” Grant said. “This system can provide a much wider window of opportunity for eliminating weed pressure at a stage when weeds are more susceptible to chemical eradication.”

Advantages:

  • Turn Compensation — Automated nozzle-by-nozzle adjustment provides even distribution along the entire boom through turns.
  • Pressure Adjustments — Adjustable pressure on the fly, including two preset pressures.
  • Full Integration — Raven Hawkeye is fully integrated with machine application control systems.
  • Simplicity — Setup and calibration is simple and clean.

With Hawkeye, operators can maximize their investment in application products and eliminate over-application by controlling distribution rates down to individual spray nozzles.

Contact your Apache dealer for more information about adding Hawkeye to your sprayer!


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What to Do When Pressure Drops

What To Do When Pressure Drops Blog Graphic

A pressure drop in your Apache sprayer can really put a kink in proper spray coverage. When this happens, it’s likely due to a chemical sediment build up clogging the strainers in the nozzle tips. Apache sprayers are equipped with the solution. To help keep nozzle tips from becoming blocked, each boom section includes a 1-inch strainer with a 50-mesh screen and a 2-inch full-port Banjo® main product strainer with a 50-mesh screen.

“If the 2-inch strainers become clogged the boom pressure could drop, if the 1-inch section strainers become clogged the boom pressure could increase,” said Gary Grant, Ohio Valley Ag Equipment Specialist. “Both could result in poor spray pattern and inaccurate application rate problems. Anytime you recognize a pressure change in your normal operating range, strainer clogs or other blockage factors need to be addressed immediately.”

If chemical build up still occurs, it’s time to remove the strainers and clean them. This is done by soaking the strainers in a large bucket filled with water and a small amount of dishwashing liquid for around 20 minutes. Most of the sediment will dissolve. What doesn’t dissolve can be scrubbed away with a cleaning brush. To prevent this problem from happening in the future, run the rinse tank on the sprayer to clean out the booms if you think the sprayer will be sitting idle for two (or more) days. If your sprayer is parked for a longer period of time, run the agitation in the tank to keep the tank mix stirred.

Quick Tips for Nozzle Care

  • Run the rinse tank to clean booms if there has been significant downtime between sprays.
  • Run the tank agitation function if the sprayer has been idle for several days.
  • Remove and clean strainers with dishwashing liquid and water if clogs persist.

For questions and concerns about your Apache sprayer pressure, please do not hesitate to contact your Apache dealer for assistance. Want to learn more about nozzle selection for your Apache? Read more.

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Simpson Farm Enterprises, Inc. Expands with Fifth Apache Dealer Location

New Location Grand Island, Nebraska

Simpson Farm Enterprises, Inc. has announced it will be opening a fifth Apache Sprayers dealership location in Grand Island, Nebraska, to provide service and sales to the surrounding region. The new dealership is set to open in the spring of 2017.

“Simpson Farm has been representing Apache Sprayers for years, so when we saw the opportunity to serve a large base of existing Apache owners in Nebraska we jumped at the chance,” said Jed Simpson, company president. “Our goal is to provide outstanding sales and service support to the state’s agriculture community.”

“The Simpson Farm team has been a trusted Apache dealer and service provider for nearly 20 years,” said Equipment Technologies CEO, Matt Hays. “We could not be more confident in their decision to expand. We’re eager to see what is in store for the new Grand Island dealership.”

Simpson Farm has been in the agricultural applications business for over 35 years. Company founder, Virgil Simpson became interested in no-till farming in the early 1970s and designed a special pull-type sprayer to improve the practice. Soon his neighbors were asking him to build sprayers for their operation and Simpson Farm Enterprises, Inc. was born.

“My brother Jay and I are the third generation to run the business,” Simpson said. “Throughout the years, Simpson Farm Enterprises has grown from selling one pull-type sprayer in our Ransom, Kansas, dealership to becoming a world-renowned dealer for several top-name brands.”

The Simpson Farm Enterprises team has been selling and servicing the Apache Sprayer line since 1998 in their four Kansas dealerships located in Ransom, Great Bend, Hays and Beloit.

“With our already knowledgeable and established team, we will be able to provide enhanced service and support at the Grand Island dealership,” Simpson said.

For more information on Simpson Farm Enterprises products and services, visit www.SimpsonFarm.com.

