Meet Eric Friesen, Apache’s New Canadian Regional Director

Meet Eric Friesen Graphic
The love of agriculture and farm equipment has never left Eric Friesen since his upbringing on a Saskatchewan family farm. Now, he’s parlaying that love of the farm and iron that enables farmers to get their jobs done into a new position with Equipment Technologies.

Friesen is the new Equipment Technologies Regional Director for Western Canada — encompassing British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. In his new role, he’s responsible for business development, parts and sprayer distribution and customer experience for both Apache Sprayers and
Bruin Sprayers.

The longtime farm equipment and machinery sales and service manager brings immense passion and industry experience to his position with Equipment Technologies. After his upbringing on a farm, during which he learned the basics of machinery maintenance and repair, he started working in the
construction sector during high school. That experience led to his apprenticeship as a heavy-duty machine technician and later as a truck maintenance technician.

Several maintenance certifications (diesel mechanics, ABS braking systems, air conditioning systems) later, he started his own business as a mobile repair technician and returned to the agriculture sector two years later in 2001. He later added truck inspection to his long list of mechanical services. Since then, he’s been active in managing agricultural and mechanical service businesses in southwestern Saskatchewan.

When he’s not providing mechanical services to area farmers, Friesen enjoys motorcycling, jet-skiing, camping and fishing, though “hanging out with my boys during football season” is also high on his list. The father of four also says he enjoys a warm-weather vacation during the cold Canadian winters with his wife of 21 years, Doreen, daughter Larissa and sons Jordan, Isaiah and Tyson.

Equipment Technologies CEO Matt Hays says Friesen’s combination of passion and decades in the machinery sales and service sector make him a huge asset to the company and most importantly, to its customers.

“We have known Eric for years, having watched his successful professional advancement and being impressed by his focus on taking good care of customers. He understands our products offer a very compelling value proposition and have enormous potential in Western Canada,” Hays says. “I feel lucky and am sure we could not have a better man representing us in the marketplace.”

Posted in Featured | Leave a comment

Ownership, Operating Costs Contribute to Machinery Return on Investment

Calculating ROI Header Graphic

Return on investment (ROI) is a way to measure the efficiency and performance of a specific asset based on its cost and value of its output. It’s an important measure of the financial performance of everything from a specific piece of machinery to an entire farm operation. Especially when economic times are tight, ROI is an important metric to watch to make sure you’re spending money wisely on any farm operation.

When calculating ROI for a piece of machinery like an Apache Sprayer, it’s essential to account for costs ranging from the fixed cost of initial purchase to variable operating costs. Then, compare those to the value of the machine and its function on the farm. The positive difference between costs and returned value represents the return on investment that’s an indicator of efficiency or overall profitability.

Costs of Ownership

A cost of ownership model is one good way to build toward a firm grasp on ROI. Ownership costs are the fixed costs that contribute to overall ROI, including interest, depreciation, taxes, insurance and machinery housing, according to former Iowa State University Extension economist William Edwards*.

How accurate of a figure you want to glean from cost analysis is dictated by the number of factors you examine in that model. With a sprayer, for example, some of the simpler ownership cost models use application acres, retail cost, length of ownership, operating costs and inputs, resale value and any potential other outsourcing costs to determine the total cost.

Based on 5,000 acres of coverage by a custom applicator at a rate of $6.00/acre, the total outsourcing cost is $30,000/year. With a retail price of just under $179,000 and an ownership period of five years, the annual cost to perform the same work with a new Apache Sprayer is just under $32,000/year. But, with a resale value after those five years of $131,000 and accounting for the savings of $150,000 in outsourcing costs for that same time period, it works out to a savings of just over $70,000. Application costs are just over $3.00/acre with an owned Apache Sprayer compared to $6.00/acre when outsourced to a custom applicator.

More complex modeling takes into account those and other variables including specific crops, indirect costs like timeliness and spot spraying, financing structures and depreciation.

“You can take into account the time-value of money (TVM), interest expenses and other things that will make sense to an accountant, but may not to the average consumer. For that person, it’s more about straight cashflow,” says Equipment Technologies Director of Dealer Operations Mike Flatt. “The more you can create consistent calculations on cost of ownership, and the more variables you can take into account in that process, the more accurate the resulting data will be.”

