With fields spread over a 25-mile area, Auburn, IL, farmer Tim Seifert uses a truck rather than a tractor to get from field to field with his sprayer.
“The truck gives me a lot of versatility,” he says. “It's air-conditioned, comfortable and has a lot of room in the cab. My dad runs the sprayer sometimes, and he operates his ag supply business from the cab.”
Seifert doesn't pre-mix any chemicals at the farm. “The local chemical company, two miles from my farm, mixes all the herbicides for me,” he says. “That really wouldn't be practical with a tractor sprayer. When the truck is loaded, I'm down the road. I can travel safely at 45-50 mph on the road without the nurse tank, and I spray at 15 mph.”
To build his sprayer, Seifert bought a used Ford F-350 pickup and had an 800-gallon tank and 55' booms mounted on it. He equipped the unit with a Dickey-John spray controller, Ag Leader lightbar and a hydraulic pump to power the sprayer.
“We replaced the original tires with 10:00/20 tires to increase our crop clearance and reduce compaction,” he says. “The bigger tires leave less of a footprint and the beans bounce back a little faster. With the original tires, some beans would get snapped off and wouldn't recover.”
Seifert set up the boom so he can manually turn sections on and off, plus electric controls in the cab divide the boom into one third and two thirds for finishing up small areas of fields. “I prefer to use the lightbar in large fields, but still use foam when I'm spraying terraces and small patches,” he says.
Four Redball monitors mounted on the truck bed are visible from the rearview mirror and indicate to Seifert that the nozzles behind the spray tank are functioning. A stainless steel tank and compressor salvaged from a foam marker provide a 15-gallon, pressurized rinse tank.
“When I load, I only put 500 gallons in the tank to reduce compaction. And there's less chance that the mix will slop out of the tank,” he says. “I added a shock hitch and pull a 1,600-gallon nurse tank with me so I can spray 210 acres before I need another fill.”
Seifert keeps track of every acre sprayed using the application sheet provided by his chemical company. “It already lists the amount of chemical and water that were mixed and what field it is to be applied to,” he says. “Before I spray I fill in the information for wind speed and direction, temperature, time of day and humidity. I keep the sheets in a notebook in the truck so I've always got my records with me.
“If there are any control problems, or any questions about the conditions when I sprayed, I've got all the data recorded. And I back it up with National Weather Service data when I'm through.”