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Avoid Spray Drift — 5 Things To Consider

Apache Sprayers Avoid Spray Drift

Avoiding spray drift to ensure a more efficient application is a constant battle — but it’s a battle worth fighting. Controlling spray drift not only saves the environment, but your pocketbook too. After all, those plumes of wasted herbicide bring more problems than increased input costs including government fines and crop damage.

“Spray drift needs to be minimized to avoid any crop injury and adverse effects on areas outside the spray target area,” said Dallas Peterson, Department of Agronomy professor at Kansas State University. “Minimizing spray drift is not only important from an economic and legal standpoint, but also from a public relations standpoint.”

To get the most out of your applications this spring, here are five tips to help lower your risk of spray drift:

1. SELECT THE RIGHT NOZZLE FOR YOUR APPLICATION

One of the most important tips includes choosing the right nozzle based on your application, rate of application and speed. Refer to your spray nozzle’s manufacturer chart to help with the selection and read the label of each chemical to learn proper resistance specifications.

(To learn more about selecting the best nozzle for your application, refer to our white paper, Make Your Application Count: Sprayer Nozzle Selection.)

2. USE AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT OF PRESSURE FOR YOUR NOZZLE SELECTION

The smaller the droplet, the greater odds of creating drift. In addition, smaller droplets are created by higher spray pressures. Pressure shouldn’t exceed 40 psi.

“Smaller spray droplets are more susceptible to movement by wind, especially the very fine droplets that can stay suspended longer and moved longer distances,” Peterson said. “The appropriate spray pressure is critical to produce a good spray pattern and droplet size. Increasing spray pressure reduces spray droplet size and increases the number of fine spray droplet particles that are most susceptible to spray drift. The appropriate spray pressure to optimize performance and minimize drift will depend on the type of spray tip being utilized.”

3. DRIVE AT THE SPEED YOU ARE CALIBRATED FOR

After selecting the nozzle you want to use and the best pressure for your desired application rate, be aware of your speed. By slowing down or speeding up, you will change the application rate if you don’t adjust your pressure. To maintain application rate per acre, you need to increase your pressure if you increase your speed.

For more information about speed while spraying, read “Speed + Spraying — What Growers Need to Know.”

4. BE AWARE OF BOOM HEIGHT

A boom too high off the soil can contribute to drifting, especially in windy conditions. The higher your booms are set, the longer the distance each droplet has to fall, which gives your application more time to travel off path before reaching the desired location.

Ideally, boom height and row spacing should be a 1:1 ratio. So, for example if you have 20-inch row spacing, then booms should be set at 20 inches.

5. WATCH FOR CHANGES IN WEATHER

High winds can increase your chances for spray drift, but you should also try to avoid humid conditions as well. According to Iowa State University, warmer temperatures paired with low humidity levels will cause droplets to evaporate faster and contribute to vapor drift.

“There is no absolute right answer to the question regarding when is it too windy to spray,” Peterson said. “Labels will provide maximum wind speeds that can’t be exceeded to remain in compliance with the label. However, it still may be too windy to safely spray at lower wind speeds if a highly susceptible crop is downwind of the application. In that situation, the only safe time to spray is when the wind is in the opposite direction.”

Check out the Apache Blog for more up-to-date application tips and information.

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Speed + Spraying — What Growers Need to Know

Apache Sprayers Spray Speed

The faster you drive your Apache sprayer, the more area you cover — right? Today’s self-propelled sprayers allow growers to apply agriculture chemicals faster than ever before, but is there a limit? Equipment Technologies Senior Application Specialist, Jeremy Hurt says yes. “Even with the continuous innovations in sprayer technology, it’s still important for growers to pay special attention to the relationship between travel speed, pressure, nozzle choice and the desired output per acre,” Hurt said.

So, what happens when we speed up? This is important to know, because your choice of speed travel requires an understanding of how the chemicals are delivered to the target.

Fast-moving air does three things to the spray distribution:

  1. It shears the spray, making it a finer mist.
  2. It scrubs the smallest droplets from the spray pattern.
  3. It creates negative pressure behind the pattern sucking fine spray droplets into the sprayer’s wake.

All three effects combined create the dreaded spray plume hanging behind the boom. The faster the movement, the larger portion of your spray pattern will end up in plume — and ultimately, in the wind. While nozzle choice and boom height can counteract some of these effects, it’s much easier to just slow down.