Variable Costs to Consider

Once you’ve arrived at a cost of ownership figure, the next step in reaching the ROI figure is assigning value to a machine’s output. For a sprayer, that may mean how much the operator is saving by owning a sprayer and applying his or her own crop inputs versus having it done by a custom applicator. These types of calculations take into account variable operating costs like repairs, maintenance, fuel and operating labor tied to the machine. These variable costs all “vary directly with the amount of machine use,” Edwards says.

“Operating costs can be difficult to pinpoint sometimes. They may include fuel, maintenance, labor or whatever other costs there are to maintain and operate that machine,” Flatt says. “Though it’s common for many farmers to measure output in acres and bushels, those units don’t always correlate directly to machinery output measurements. The hard thing is comparing that to the value of the machine on the output side. It’s important to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.”

Human Variables

Though these are the economic variables to examine to reach ROI for a specific piece of machinery, human nature dictates that “economic models don’t always work,” Flatt says, especially during bearish economic times like the crop sector over the last five years. In many cases, the ability to maintain a similar standard of work while cutting costs is a major priority, making ROI an important measure of efficiency in finding out how to best reach that end.

“If you had to buy a new TV, you wouldn’t go back to an old rear-projection model, even if you could buy one for $5. The value proposition isn’t there and you wouldn’t accept that lower standard,” Flatt says. “People are looking at how to maintain their standard of performance for their machinery, but trying to do it by spending less. That might mean a lower purchase price or lower operating costs. People are buying, but they’re sharpening their pencils on how to put more money in their pockets.”

Contact your local Apache Sprayers dealer for an ROI consultation.

* Article: “Estimating Farm Machinery Costs,” https://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/crops/html/a3-29.html

Posted in Featured | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Storing & Handling DEF

5 Tips for Storing and Handling DEF Graphic

Apache Sprayers now operate Tier 4 Final Cummins diesel engines, making them perform better while running cleaner and with a much smaller impact on the environment.

But, those engines do bring with them a new maintenance issue for operators. Though it’s one with which many will likely already be familiar, it’s important to ensure diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) – a key component of the engine system – is handled and stored correctly.

The Tier 4 engines that were incorporated into all 30-series Apache Sprayers in 2016 utilize DEF to help reduce emissions. The fluid – a mixture of water and urea – is applied to diesel exhaust immediately before expulsion from the engine to cut particulate matter and Nitrogen Oxides, resulting in a much more environmentally friendly, cleaner-burning machine. Tier 4 requirements, the culmination of a multi-step phasing-in of new regulations dating back to the early 2000s, were rolled out by the U.S. Environmental protection Agency (EPA) in 2011 as a way to cut diesel emissions. Machinery manufacturers have worked toward integrating the “advanced exhaust aftertreatment” technology into their engines over the last six years, and Apache Sprayers began adjusting engine emissions and working toward Tier 4 in 2012.

Tier 4 systems require a small DEF tank alongside the fuel tank. On a machine with a 90-gallon fuel capacity, the DEF tank is typically around five gallons. Although the fluid is a relatively simple combination of ingredients, it’s still important to handle and store it correctly. Failing to do so can damage the fluid, the engines in which it’s used and surrounding surfaces and components, according to Chris Smith, Apache Sprayers Application Specialist.

Follow these tips to ensure your DEF functions as required and preserves the life and longevity of your Apache Sprayer’s Tier 4 engine.

Keep things clean.

Because it is slightly corrosive, it’s important to clean up spills immediately and ensure any surface is free of DEF to avoid slow, long-term damage. “It can be hard on paint, so if you’re pouring it into your machine, you want to make sure you wipe off any excess to avoid discoloration or prevent it from eating the paint,” Smith says.

Adjust to Mother Nature.

Though it may be easy to throw a jug of DEF in the back of the pickup and keep it there until it’s time for a fill-up, that can erode the fluid’s quality. Direct sunlight can cause evaporation which can lead to imbalanced ingredients (DEF is 67.5% water and 32.5% urea) and as a result, lower efficacy. In addition to avoiding direct sunlight, it’s best to store DEF around 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Though temporary exposure to higher temperatures is okay, longer-term exposure can cause ingredient imbalance.

