High corn prices should increase the number of corn acres this growing season. And with the ethanol boom, everyone seems to be scrambling to secure the necessary inputs and equipment to get the largest corn yield per acre. Nowhere is that more true than when it's time to spray. Because postemergence herbicides need to be applied by the time weeds reach 4 to 5 in. in height or farmers risk loss of yield by the day, spray timing is critical.

New sprayers are up to the task with features that can fit any size operation and help make spraying more efficient. “We expect sprayer sales to be strong in 2007,” says Redball President Steve Claussen.

Redball

Redball has entered the self-propelled sprayer market with a 1,200-gal. stainless steel sprayer with a 140-gal. integral rinse tank and a ProAction Flex boom. The boom is a lattice-truss pendulum boom, which is available in 80- and 90-ft. widths. The 2-wd mechanical drive sprayer is powered by a Tier 3, 275-hp, 6.8-liter John Deere diesel engine. It has an Allison 3000 automatic transmission with a locking torque converter, a JCB on-the-go locking differential and gear-driven drop boxes. Axles, which adjust from 120 to 152 in., are suspended with an automatic axle-leveling air bag system with sway control.

The sprayer's bolted flex-design frame is built from ⅜-in., 110,000-psi C-channel steel, with heavy-duty open-section cross members. The wheelbase is 13 ft. 9 in., allowing for a turning radius of just 15 ft. The overall sprayer length is 27 ft. with booms folded. Crop clearance is 48 in. with 14.9X46 tires, both front and rear. Heavy-duty disc brakes can be found at all four corners.

Although Redball has built its reputation with industry-leading high-clearance trailer sprayers, members of its engineering and production staff have designed and built many of the top self-propelled sprayer brands now in the field, Claussen notes.

“We started this project with a tremendous base of in-house knowledge and experience about self-propelled sprayers and the factors that make them productive and cost-efficient to operate,” he says.

Suggested list price is $185,000. Contact Redball LLC, Dept. FIN, Box 159, Benson, MN 56215, 877/332-2551, visit www.redballproducts.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 106.

AGCO Spra-Coupe

AGCO has given its Spra-Coupe 4000 series sprayers a cosmetic overhaul, but they are essentially the quality sprayers farmers expect, says Joel Krause, sales engineer, AGCO Application Equipment. The 4455 and 4655 have a new hood design that falls in line with AGCO's larger Spra-Coupe series. The biggest advantages to these popular sprayers are that they are fuel efficient, have a lightweight design and, at 13 ft. 9 in, have the tightest turning radius in the business, Krause says. “That tight turning radius allows farmers to make pass after pass and get down the field a lot faster without spending needless time backing up and repositioning the sprayer,” he says.

The 4000 series offers 400-gal. poly tank capacity and features a new optional 60/80-ft. breakaway boom. The 60/80-ft. boom design allows two different spread widths, depending on the application job, in a single boom. And because the sprayer weighs less than 14,000 lbs. full, Krause says that farmers can spray in wetter conditions than if they used another sprayer, without worrying about compaction.

Suggested list prices of sprayers with a 60-ft. boom and automatic transmission range from $92,614 to $98,990. Contact AGCO Corp., Dept. FIN, 4205 River Green Pkwy., Duluth, GA 30096, 888/989-8525, visit www.agcocorp.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 107.

Bestway

Bestway promises to tackle farmers' sprayer concerns with its lightweight Field-Pro IV-1200. The sprayer is a pull-type sprayer available with a choice of 60-, 80- or 90-ft. booms.

“As farms get bigger with more crop acres total, and more corn acres in particular, timeliness becomes very critical,” says Tony Stueve, Bestway sales manager.

The biggest advantage of the Field-Pro IV is its Fiberworks boom, which is a third the weight of steel but has three times more impact resistance. It rides better in the field because it is lightweight, causes less compaction and has fewer repair problems, Stueve says.

The sprayer also has an adjustable axle, which can accommodate wheel width spacing from 80 to 120 in. with minimal adjustments. The 1200 is available with a Norac automatic boom height control system.

Suggested retail prices range from $29,000 to $40,500, depending on boom length and tank size. Contact Bestway at RHS, Dept. FIN, 2021 W. Iowa St., Hiawatha, KS 66434, 877/390-4480, visit www.rhs-inc.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 108.

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Great Plains

Great Plains Manufacturing expects that its TSF-1290 trailer sprayer's 90-ft. front-fold boom will help growers cover acres quickly. The 1,230-gal. sprayer has an 80- or 90-ft. boom that can convert to 60 ft. The 80- to 120-in. adjustable axle allows tires to be spaced to match any row width yet maintain stability.

“Great Plains utilizes a spring-cushioned hydraulic elevator to raise and lower our spray boom,” says Greg Brenneman, marketing manager for Great Plains. “This type of lift mechanism minimizes the distance between the sprayer tires and the boom. This feature greatly improves boom stability, boom life and accuracy of product to the target.”

