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Purchasing A Sprayer: Demystifying The Payback

Because many farmers have relied on custom applicators, justifying a sprayer investment is a new exercise. Here are some considerations, and tools, to help make an informed decision.

Unlike many pieces of farm equipment, a sprayer is not something that Dad or Granddad absolutely had to buy. When spraying became common to cropping operations, there was an opportunity to outsource it to a custom applicator and avoid tying up the capital and adding to the responsibilities of the already over-worked farmer. 

But times have changed. "the recent trend toward less tillage, brough about by advances in farm chemicals, espeically herbicides, has sharply increased the availability and interest in self-propelled crop sprayers that can be used for both pre- and post-plant treatments," says Terry Kastens ag economist at Kansas State University. Now that farmers have become more skilled on the chemical ide, they're paying more attention to application costs, timeliness and equipment selection. And for many farmers, this means taking on their own applications for better control over their destiny, should capacity from the custom applicator dry up when a proble strikes.

A Cost-Justification 'Walk-Through'

To illustrate how to calculate a cost justification for a sprayer, the experience of a typical Iowa farmer, who didn't think a sprayer could e justified on his 2,000-acre farm, is described here. This article applies the scenario to a proprietary spreadsheet-based program developed by Equipment Technologies and Serex Associates.

Equiment Technologies CEO Matt Hays, a certified public accountant by trade and an admitted statistical "gearhead," helped develop the model with statistics and operational professionals from Indiana University. The model has been used by Equipment Technologies staff and dealers for 2 years.

This hypothetical…

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