You don’t need to be as concerned with lower temperatures. Even if the DEF freezes, once it thaws, it is still usable. “Freezing doesn’t alter the ingredient percentages like heat does,” Smith says. “Evaporation changes the DEF completely when you lose water. But, when it freezes, the percentages stay the same and they thaw at the same time.”

Avoid cross-contamination.

Any additional chemical that’s present in your DEF can cause it to lose efficacy and can potentially damage engine components by introducing particulates or other liquids. To prevent this, use containers that aren’t used for other fluids, like engine oil or coolant. That includes large storage tanks and pumps, Smith says.

“Apache Sprayers have quality sensors in our DEF tanks, so if contaminants are picked up, it will trigger an error code and you have to drain the tank and put in clean DEF. It’s the machine’s way of making sure you’re using clean DEF,” he adds. “The best way to avoid that kind of contamination is to handle it separately – with separate containers – from other engine fluids.”

Store reasonable amounts.

The best way to ensure your DEF is not contaminated or damaged by environmental conditions is by keeping a reasonable amount on supply. Depending the amount of machinery you have requiring the fluid and how long that machinery is operated in the field each growing season, you may not need a huge supply on your farm. Some farmers keep as little as a few gallons on hand, while others use 400- or 500-gallon tanks. Working through the stock you have on hand in a timely manner is the best way to make sure your DEF isn’t beyond its normal shelf life.

“A lot depends on the operator and how much fuel he or she consumes in a given year,” Smith says. “More operators are installing larger tanks, but many still use 55-gallon drums. Matching your storage to consumption will ensure your DEF stays in good shape.”

Don’t let machinery tanks get too low.

Because of the combination of ingredients, when a tank runs low on DEF, it can trigger a quality sensor error code. When a tank is low and the fluid sloshes a lot, it can become cloudy and that physical change can be construed as a quality issue by the tank sensors. By keeping DEF levels from getting too low in on-board tanks, you can avoid this issue. “Fill it up and the issue will go away,” Smith says.

In general, since Tier 4 engines have been around for a few years, many farmers and operators will likely have some familiarity with DEF. Smith says it’s important to remember not just the best practices for storing and handling the fluid, but the necessary safety precautions.

“It’s recommended that when handling DEF, you should wear goggle and gloves just like with any agricultural chemical,” he says.

See more about Apache Sprayers’ Tier 4 engines and their benefits to performance and fuel efficiency.

Posted in E-Help | Leave a comment

Strainer Screens Changing Colors Per New Global Standard

Apache Sprayers Straining Screens Colors Header Image

They’re small yet essential components of an Apache Sprayer, but a recent mandated change to strainer screen color-coding causing some big headaches for operators looking for the right replacement parts for their machines. But, not to worry: operators can look to their Apache specialists to find clarity on the recent change.

Effective August 2016, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) implemented a universal color-coding system – ISO 19732 – for strainer screens across all manufacturers. Prior to the new standards, color coding varied by manufacturer, size, type and mesh size. The variation caused a lot of confusion for manufacturers, distributors and operators, says Equipment Technologies Application Parts Specialist Gary McKinney. And though the color code change has been around for more than a year, it’s still causing some angst among owners and operators.

“They all had their own color code systems for strainers, and nobody’s matched,” McKinney says. “This new ISO system with universal color codes is going to be good in the long term.”

Short-term Challenges

In the shorter term, the color change has caused issues for both operators and distributors called upon to fill their strainer screen needs, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a change that some operators simply see as a hassle.

“Some operators have been reluctant, but others who are more accustomed to change have embraced the new color codes much more easily,” McKinney says. “They’re the same parts that operators are used to, just different colors.”

Inventory management challenges also arose once the ISO change went into effect. Some strainer screen manufacturers still have a lot of inventory from before the change went into effect. Moving inventory of both color schemes to customers sometimes creates confusion for operators replacing the parts on their sprayers.

“We still have old stock coming from a couple manufacturers and we’re seeing the new colors mixed in. That sometimes creates confusion for customers, but we can explain it and they get what they need. Manufacturers are doing a good job of marking the tip strainers with the mesh size, and that helps a great deal.”

