The Sharp Edge: Building sprayer tender trailers, with Shawridge Farms

Shawridge Farms sprayer operator Matthew Musselman

Covering 40,000 acres a year with a sprayer is a big job.

At Shawridge Farms, a large cash crop and commercial grain elevator operation located in Arthur, Ont., that responsibility falls primarily to sprayer operator Matthew Musselman. So how does one guy get over all those acres? He gets a lot of help from the farm’s sprayer tender: a 50-foot, five-axle trailer with 10,000 gallons of water carrying capacity and an automatic mix mate to help mix chemical. It services the farm’s primary sprayer — a John Deere R4060 with a 1,600 gallon tank and a 120-foot boom.

On this episode of The Sharp Edge, Musselman and Maizex agronomist Adam Parker take viewers all around and inside the workings of the trailer, which also carries up to five different chemical products at any one time. It can be loaded in 25 minutes and Musselman notes that it’s plumbed with four-inch plumbing to ‘future proof’ it for the expected growth of the equipment it serves.

In the video, Musselman and Parker walk through a normal load procedure and talk about the efficiencies the trailer brings to Shawridge’s spraying program. For starters, load times have been reduced significantly. “We run between five and eight minutes from the time I pull up with the sprayer until I am backing away from the tender again, to fill that 1,600 gallons.”

Since Musselman started working with the trailer, idle engine hours for the sprayer have been reduced to 12 to 15 per cent — down from 35 per cent. “That’s a big reduction in that non-productive time with our sprayer.” (Story continues after the video.)

The trailer carries a Praxidyn Mixmate automated chemical mixing system with automated record keeping. “There’s no questioning the math on mixing. Everything is done from the tablet on the mixing system,” adds Musselman.

To make the sprayer operation more efficient, the trailer also carries enough diesel fuel to keep the sprayer running. “Every day I’m able to fuel up at the end of the night. We’re not worried about running out of fuel or having to pull someone away from another operation to bring fuel to the sprayer.”

Tap here for more episodes of The Sharp Edge.

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