“How do you know when you’re going too fast?” Hurt said. “If you’re uncomfortable in the cab riding across a field, your machine is probably uncomfortable as well. If you’re bouncing around in the cab you probably need to slow down a little bit.”

In terms of miles per hour, the most common application speed ranges between 10-16 mph for self-propelled sprayers. Any faster and a grower risks not achieving uniform coverage, or creating spray drift.

“Look at your boom wings as you’re traveling across a field,” Hurt said. “Are they really active and moving around? If they are, that could indicate the speed you’re going is too fast for the field you’re driving across. Apache Sprayers have very stable booms that keep movement to a minimum.”

Bottom line: Don’t rely on the rate-controller for every speed adjustment—be mindful of that speed!

 

 

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Apache Sprayers Power Up With Cummins QSB6.7 Engines

In 2016, Equipment Technologies announced four new models in their Apache 30 Series self-propelled sprayers line. With Cummins QSB6.7 Tier 4 Final engines powering all four models, these sprayers boast greater horsepower while consuming less fuel and providing a steadier ride than previous models.

“Our 2016 models raise the bar for quality and value,” said Matt Hays, Chief Executive Officer of Equipment Technologies, the Apache manufacturer. “We believe that growers will like what we’ve done, and will enjoy greater cost savings and profitability with these new machines.”

According to Equipment Technologies, the upgrades to the Apache sprayers begin under the hood, where the Cummins 6.7-liter Tier 4 Final engines “generate higher horsepower while stretching fuel further than their 20-Series predecessors.”

The 30-Series 6.7-liter-powered lineup consists of the AS730, rated at 173 hp (129 kW); the AS1030, rated at 225 hp (168 kW); the AS1230, rated at 260 hp (194 kW); and the AS1230 XP, rated at 300 hp (224 kW).

The QSB6.7 Tier 4 Final engine is one of the most popular and versatile engines ever built by Cummins. With features such as a High-Pressure Common-Rail (HPCR) fuel system, cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC)/Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) ultra-low-emissions systems, it is no surprise that the Apache sprayers are seeing 5 percent to 20 percent better fuel efficiency than their 20-Series predecessors.

“Cummins is always looking for ways to help our customers succeed,” said Bruce Farrar, Cummins Industrial Sales Manager. “We are happy that our Tier 4 Final QSB6.7 is able to help Apache customers operate with more power and efficiency.”

 

 

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Out of Options — Tips for Spraying a Wet Field

You’ve waited and waited for your wet field to dry, but it hasn’t. Now weeds are starting to take up residence in your crops. Do you risk soil compaction by bringing in your self-propelled sprayer to apply herbicides, or keep holding out for better field conditions? There’s no easy answer, said Jeremy Hurt, Senior Application Specialist for ET Works.

Apache Sprayer in Wet Field

Excessive spring and early summer rain in certain parts of the United States and Canada often leave growers with this difficult choice. If weed growth has overtaken a crop and a grower needs to spray a field, there are ways to minimize crop and soil damage.

“One of the first things you’ll want to do is go with flotation tires,” Hurt said. “You’ll need to choose between semi-, full floats or duals.”

Flotation tires are usually rear-mounted, while semi- or full floats are wider than conventional farm tires and spread the weight of the sprayer over a larger area to reduce compaction on the soil. Duals are twin sets of narrower tires mounted on the same axle — together they create a weight dispersion similar to floats.

“I think float tires probably do a little bit better in wet conditions than duals, even though you’ve got almost the same width,” Hurt said. “The bigger semi- or full float tires are harder to put on and take off compared to duals, where you just add another tire to each side. But with duals, you’ll be a little wider and that makes transportation on roads a little tougher. And duals are not set up for crop rows, so you’ll have two sets of wheel tracks, which could cause crop damage.”

Hurt also recommends making sure your sprayer’s wet system is operating properly before making applications in soggy fields. This will minimize the time the machine is in the field by preventing the need for a respray in areas that received insufficient herbicide on previous passes.“The

“The booms should be clean so you get the right spray pressure,” Hurt said. “Check the nozzle strainers before you go out. If they are clogged, remove any chemical sediment that might have built up.”

Finally, when operating a sprayer in wet fields, a grower must be decisive.

“If you come to a large wet area, you need to commit to either going through it or driving around it,” Hurt said. “You can’t go halfway and change your mind. That’s how sprayers get stuck.”