Consistency on Its Way

How long will this mixed inventory situation last? It depends on the size and model of the strainer screen in question. More common sizes will be completely transitioned to the new color code system sooner than less common, more obscure sizes. At some point in the near future, McKinney expects the older inventory will likely be liquidated and all strainer screens available to customers will adhere to the new color coding system.

“Popular model numbers are pretty much sold down, but it looks like manufacturers are going to try to work through remaining inventory manufactured before the change,” he says. “It’s just what’s going on in the industry. We’ll get through it and we’ll continue to work with our customers to get through it.”

Replacing strainer screens

There’s no hard, fast rule for replacing strainer screens. A lot depends on overall sprayer hours of operation, how long it takes the operator to reach that hour total, and what chemicals are applied in that time. Some products can be more damaging to strainer screens over time than others. That’s why it’s important to inspect your sprayer’s strainer screens regularly. Look for both damage to the screens themselves, as well as to gaskets connecting them to spray nozzles.

Also, watch sprayer pressure for signs that you have failing strainer screens. If pressure builds while the sprayer is parked, but quickly dissipates once it begins to move, that’s a sign that screens are either clogged, damaged or simply worn to the point of replacement.

Do you think you might need new sprayer strainer screens? If so, start by contacting your nearest Apache Sprayers dealer here.

 


 

Posted in Ask the Application Specialists | Leave a comment

A Man of Many Firsts: Meet Gary Grant

Apache Employee Spotlight Gary Grant Header Image

Being the first to do anything usually sparks a special sense of accomplishment, so it’s no surprise that Ohio Valley Ag Parts Manager, Gary Grant takes pride in the many firsts he’s accrued from his years with Equipment Technologies (ET).

“I came to work at Ohio Valley Ag (OVA) when we opened the branch in February 2007, but I’ve been associated with ET and Apache Sprayers since the prototype days,” Grant said. Before Grant began his tenure at OVA, he owned G & L Equipment in Owensboro, Kentucky.

“I helped test Apache Sprayer prototypes before the company was officially formed in 1997,” Grant said. “Then I became the first Apache dealer that was ever set up. We actually picked up the first unit and sold the first Apache that was ever built.” He later sold the business in 2001.

“After coming onto the team as the Parts Manager, my job was, and continues to be, to ensure our farmer customers have access to all the parts that they need to get the job done,” Grant explained. “I was happy to take the job and come back to work near a product I got to help bring in to the marketplace.”

Grant said although the days can be long, it’s worth it to be a part of the company’s culture and legacy.

“The purpose of this job is all about providing support to Apache Sprayers and their owners and that’s something I enjoy,” Grant said. “The ag industry is unique — I could probably give you 100 names of people who started working in the industry and never left. I grew up on a farm and it was the same thing for me — once you’re in ag, you just don’t want to get out.”

Plus, with so many continuous product developments and improvements, Grant only sees success in the future for ET.

“I think the new Bruin Sprayers are going to be a huge success for us — it’s going to give us the opportunity to get into more of the custom application business versus strictly just end-user farmers,” Grant explained. “It’s a huge opportunity to grow our customer base.”

According to Grant, the number of people who have come to ET and stayed for years is also a perfect testament to the company’s focus on its team members.

“Equipment Technologies is such a generous company to work for — they take their employee and customer relations very seriously,” Grant said. “If you need help with anything, the training is there and the management is there, so it’s a very supportive company to work for.”

Check out the Apache Blog for more articles and up-to-date industry news.

 


Posted in Featured | Leave a comment

Winterization: A How-To Guide

Apache Sprayers Winterization A How-To Guide Header

Proper winterization of the application system, or spray system, helps to prevent damage to the system due to wintertime freezing. Please follow this Apache Winterization Guide to protect your sprayer this winter.

The spray system may contain as many as five separate plumbing loops, or circuits, that are all related to the application system. Thorough flushing of each loop is essential to proper winterization.

