What do you do when you have a Self-Propelled Sprayer that is costing up to $120 per hour to run and you know you need the best field efficiency? Yes, field efficiencies are important however, what is often overlooked is the non-field efficiencies/inefficiencies. These factors can be improved at relatively low cost, regardless of what spraying outfit is used. Some of these non-field factors is what Wenballa Farms decided to take advantage of.
Non-field efficiencies are factors that impact the timeliness of the spraying operation. These factors can include:
• Fill time
• Travel time
• Clean-out time
• Tank size – matched to paddock size
What was done?
Like most progressive farmers the Mill’s of Wenballa Farms wanted to spend less time filling and more time spraying. When the Mill’s designed one of their filling stations on one of their farms they wanted to reduce the filling times by installing the tanks in an open space to allow the self propelled sprayer to pull in and refill without folding up the boom via 3 inch pipework, saving valuable spraying minutes.
All of these valuable spraying minutes add up when most of the Mill’s paddocks are sprayed up to 6 times in the year, 2x summer weed sprays 2x pre-emergent, 2x post emergent.
Their tank setup included enough water and liquid fertiliser to keep up with the spraying program, which can be up to 40,000ltrs per day. This includes enough of a buffer for the time that it takes for the tanks to be refilled. The setup is also setup with ease of access for contractors with a nicely graded track for the trucks to unload liquid fertiliser.
What was the impact?
Timeliness costs can hit you two fold- a reduction in returns as well as increased costs when a cropping operation isn’t completed on time. Delays in controlling weeds on a fallow block will mean less moisture is stored in the soil which may decrease future crop yields, ultimately reducing your bottom line.
Summer Weeds in Agriculture: Farmer's Enemy [What to Do]
Consider that your sprayer, on average, only spends 25% of its engine hours in a season spraying it make sense to tackle every non-field efficiency.
By not having to fold booms and having 3 inch fill pipes (instead of 2 inch) saves the Wenballa Farms enough money to pay for a holiday abroad to two people, not to mention the fact that if crops are sprayed within their best time frame the yield returns can be increased, further increasing spending money for their hypothetical holiday. Oh, and the Mill's get to spend more time with their kids when they get daily their spraying done quicker!