Suggested list prices of TSF sprayers range from $27,888 to $43,995. Contact Great Plains Mfg. Inc., Dept. FIN, 1525 E. North St., Salina, KS 67401, 785/823-3276, visit www.greatplainsmfg.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 109.

Fast Distributing

Fast Distributing's new model 9500 series sprayer comes with booms up to 132 ft. and tanks as large as 2,400 gal. Its new patent-pending tank design has a low center of gravity, long sloping troughed sump and easy access fill-well. The trailer sprayer is short-coupled — only 176 in. from drawbar to axle — and features spray heights from 20 to 72 in.

“The demand for larger booms has been strong this year,” says Mark Aslesen, sales and marketing manager for Fast.

Aslesen says the refinement of automatic boom height controllers also has added to the call for longer booms. “Farmers see the economics of these longer booms,” he says. “Less passes mean less compaction, less crop damage, more acres covered per hour and increased fuel economy.”

A Fast model 9500 with a 1,800-gal. tank and 90-ft. boom retails for about $35,000. Contact Fast Distributing, Dept. FIN, 54859 County Rd. 44, Mt. Lake, MN 56159, 800/772-9279, visit www.fastdist.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 110.

Hiniker

Hiniker covers ground with a combination of either its 1,000- or 1,300-gal. trailer sprayer with the Hiniker 8605 automatic rate controller. The rear-fold boom sprayers feature an over-the-top gooseneck-style hitch, allowing the entire 80- or 90-ft. full hydraulic fold boom to be mid-mounted.

“With the boom mounted in front of the tank on the trailer rather than at the rear, it rides more smoothly,” says Mark Miller, marketing coordinator for Hiniker.

The automatic rate controller is designed to control chemical application rates using inputs from a speed sensor and flow meter. It compares those inputs to a target rate and then uses a servo valve to adjust those rates on the fly in the field, Miller explains.

Suggested retail prices of the sprayers range from $35,120 to $36,300. The rate controller retails for $2,605. Contact Hiniker Co., Dept. FIN, Box 3407, Mankato, MN 56001, 507/625-6621, visit www.hiniker.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 111.

John Deere

John Deere's new 4930 sprayer features a 325-hp John Deere PowerTech Plus engine, 1,200-gal. spray tank and 120-ft. boom. The 4930 sprayer also is able to put out dry product with a dry spreader attachment and integrates Ag Management Solutions (AMS) precision guidance components for auto guidance, prescription variable-rate applications, and field mapping and documentation. These integrated AMS features carry over to Deere's existing line of sprayers.

“Whether it's the individual farmer or the commercial sprayer, they can gain more efficiencies in passes through the field and in input savings,” says Craig Weynand, sprayer product marketing manager, John Deere Des Moines Works. “With GreenStar GPS and using the AutoTrac guidance system to actually steer your sprayer, you can run a 120-ft. boom and get overlap down to a minimum. Plus the operator is able to go around the clock, so visibility isn't as big an issue.”

The GreenStar 2 Rate Controller with Swath Control Pro is available on John Deere 4710, 4720, 4920 and 4930 self-propelled sprayers and for pull-type sprayers. John Deere says that using AutoTrac and Swath Control Pro reduces input costs at least 5%.

Suggested retail prices of the 4930 sprayers range from $270,203 to $291,415, depending on boom length. Contact John Deere, Dept. FIN, 11145 Thompson Ave., Lenexa, KS 66219, 866/993-3373, visit www.johndeereag.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 112.

Case IH

Case IH introduced the Patriot SPX3320 sprayer late last summer. The 1,000-gal. model is the smaller sibling of the SPX4420, Case IH's 1,200-gal. model. The company says the Patriot's quiet cab and operator comfort allow farmers to cover more acres because they can remain productive longer in a comfortable environment.

“We offer an option to conventional spray technology, AIM Command, which is pulse width modulation technology — pressure control that is independent of rate and ground speed,” says Mark Burns product specialist for Patriot sprayers. “It helps farmers keep the optimum chemical droplet size for efficient use of chemical and aids in drift reduction.”

Suggested list prices are $186,636 for the SPX3320 and $215,155 for the SPX4420. Contact Case IH, Dept. FIN, 700 State St., Racine, WI 53404, 262/636-6011, visit www.caseih.com or www.freeproductinfo.net/fin, or circle 113.

A sprayer for every farm

These sprayers offer an array of features that should make it easy for farmers to find a model that best fits their needs. Although pull-type sprayers still tend to be more economical, self-propelled sprayers are growing in popularity. If farmers continue to increase their number of corn acres, they may rethink their sprayer choices.

“The market for self-propelled sprayers is growing as average farm size increases,” says Redball's Claussen. “Although trailer sprayers are the most economical for mid-sized and even larger farmers, farm size is driving a gradual shift toward self-propelled sprayers. We think trailer sprayer sales will be up slightly in 2007, but we think this market will flatten out after that as self-propelled sales increase.”