The Five Loops:

  1. Main product delivery loop (pump, main strainer, flow meter, control valve, boom shut-off valves and boom plumbing)
  2. Rinse loop (rinse plumbing and roto-flush nozzles in the product tank)
  3. Agitation loop (electric agitation valve, manual agitation valve at rear of tank, agitation / roto-flush selection valve at the fill station)
  4. Product pump vent circuit
  5. Chemical eductor circuit (if equipped)

Apache Winterization Guide:

  1. Make sure the sprayer (product tank, strainers, and booms) has been properly rinsed of all chemicals that have been recently applied.

 

  1. Drain all of the remaining liquid from the product and rinse tanks.

 

  1. Close the electric agitation and main sump valves. Then, turn off your sprayer.

 

  1. Connect an air hose to the main fill valve, open the valve and apply 40-60 psi to the liquid system.

 

  1. Turn on the spray controller or field computer, turn off all of the boom section switches and turn on the master spray switch.

 

  1. Turn on the individual boom section switches one at a time and allow the air to push the water out through the nozzle bodies and spray tips. After the water stops draining, turn the switch off and on three to four times to help release any water trapped behind the ball of the valve.

 

  1. Put approximately 40 gallons of RV antifreeze in the product tank and about 5 gallons into the rinse tank. Put 3 gallons in the chemical eductor if it is equipped with one. RV antifreeze is not intended to be diluted with water, so purge as much water as possible from the system before adding the antifreeze.

 

  1. Open the main sump valve and the agitation circuit valve. Put the product pump source handle in the product to “pump” position. Be sure all of the boom section switches and the master spray switch are off and turn off the controller or field computer. Start the machine and turn on the product pump.

 

  1. Re-start the product controller or field computer. If necessary, start a job and place the controller or field computer in the “manual” operating mode.

 

  1. Be sure the manual agitation valve at the rear of the tank is open and that the agitation valve on the fill station panel is in the open position, then completely open the electric agitation valve using the controls inside the cab. Allow the RV antifreeze to flush through the agitation circuit for approximately two minutes. Open and close the manual valve on the back of the tank 3-4 times to help flush water from around the valve, then leave the valve open. Close the electric agitation valve using the controls in the cab, then open the valve again part way. Turn the agitation valve on the fill station to the roto-flush position.

 

  1. Move the product pump source handle on the fill station to the “rinse to pump” position. Allow the pump to pull RV antifreeze from the rinse tank for 10-15 seconds, then move the valve back to the “product to pump” position. Run the pump for approximately two minutes to flush the rinse circuit, then move the agitation/rotoflush valve back to the agitation position. The vent circuit will be self-flushing since it is continually sending liquid through the vent line anytime the pump is running.

 

  1. If the machine is equipped with a chemical eductor, be sure that all eductor valves are closed and that the RV antifreeze has been loaded into the eductor hopper. Open the eductor inlet valve located at the bottom of the eductor in-line with the inlet plumbing, and open the eductor diverter valve located at the fill station. Be sure the hopper lid is closed, then open the eductor outlet valve at the bottom of the hopper. After 30 seconds, close all three valves and open the hopper lid to see if it has emptied out.
    NOTE: If the machine will be stored outside during the winter, remove one of the lines at the bottom of the eductor and open the outlet valve at the bottom of the hopper so that any snow, ice or rain that may seep into the eductor hopper can drain.

 

  1. To flush the main plumbing system and booms, be sure all of the boom section switches are turned off, turn on the master spray switch, then turn on the No. 1 boom section switch. Allow this section to spray until RV antifreeze is coming from all of the spray tips, then turn off the No. 1 section switch and turn on the No. 2 section switch. Allow it to spray until RV antifreeze is coming from all of the spray tips. Continue repeating this procedure through the remainder of the section switches until all boom sections have been flushed with RV antifreeze.

 

  1. If the machine is equipped with liquid system pressure gauges outside the cab, turn off the product pump momentarily then remove the plastic tubing going to the gauges. Turn the product pump back on and allow it to run until RV antifreeze is coming out the ends of the tubing. Turn the product pump back off.

 

  1. Follow the remaining steps to finish winterizing the machine:
  • Remove the pressure gauges (if equipped) and store them in a warm place.
  • Cap the ends of the gauge tubing and plug the gauge ports to keep debris from collecting in them.
  • Remove the boom strainer bowls and the main Y strainer bowl from the machine and store them in a dry place. Take time to clean the strainers, if needed.
  • Remove the rate controller or field computer from the cab and store it in a warm, dry place.

