Self-propelled sprayers are where it’s at. The past few cropping seasons dealt some valuable lessons in the importance of well timed herbicide applications. Increasingly, growers find owning a sprayer ensures acreage gets covered within the correct application window,
"The self-propelled sprayer business has grown tremendously," explains Jim Walker, Case IH vice president for North American ag business. "It's a special product that we treat differently than the rest of our lineup."
When applying more acres with a crop protection product, many farmers find it easier and more profitable to own their own machine. Equipment Technologies, the Mooresville, Ind., manufacturer of Apache sprayers, reports that 80% of its annual retail sales are to farmer owners.
Farmers are also finding it easier and more profitable to outfit that machine with precision technologies. Larger booms, greater tank capacities and more comfortable cabs make machines easier to operate for longer periods of time. When technology is integrated with the machine, efficiencies become even more apparent.
"We are approaching 60% of our machines being outfitted with Raven AccuBoom from the factory," says Equipment Technologies Chief Executive Officer Matt Hays.
AccuBoom, and other boom section control products, provide the operator with automatic boom shutoff to reduce overlap in the field. Some operators report the boom control systems paying for themselves in just one year.
The high percentage of adoption of precision agriculture isn't just apparent with equipment orders, it also is showing itself in customer support demands. "Probably 70% of the calls to our customer service lines are for help in calibrating precision ag components," Hays says.
As precision agriculture becomes more popular, companies are responding to customize their product offering for the customer. For example, Trimble offers its Field-IQ systems which allows customers to order precision components a la carte.