Rather than risk sitting low on their custom applicator’s to-do list while fair weather passes them by, 67% of no-tillers responding to the No-Till Farmer No-Till Practices Survey last spring said they own and operate their own sprayer. It’s a trend sprayer manufacturers are taking note of.
“In the last 5 to 10 years, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in farm numbers and a dramatic increase in farm size in western Canada due to consolidation,” says Tim Criddle, director of marketing for Miller, who notes the same thing is now happening in the United States. “As farms got larger, they started adding a self-propelled sprayer to their equipment base.”
The increase in no-till acres is another reason sprayer manufacturer’s credit for increased farmer-based sprayer sales. No-tillers make more spray trips over their fields in lieu of tillage, quickly driving up spray acres.
“No-tillers have a lot of spray acres,” says Paul Nielsen, sales manager for Equipment Technologies (Apache sprayers). “If a no-tiller makes several trips over his fields equaling at least 5,000 total spray acres, and it costs $5 per acre for a custom application, that’s $25,000 in direct costs, not including chemical.”
And that custom application cost never changes as acres increase.
Producers owning their own sprayers, however, actually decrease cost per acre as they spread the equipment investment over more years and acres. Nielsen notes that producers may be able to decrease chemical expenses because they aren’t locked into the custom applicator’s price.