The interest in sprayers following the Asian soybean rust threat in 2005 has really never waned, for several reasons.
Purchasing a new or used sprayer is much easier to justify in 2008 with projections of $3 to $4 corn — with more acres to manage buoyed by ethanol production — and over $10 soybeans and the promise of continued biofuel demand. Bigger farms mean more acres for one operator to spray, compounded with the pressure for on-time applications by the shift to more post-emergence herbicide programs.
While invasion by Asian soybean rust and the need for fast protection hasn’t yet been widespread, new-generation crop protection products such as Headline and other fungicides are firing the demand for timely spraying even more. And in many cases, commercial applicators simply have all the business they can handle.
Meanwhile, new sprayers, loaded with user-friendly technology and convenience features, are less daunting to first-time operators.
In recent contacts with sprayer industry leaders, we’ve learned manufacturers of new self-propelled and pull-type machines, and the related nozzle, precision controls and guidance segments of the industry are in full expansion modes.
Here’s what they told us.
“Farmers, for the most part, no longer ask if they can justify the cost of a sprayer. We’re way over that hurdle,” says Matt Hays, the president of Equipment Technologies located in Mooresville, Ind. The company manufactures the Apache sprayer line with 750- to 1,200-gallon models.
He says the company has seen growing demand from farm operators over the…