 

A Job Well Done

This completes the liquid system winterizing process. If you prefer to leave these important tasks to the experts, contact your Apache Sprayer dealer about servicing your sprayer. Apache technicians know how to best protect your equipment investment.

For more information about the importance of winterization, please read part I of this sprayer winterization blog series.


Posted in E-Help, Featured | Leave a comment

Winterization: A Critical Step in Sprayer Maintenance

Apache Sprayers Winterization A Critical Step in Sprayer Maintenance Header

What is the biggest mistake to be made in ag sprayer maintenance? Skipping the sprayer winterization process. Besides helping you get a jump start on the busy season, winterizing and storing your Apache Sprayer can prevent damage caused by freezing temperatures, improve longevity and ensure your resale value.

“Winterizing a sprayer can become an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situation, but colder temperatures have a way of sneaking up on us,” said John Casebolt, Equipment Technologies Senior Application Specialist. “Completing the winterization process as soon as your sprayer usage is done for the year will ensure the best-case scenario.”

Proper winterization can be done anytime following the last round of spraying in late summer or fall, but before the overnight temperatures begin dropping below the freezing point of water (32° F or 0° C), since water is the most common carrier for agricultural chemicals.

“Some people believe that plastic plumbing may not burst as easily because it is more flexible than stainless steel,” Casebolt said. “There are other folks who believe that stainless steel won’t freeze as easily because it is tougher. The truth is that both are susceptible to freezing, then splitting or bursting.”

Each step in the Apache winterization process is important to follow in order to successfully protect the spray system components against freeze damage. Not following each step and thoroughly purging each loop of the spray system can leave some of the liquid system plumbing and components vulnerable to cracking or bursting.

“The people who most often get hit with freeze damage are those who live in warmer climates where winters are typically milder and a sudden or early freeze catches them off guard,” Casebolt said. “Or it may be a dealer who has taken in a late-season trade and the owner had not winterized the machine.”

Avoiding winterizing because you live in an area where freezing temperatures are rare is a risky game to play.

“All it takes is one hard freeze and the next spring their plumbing system looks more like a sprinkler than a sprayer,” Casebolt said. “Over the years I have seen cast iron product pumps freeze and crack (about $1,400 to replace). I have seen flow meters and control valves crack (about $500 and $450, respectively, for standard Apache equipment). I have seen stainless steel boom plumbing freeze, swell to 1.5 times its normal size, then split. I have seen rectangular rinse tanks that were full of water freeze and swell until they were almost round because someone forgot to drain them. I have seen almost every clamped joint on a plumbing system have ice hanging from it because of poor, or a lack of, proper winterization.”

One of the less obvious problems that come as a result of frozen wet system plumbing and components is the timing of the repairs that need to be made.

“A grower or operator might take their machine out of storage one day, expecting to put water and chemical in it to spray the next day only to find the damage,” Casebolt said. “Now they have to wait for those repairs to be made while they know they should be in the field — it’s rough.”

With RV antifreeze costing anywhere from $3 to $10 per gallon (depending on brand, composition and quantity), a few hundred dollars for antifreeze and a couple of hours of work is money and time well spent when you consider the alternative.

“Some people choose to winterize using a liquid fertilizer combination that usually includes a form of nitrogen,” Casebolt said. “From a standpoint of preventing freeze up it can work quite well, but corrosiveness and ‘gumming up’ may be an issue when it is left in the system over the course of the winter. I would stick to the Apache winterization recommendations.

No matter how you choose to approach sprayer winterization, it’s important that you do it before bone-chilling temperatures settle in. Remember, if you take care of your application equipment, it will help you take care of your crops season after season.

“When all is said and done, proper winterizing is a good preventive for unexpected, and sometimes costly, springtime repairs,” Casebolt said.

For more information and instructions on how to winterize your Apache Sprayer, read part II.


