With herbicide and fertilizer application, getting the product where it’s needed, when it’s needed, is a key to timely treatment. Being able to fill sprayers without touching herbicides is an important safety factor. These two farmer-built nurse trailers meet both goals.
David Allyn and sons Mike and Matt, of Mount Vernon, Ind., bought a worn-out 41' step-deck trailer, repaired it and shortened it to 36'. They welded steps at the front and middle.
“We like the low profile—two steps and you’re on the trailer—and that we never touch the product,” Mike says.
The trailer can hold two 2,600-gal. water tanks, a 20-gal. freshwater tank, a 50-gal. fuel tank and up to four 250-gal. herbicide tanks or shuttles. “There’s still room for boxes here and there,” Mike says.
Herbicides flow by gravity, through 1¼" hose, from the tanks or shuttles to the three chemical pumps. Only three pumps are required, the Allyns say, because two of the herbicide tanks usually contain the same product.
Herbicides also can be added through a 30-gal. inductor. It contains a valve for rinsing 2½-gal. herbicide jugs.
The fuel tank is made from an old foam marker tank. The upright design takes up little room.
The Allyns set up two identical trailers, so they always have one in place when their sprayer operator, Beauford “Bump” Wilson, arrives at a distant farm. “That way, Bump has everything he needs,” Mike says.
Keep products separate. In Henderson, Ky., Robbie Williams uses a 42' nurse trailer with three 1,600-gal. water tanks. The tanks are connected to a manifold made from Schedule 80 PVC pipe. There also is room for up to three mini-bulk herbicide shuttles.
A 200-gal. tank holds water for the foam markers on Williams’ sprayer. (The foam markers are a backup to his sprayer’s GPS system, in case it ever loses its satellite signal or encounters other problems.) A 100-gal. tank, salvaged from an old semi truck, carries diesel fuel for the sprayer.
There are two inductors for the herbicide tanks. “We like to keep products separate,” Williams says. “If we accidentally add too much of one chemical, we can leave the excess in the inductor.”
Each shuttle has its own 12-volt pump, activated by a waterproof toggle switch. An extension cord from the cab powers the pumps.
“With the shuttles plumbed directly into the inductor tank, we never touch the hoses and rarely have to uncouple [when we might come in contact with the chemical],” Williams says.
When he’s not using the system’s pump to fill the sprayer, Williams protects it from the elements with a cover made from a plastic cattle mineral tub.
To keep hoses from kinking, Williams ran the hose from the pump to a stainless-steel elbow mounted on a stand. The fill hose to the sprayer connects to the elbow. With the elbow’s nipple pointing straight down, “the hose to the sprayer can swivel in all directions without kinking,” he says.
Milk Tanker Now Hauls Fertilizer
Looking for bulk fertilizer transport? An old milk tanker, which is insulated and stainless steel inside and out, is ideal, says Robbie Williams of Henderson, Ky.
“A tank designed for picking up milk on the farm is best because it has cabinets in the back,” he says.
Williams purchased a used 5,600-gal. milk tanker. He installed his fertilizer pump in the rear compartment, where it is protected from the weather.
To plumb the truck, “we removed the sanitary valve because it could slam shut when filling,” Williams says. “We sawed the flange completely off and replaced it with a 3" stainless-steel pipe nipple. Then we screwed on a 3" Banjo valve.”
The original plumbing required a 3" nipple and valve. But the size of the cabinet limited Williams to a 2" pump—a tight fit, he adds.
Exiting the hose straight through the side of the cabinet would have left it vulnerable to damage. So Williams—using a carbide-tipped hole saw—bored two holes in the side of the cabinet, installed 2½" taillight grommets and connected a stainless-steel elbow, with the nipple pointed straight down. “The rack they used to hang the milk hose made an ideal brace for plumbing inside the cabinet,” he says.
Connecting the sprayer’s fill line to the elbow lets the hose pivot in any direction without kinking. For transport, the hose rides in a tray made by cutting out one side of a length of 6" PVC pipe. The pipe is bolted to the fender, the ladder and a cross-member that Williams
added to the side of the trailer.
“We used Banjo flange fittings throughout,” he says. “They take up less space than pipe-thread fittings and are less likely to leak.”
Bluegrass Tank & Equipment in Elizabethtown, Ky., installed stainless-steel baffles in the tank to control sloshing. “Baffles are important, because we don’t fill the trailers full, due to the heavy weight of liquid fertilizer,” Williams explains.
Williams owns two similarly equipped trailers made from former milk trucks. “They have really
improved our efficiency,” he says. “A driver can pick up a load of nitrogen solution while our two 16-row applicators draw from the other tanker positioned in the field.”