Investing in a sprayer: guidelines to assist the decisions

Published: 20 Sep 2018

Sprayers are critical implements on a broadacre cropping farm. Choosing the right sprayer and justifying its ownership cost can be challenging. Taking a structured approach to assessing your needs will help reduce the stress and uncertainty of the decision.

Key points

  • The capital invested in a sprayer is significant and a thorough assessment of the investment return should be undertaken prior to purchase.
  • In some instances, the best economic decision may be to utilise contractors for specialised spray tasks rather than own a machine suited to all tasks.
  • Alternative uses for equipment (particularly tractors used to pull a tow-behind machine) and the number of hours per annum are key determinants in the most suitable type of machine and cost of ownership.
  • Before upgrading your sprayer consider options to increase the overall efficiency of an existing machine.

Structured decision making approach

Step 1. What tasks and timelines do i need to achieve?

The targets around getting necessary spraying-based tasks completed on time vary considerably from business to business.

Some examples of spraying objectives include:

  • the capacity to complete post-emergent grass-selective herbicide application before weeds start tillering;
  • the capacity to spray a cereal crop variety in three days (rust or disease control);
  • the capacity to get chemical out within a short window of opportunity during winter; and
  • the ability to apply herbicides during late stages of crop development (crop-top).

Step 2. What will affect these timelines?

Besides physical limitations, such as a sprayer’s clearance height, the ability of your equipment to meet objectives in a timely manner will be influenced by the work rate of the machine in the paddock and efficiencies impacting on timeliness outside the paddock.

(Read the full fact sheet for more info)

Step 3. Assessing the options: owning, using contractors or a combination

The options are either self-ownership or use of contractors. A combination of the two is also possible. The key questions to ask with respect to each of these options include the following;

(Read the full fact sheet for more info)

Step 4. Ownership and costs: what can be justified?

Justifying an investment in a sprayer is a balance between financial and non-financial considerations. The primary financial consideration is cost of ownership, which will be influenced by the following.

(Read the full fact sheet for more info)

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Region: National