My old friend Mark and I spent some time talking about pesticide use and sprayers. Mark’s an expert on spray and sprayers. He sold chemicals for a company, and he’s also sold a lot of sprayers at S&H Farm Supply in Rogersville, Missouri. That’s where we made a series of videos about sprayers.
Lots of Choices
The first thing I pointed out during our video session is that there are a lot of different choices when it comes to pesticides and sprayers. Have a pull type sprayer? Then you can put it on an ATV, and you can actually pull it with a lawnmower. Or you can pull it with the three point of your tractor. There are also tanks that you can place in the bed of your pickup truck.
That being the case, I asked Mark how he helps a guy select a sprayer. I was curious about he determined which one was best for the customer. Here’s what he told me.
First of all, size of the acreage matters. If you’re just doing your lawn, an everyday good old pump-up sprayer works fine. And you can use a lot of different pesticides with it. If you’re managing food plots or wildlife food plots, you need to think about where the area is located that you’re going to be spraying.
Next, I know I’m going to ask, “How big is your tractor?” Say we’re thinking about a 200 gallon three-point sprayer. If we put that sprayer on behind the tractor, we’re looking at about 350 pounds at that point. Put 1,600 pounds of water in there (200 gallons at eight pounds to the gallon) and suddenly you’re hauling 1,600 pounds behind your tractor – a total weight somewhere in the neighborhood of about 2,000 pounds. And you have to ask if your tractor is big enough to handle 2,000 pounds hanging off the back of it.
Sprayers Come in Several Sizes
Sprayers come in 60 gallons, hundred and two hundred gallons, and on up to 1,500 gallon tanks. A 300 gallon can be a three point or a pull type. Anything above that is usually a pull type only. Now, weight can overload a tractor pretty quickly. if a person has a 30 horsepower tractor and they match the weight of the sprayer and the water to the lift capacity, they’re at the maximum end. And if they’re going down hills or up hills, they can get in trouble.
That’s because downhill you’ll get the slide. The water will slosh in the tanks because there are no baffles inside, and that will push you right down the hillside. If if you’re going up the hill, you’ve got all that weight leaning back. There’s a good chance your front tires are going to come off the ground if you don’t have enough ballast to hold your front end down. So matching sprayer size and tractor size is really important for safety. (Or as we say here on the farm, there’s a little pucker factor in that.)
Balancing Size with Number of Trips to a Field
Making a lot of trips back and forth to a big field? Well, you’ve got to let the sprayer fill for each new run. And that can take up quite a bit of time. You’ve got to factor your time in, so you don’t want to go too small. At the same time, you definitely don’t want to overload your tractor.
And you can overload a pickup truck as well. Too much slosh in a tank in the truck bed is also a problem. I’ve even seen them break loose from the back of the pickup and just slide right out on the ground.
Mark and I went into the sprayer row at S&H. And they sell a lot of sprayers – mostly elliptical tanks versus round. There were high clearance trailers and standard clearance trailers. I asked Mark how a buyer can determine which types he needs.
He told me that you can decide by knowing how much you’re spraying. If you’re just out in tall grass, the low profile trailer works fine. But if you’re planning a lot of work out in brush or on hilly ground, you’ll want the bigger tank on the bigger frame, probably a tandem axle trailer.
Really, the goal is to keep the weight as low as you can. And that’s why elliptical tanks are better than round ones. They keep everything low.
Use the Pickup or the Tractor?
If you’re to going to a great distance to spray, a pickup truck will get you there and back pretty quickly to refill your sprayer. The tractor is going to be a little bit slower. If you’re using a sprayer that’s maxing out your three-point, you probably want to go with a pull-type. Just remembe you’ve still got to be able to stop with one, too.
Mark suggested you should figure on spraying fifteen gallons per acre. Think about how much acreage you need to spray, and how much time it takes to refill your tank. That can help you decide what size will actually work best for your needs. You might want to get a larger tank, simply to cut the time it takes doing the refills, especially if you have a fairly large area to cover in one day.
Want to learn about the newest, most unique sprayer tanks on the market? Check out the Land Champ tank series that hug the back of your tractor. Safer on hills, plus lots of other safety and convenience features.