Recent innovations in spraying equipment — greater precision, electronically controlled booms and advancements in nozzle designs — are making it easier for no-tillers to apply inputs precisely where and when they’re needed, in exact amounts.
And many no-tillers are finding they can easily earn back their investment in spraying equipment. For some growers, a new self-propelled sprayer can now pay for itself in 2 years.
The results from a recent study conducted by No-Till Farmer confirmed a trend toward ownership. Among 471 survey respondents, 66% reported that they operate their own sprayer. Only planters and combines showed higher rates of ownership.
“The market as a whole is continuing to grow because of farmer-based ownership, and no-till farmers are our fastest growing market,” says Charlie May, marketing manager for Equipment Technologies, the Mooresville, Ind.-based manufacturer of Apache self-propelled sprayers.
Innovations with global positioning systems (GPS) are driving many improvements in sprayers, including the placement of pesticides with unprecedented accuracy.
The latest technology is supported by real-time kinematic (RTK) correction, which adjusts the signal to account for the curvature of the earth. RTK runs on the bandwidth of a cell phone and uses cell towers to transmit data, resulting in a five-fold increase in coverage and no line-of-sight requirement.
“Precision technology has gone from an accuracy level of 3 meters to 1 meter to 1 inch to less than 1 inch,” May says. “Farmers are seeing how these changes affect output. It’s moved to a level that is pretty…