Funding new sprayer means big reduction in application costs
Investing in a new trailed sprayer has significantly reduced application costs for Evesham-based farming business, Shanael Farms Ltd. The 900+ acre dairy and arable operation with a total head count of 800 Pedigree Holsteins, also grows around 230 acres of winter wheat and 420 acres of maize for forage. The rest is down to permanent pasture for grazing and forage production.
Business Director, Steve Miller said, “Up until 2017, we used to use contractors for our chemical applications, but expansion to our dairy business meant we needed more staff and there was a definite plan to become ultra-efficient in every sector of our operation. We are currently milking a herd of 410, three times a day, averaging 13,800 litres. Taking on additional staff meant we were able to release some of our time to carry out more tasks for ourselves instead of using a contractor.”
Chemical applications was the first area to be reviewed and according to Steve’s calculations, they could be more timely and cost-effective by applying their own crop protection chemicals. In 2017, the business purchased a new John Deere 732i Trailed Sprayer from TAG. It came with a 24m boom (in 3m sections), hydraulically driven pump and a tank capacity of 3200 litres.
“There was nothing wrong with the quality of work from our contractor,” added Steve, “it was more that you tend to have to blanket apply when the contractor is available and we wanted to isolate each field and spray at exactly the right time. Having our own sprayer with the very latest specification allows us to do that. It’s proven to be absolutely the right decision.”
The John Deere 732i sprayer comes with self-levelling booms, section control - for auto-shut-off and is currently fitted with triple nozzle options, but can take up to five variations. Crop and application data is fed through Steve’s ‘myjohndeere’ account and together with the accuracy of the sprayer, he is able to be very precise on ordering quantities of chemical without having wasted left-overs
“We are considering going into liquid fertiliser,” added Steve “and this sprayer is set-up to handle that as well as applying chemical so it gives us a lot of flexibility. It’s a brilliant sprayer, very accurate, easy to maintain and clean and the crops are looking really well - no signs of scorching or overspray, it’s doing a really good job. I get all the help I need from Trevor and John at TAG - it’s been so easy to operate that I haven’t really needed a lot of training - it’s simple and I’m really pleased with the sprayer, I can’t fault it.”
Annual maintenance checks are carried-out by the TAG service team and Steve helps out on the servicing to gain his NRoSO and Basis points. “by financing the sprayer, it’s costing about the same that our contractor would charge.” enthused Steve, “However, this sprayer will last way past the finance plan and in the long term, that will save us a lot of cost. That’s a no-brainer in anyone’s books.”