Farmer Finds the Right Spraying Balance with Apache Sprayers

An increase in acres led Miles Adkins to purchase a self-propelled sprayer when he saw the financial benefit of ownership versus relying on custom applications and his old pull-behind sprayer.

The Ullin, Illinois, no-till farmer has a good relationship with his local cooperative that has provided his custom applications, and he still relies on it when time and resource constraints don’t allow for him to take care of his own spraying. But, the flexibility of having his own sprayer has helped him better manage his applications and lower his overall weed control costs.

“Having my own sprayer is like having a guy ready to work for me at any time. Now, we spray exactly when we need to spray. It’s handy to have,” said Adkins, adding between his acreage and the number of times he uses his sprayer, it typically covers around 12,000 acres each year. “Spraying myself definitely saves me about $3 per acre.”

Many of those acres are in hilly, irregularly shaped fields with waterways that can pose a challenge for even the most experienced, skillful operator and lead to continued weed pressures from inconsistent, spotty applications. With the precision technology in his Apache Sprayer, Adkins said that’s no longer a problem and he can do a better job spraying more efficiently in a much timelier manner.

“Before, we were having trouble killing weeds in our waterways and spraying those waterways effectively would take a lot of time. One 32-acre field took almost two hours to spray before,” Adkins said. “With the Apache Sprayer, I can do it in 20 minutes now. I can spray it like a rectangular field since every nozzle is independent and we no longer have problems killing weeds in the waterways.”

The combination of an efficient sprayer with the technology he needs and the manpower necessary to keep that machine working in the field has benefits beyond weed and pest control. Because he employs no-till on all of his acres, spraying is a big priority and having that step function smoothly means the entire no-till production process becomes more efficient.

“Because we no-till everything, we have to have weeds burned down right in front of the planter, so the operator has to stay ahead of us. That used to be a challenge, and he had to run his legs off to stay ahead of the planter,” Adkins said. “Now, he’s not having to trim around every waterway and it’s not taking him nearly as much time. He’s on easy street now.”

Adkins estimates he saves around 800 hours of operating time on his Apache Sprayer over its lifetime because it’s able to drastically cut his time in the field with applications like these. But, it also has the added benefit of helping him better maintain his farm’s labor force in times of year when doing so can be a challenge.

“I have a man who does our applications and during the summer when he’s doing a lot of them, I would just be finding other jobs for him to do if he wasn’t operating the sprayer,” Adkins said. “I’m not only cutting my spraying costs in half, but I’m giving another man a job during the summer where I’d have to lay him off otherwise. That way, he’s there to handle the spraying and do other work when I need him to. It is good for me as a manager.”

Want to learn more about the cost benefits of owning and operating your own Apache Sprayer? Start here.

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