While he never recommends driving a sprayer on muddy fields, Hurt said there are times when weeds pose a greater threat than machinery.

“I’ve had a field of soybeans where I saw more grass and weeds than I saw beans,” Hurt said. “I knew we had to get in there and spray.”

Compared to heavier hydrostat-type sprayers, the lighter weight and mechanical drive of an Apache Sprayer will make them less likely to bog down in mud and cause subsequent soil compaction. With Apache’s unique construction, 70 percent of the sprayer’s weight resides over the rear tires while transferring 90 percent of its horsepower directly to the ground.

Need more proof of Apache’s unmatched traction and Power-to-the-GroundTM technology? Check out our Apache YouTube channel for more testimonials and demo videos.

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Apache Sprayers Featured on Crain’s

This article originally appeared on Crains.com.

Agricultural applications fuel Indiana’s push for autonomous car technology

Self-driving vehicle technology, like Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot feature, is rolling out like science fiction in suburbia.

But down on the farm, such technology is as dated as a Blackberry.

For years, farmers ordering tractors and other rolling farm conveyances have been able to check the box for auto-steering and auto-sensing options. Those technologies guide tractors, combines and sprayer vehicles using the same global positioning signals that Google uses in its bubble-shaped autonomous car prototypes.

Of course, farms have an advantage in that they’re typically private land – not city streets where mistakes could be costly. As such, they’ve been the perfect proving ground for the technology.

“We’ve actually offered auto-steering for 10 years or so,” said Kevin Covey, general manager of product support at Mooresville, Ind.-based ET Works, which calls itself the largest maker of mechanical drive sprayers in the world.

Larger versions of ET Works’ Apache-brand sprayer vehicles have a chassis resembling that of a monster truck, only with fancy cabs and long sprayer booms. Some weigh 20,300 pounds and sell for more than $300,000. With Cummins engines and ZF transmissions, these are brutes.

Touted for productivity

ET Works may now be the only Indiana-based manufacturer of semi-autonomous vehicles. Indianapolis-based Precise Path Robotics, a self-driving lawn mower company co-founded by serial entrepreneur Scott Jones, was purchased in 2015 by Cleveland-based MTD Products, parent of the Cub Cadet line.

In the case of ET Works, it doesn’t make the brains of the auto-steering devices that can steer the machines through rows without creating crop carnage. ET Works sources GPS-guided auto-steering computers from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Trimble Inc. The technology connects to steering shafts via electrical-hydraulic coupling.

Some farmers shell out $9,000 for the auto-steering option on the Apache vehicles to reduce the fatigue of driving precisely through fields for hours on end. They also buy it because precise auto-steering can reduce the odds of wasting chemical by overlapping other rows.

The technology has its limits, however. The operator must first drive the boundary line of the field so the computer can learn the line. It then steers by itself, but only up until the end of a row, where the driver takes over and lines it up for the next pass.

Current models don’t have auto-sensing technology that reacts to rocks or holes in the field.

“You have to steer around those yourself,” Covey said of the current offering.

 

Continue reading the full article on Crain’s…

 

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Apache Knows Best: Why We Choose Lucas Oil

There are many quality oil brands on the market for use in farm machinery, but at ET Works we recommend Lucas Oil products. Our brand loyalty is founded on proven results. In 2008, we conducted product comparison tests to assess the quality of oils available for use in Apache sprayers. Multiple oil samples were sent out to a lab including:

Ask the Specialists image with Lucas Oil

  • Hy-Gard Oil
  • Hy-Tran Oil
  • Rural King store-brand oil
  • Lucas Oil

Through our analysis, we found Lucas Oil products to be superior to the other brands. They were overall: better filtered, contained less water and demonstrated an overall longer life of use.

Our lab results indicated that Lucas Oil contained the least amount of water and debris when compared to oils offered by John Deere, Case IH and Rural King.

We value the reduced water in Lucas Oil because a higher water ratio is detrimental to our high-tech hydraulic system and can result in these parts working less efficiently. It can also cause oil sludge over time and lead to sticky valves that don’t function properly. For example, many of our fold systems are set up with an electric spool valve and this sludge would prevent the valve from moving freely and easily. Too much water also tends to require more frequent oil changes, which costs more over time.

We also found greater potential for longer usage between oil changes with Lucas Oil. Due to our findings, we believe Lucas Oil products are the best choice for Apache Sprayers.

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