Posted in E-Help, Featured | Leave a comment

The Argument for Fall Spraying + Tips for Success

Do's & Don'ts of Fall Spraying

Most growers are gearing up for fall spraying, but there are a few hold outs who don’t see the point, we’ve got some news for you — fall applications are extremely beneficial. Allow us to tell you why (plus, we’ve got a few tips for you).

Control Weeds, Insects and Corn Residue

While fall treatments help prevent winter annuals and weeds to keep fields clean through spring planting, this application period can include more than just weed treatments. By applying nitrogen to corn stubble, growers can boost decomposition to knock down corn residue and weeds at the same time.

“Fall spraying tends to be more enjoyable than in the spring — you’re not in a huge rush and you can take more time to do a better job,” said Chris Weaver, Apache Sprayers Application Parts Specialist.

Additionally, when heavy weed cover blankets spring fields, soils remain cool longer, delaying tillage operations and planting. Some winter weeds also provide a haven for insects that attack emerging crops.

Enjoy the Flexibility

More often than not, spring tends to cause undue stress when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Cold and wet conditions can push planting dates, resulting in a shorter timeframe for pre-plant herbicide applications, leading to more growers adding a fall herbicide application into their weed control programs. If you plan for a fall herbicide application and the weather doesn’t allow it, growers still have their spring application to set things right.

“Fall herbicide applications provide a head start on weed control,” Weaver said. “If you’re only counting on spring pre-plant applications and weather keeps you at bay, you have no back up plan.”

Check Your Flow Control System

Before starting, Weaver suggests growers check their sprayer’s flow control system to make sure it is working properly. Application rates are critical for spraying the right amount of nitrogen and herbicides so growers get the most from those applications without wasting product.

“The flow control system regulates the applied gallons per acre and prevents the sprayer from over- or under-applying,” Weaver explained.

To check the flow control system, start spraying while the machine is sitting still. Open the manual control screen on the rate controller and increase or decrease the rate, looking to see if the spray pressure responds as it should. That will ensure the control valve is working. As this is happening (usually on the same screen), look at the value for gallons per minute and make sure the reading is not zero. If so, the flowmeter is working properly.

Be Mindful of the Weather

“Typically, I like to get my fall applications done right after harvest,” Weaver said. “In my experience, the warmer the daytime temperature is, the better the results. I like a temperature of 55 or higher for fall applications — otherwise it seems like the chemicals don’t work as well.”

Weaver also said to stay on top of frost forecasts in the weather reports to make sure you avoid freezing your sprayer lines.

Check out the Apache Blog for more articles and up-to-date industry news.

 


Posted in E-Help | Leave a comment

Solutions to Sprayer Nozzle Issues Before You Have Them

Whether you are top dressing wheat or doing pre-plant herbicide applications, there are a few things to remember when servicing sprayer nozzles and tips. To help our customers solve some of the most prevalent problems in the field, the Apache Sprayer team got together with additional experts within the industry to gather the best tips for nozzle care throughout the year.

Quick Tips for Sprayer Nozzle Maintenance

Start the season by running clean water through the sprayer and at the end of each spraying day, to thoroughly clean the spray tips. Chemicals will eventually gum up the tip and cause uneven spray patterns or, worse, plug the tip completely. Always use water or compressed air to clean a spray tip. Using sharp objects such as a pocket knife or a piece of wire will cause damage to the tip. With proper care, you can extend the life of spray tips significantly.

“Most problems with spray tips are a result of a lack of maintenance and calibration,” said TeeJet Technologies Manufacturer Representative, Bryan Fowler. “Taking a close look at the spray pattern for consistency and distribution across the boom will alert you to the problem sooner and help you avoid poor application results. Many times, it can be difficult to look at a tip and actually see a problem.”

Sprayer Nozzle Tests and Checks

Fowler suggests performing a catch test on a few of the tips to better analyze the issue. A catch test uses a catch cup over the nozzle to measure output and flow rates.

“It is a good practice to perform a catch test on a few of the tips; if a few are out of specification by more than 10 percent, then it is time to replace them,” Fowler said. “This means that a tip that is rated to spray 0.4 GPM (ex. XR8004) at 40 psi is actually spraying 0.45 GPM, it should be replaced. If more than a few tips on the boom are performing this way, all of the tips on the boom are probably worn and will need to be replaced.”

It’s very hard to detect nozzle wear by sight alone as there can be very little evidence of wear. Greenleaf Technologies Regional Sales Manager William Smart agrees that nozzle checks are an essential part of upkeep, but also stresses the use of strains and boom height adjustments to prevent malfunctions.

The Importance of Nozzle Cleaning

“Nozzles need to be protected from plugging through the use of strainers upstream of the nozzle,” Smart said. “But even with proper straining, nozzles can sometimes plug. Nozzles that come apart easily (without the need for tools) and that have visible metering orifices will speed up the cleaning process. Air, water and the occasional broom straw or toothbrush is all that should be used for cleaning.”

Boom Height + Sprayer Nozzle Correlations

Smart says boom height is also important to create a uniform distribution of the spray with your selected nozzle.

“A good rule of thumb for 110-degree nozzles is matching the nozzle spacing to the boom height,” Smart said. “So, for 20-inch spacing, a minimum 20-inch boom height will ensure uniformity along the length of the boom. Keeping the boom as close as possible to this target will also maximize coverage, penetration and drift control.”

Do you have another common nozzle issue? Tell us about it in the comments below! Need help nozzle selection?

Check out our handy white paper.


Posted in E-Help | Leave a comment

Employee Spotlight: Meet Adam Kivett

A lot can happen in two decades. While most people change jobs three or more times in 20 years, Director of Manufacturing Adam Kivett has held strong with his dedication and loyalty to ET Works, but if you ask him — he’s just “lucky”.Adam Kivett in front of an Apache Sprayer

“I think I just kind of got lucky finding a job with ET,” Kivett said. “I was just out of college and I was looking for a job in agriculture because that’s what my background has been in my whole life. I heard ET Works was looking to hire from my college roommate, Jeremy Hurt.”

Hurt, is a Senior Application Specialist and has also been with the company for 20 years. In fact, he started just a couple weeks before Kivett back in 1997.

“When I first started there was maybe seven or eight guys on the team,” Kivett said. “There wasn’t really a title. I would just call what I did ‘general labor’ or a ‘mechanic’ working with the machinery. It was really cool, because I got to do a lot of different stuff. Since the team was so small I got exposed to all of the inner workings of the Apache Sprayer.”

But as the company grew, so did Kivett’s role. In the first few years Kivett was tackling various manufacturing processes (like assembling and welding) and then he eventually started helping with inventory management. In the last 15 years, Kivett says that although his title has changed several times, his job description hasn’t.

“I’ve been a Production Supervisor, and then I think I was a Manufacturing Manager for a while, and then I was a Plant Supervisor,” Kivett said. “Around four years ago, I became the Director of Manufacturing and started managing everything to do with our manufacturing process — things like quality, fabrication, safety, building maintenance and inventory. I’m not sure how relevant all those previous job titles were — to put it simply I’ve been in charge of the plant and the shop floor and everything to do with it for around the last 15 years.”

Even though he’s earned his stripes in the company, Kivett says he’s still learning every day and enjoys the variety that comes with his position.

“It’s a pretty interesting gig in that it’s never the same; no two days are alike,” Kivett said. “I work a lot with my team leaders and managers. I’ve never been the type of guy that likes to do a lot of office work, so I’m on the floor the majority of the day. If we’re shorthanded I’ll fill in and I might do some welding from time to time, or maybe I’ll be out in quality control working on some prototype stuff.”

Kivett says he likes being out in the plant, because that’s where you see things firsthand and get ideas.

“I like to stay hands on,” Kivett explained. “I want to continue to feel knowledgeable in all areas, so I can bring new ideas to the group.”

With his 20-year work anniversary behind him, Kivett is looking to the next 20 at ET to keep him on his toes.

“I’ve been here so long — this place is kind of like my second family,” Kivett said. “I really enjoy getting to help farmers try to do things in a better way with our equipment. From ’97 to now, Apache has done a lot of things to help do that. I really can’t see myself doing anything else.”

Check out the Apache Blog for more articles and up-to-date industry news.


Posted in Featured | Leave a comment
 

Copyright © 2018 Equipment Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy    |    Terms & Conditions    |    Site Map