Precision Planting enters sprayer market – AgriNews

TREMONT, Ill. — A company that has focused on planting technologies for nearly 30 years announced Jan. 17 its first move into adding sprayer technology.

“Today is a big day in the history of Precision Planting as we announce the expansion of our product line into the retrofit sprayer technology market,” said Justin McMenamy, Precision Planting director of product.

Precision Planting is developing products for all brands of sprayers that are already being used. Technologies in the pipeline include improving the priming process, a nozzle control system that maintains constant pressure even when changing rates and speed and vision-based technologies aimed at improving sprayer guidance and precision spray applications, including target spraying.

“Our passion for the planter is not done. Precision Planting was built on passion for the planter, and I assure you that passion continues both today, as well as the future,” McMenamy said.

“Today is not the beginning of the story for us as we look into sprayers. It’s been over three years that our research and development has been looking at sprayers to understand the status quo, to understand the equipment that is used, understand the practices that have been used, understand the opportunity of a herbicide program when everything goes great and understand the frustrations of equipment or the herbicide program when things don’t go well.”

Precision Planting expanded its focus into spraying technology due to the economic and agronomic impacts the equipment has on farms.

“Depending on your operation, there could be up to 25% of the input cost that are applied through the sprayer,” McMenamy said.

“If we go back far enough in history, most sprayers used to be owned by large industrial farms, co-ops or custom applicators. But as the cost and the complexity of the herbicide program continued to go up over the last years and the chemistry gets more and more nuisance for each farm, it has become more and more common to be able to pencil out the purchase of a sprayer on the farm.

“Over the last five or six years there has been a huge uptick in growers that have said they can pencil out, just sometimes off of custom application fees alone, the purchase of a sprayer. It has a big economic impact on a farm with a sprayer.”

Precision Planting has focused on maximizing yield potential with seed placement and sprayer technology complements that.

“It is the planter that sets the yield potential. It is the sprayer that protects that yield potential across the year from disease, pests or anything else that would attack that crop. The agronomic impact of good functioning equipment, good functioning sprayer, is actually quite large on a farm, as well,” McMenamy said.

Here are details of the sprayer products in the R&D pipeline.

Reclaim Priming, Recirculation

Traditional sprayers require farmers or operators to spray product to the ground to prime the width of the boom fully. Many times, more than 50 gallons of product is sprayed, causing a hot spot of chemicals.

With ReClaim added to sprayers, chemicals mixed in the tank can be circulated through the booms and back to the tank, never having to spray a drop of chemical to the ground.

“ReClaim uses a single rocker switch in the cab to engage recirculation, and once recirculation is completed, farmers are ready to spray with the correctly mixed chemical across the entire boom,” McMenamy said. “ReClaim is designed to be retrofit onto a farmer’s existing sprayer with electric or standard nozzles.”

Symphony Nozzle Control System

Many sprayer nozzles have a change in pressure when the sprayer operating speed or rate is changed. This change in pressure changes droplet sizes, increasing the risk of drift or reducing leaf coverage of the spray, and results in reduced efficacy.

The Symphony nozzle control system allows the sprayer to maintain constant pressure even when changing rates or speed.

“When spraying to kill weeds or diseases, it is important to get consistent spray patterns across the field, even when changing speeds or rates,” said Luke Stuber, Symphony product manager, Precision Planting.

“Symphony maintains consistent pressure across the boom, along with swath control and turn compensation for consistent spray coverage across every acre of the field.”

Controlled by the Precision Planting Gen3 20|20 system, Symphony will be field tested again in the spring of 2022.

Vision-Based Technologies

Precision Planting announced multiple applications of cameras on a sprayer, all being developed by the Precision Planting research and development team. The vision technologies will pair with the 20/20 Gen 3 system and will be further field-tested in the spring of 2022.

Vision-based Guidance: Post spraying crops is a high-fatigue job on the farm, often with the operator hand-driving the sprayer to keep from running over crops. Vision guidance steers the sprayer in the crop rows, allowing the operator to focus on sprayer operations and not on steering, all while preventing running over crops and providing a significant reduction in operator fatigue.

Vision Scouting: One of the best times to check for even crop emergence and stand counts is when most farmers make a post-emergence spray pass. Vision-based scouting will provide farmers with a snapshot of their stand count in the field and information about how evenly the crops emerged, letting them know if there are areas of the field to which they should pay more attention.

Vision-based Weed ID: Vision-based weed ID uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to see and categorize each plant seen in the field as a crop, a broadleaf weed, or a grass weed. With this information, a map of weed pressure can be created that allows farmers to understand the type of weeds and the variability in pressure across the field.

Targeted spraying technology: Precision Planting’s Symphony Nozzle control system is being designed to pair with the Precision Planting vision module for targeted spraying.

“The combination of vision and Symphony will allow spray rates to be varied within the label rate to be effective against the weed pressure in a specific area,” said Jason Stoller, Vision product manager, Precision Planting.

“We know that a high percentage of sprayer passes growing use a residual herbicide, so targeting only weeds does not allow for the value of the residual herbicide to be present in the field.

“We are actively researching the best way to spot spray growing weeds while at the same time laying down a blanket residual herbicide in order to control emerging weeds, all using the 20/20, Symphony and Vision technologies.”

Farmer Insight

Farmers Josh and Mary Pat Sass, of Woodstock, and Carl Dodge, of Masonville, who have used Precision Planting technology on their farms, were panelists at the Jan. 18 media event and gave their reactions to the new technologies announced that day.

“This is going to be a game-changer for a lot of people. I see how tired we are at the end of the day after having steered through cornfields all day with a sprayer, and the efficiency part with spot spraying is going to be huge for guys getting across more acres, getting more things done, and the sustainability , as well with using less product on the same acres,” Josh Sass said.

“The idea of ​​spot spraying is pretty exciting. Being on social media, a lot of people ask us about what we are doing to be sustainable and care about the environment, ‘Why are you just blowing out all of these chemicals?’ We’ve all explained many, many times that all of this stuff you see coming out of the sprayer is mostly water. It’s almost all water. There’s just a tiny bit of active ingredient in there,” Dodge said.

“But if we could go out there and just spray each weed individually and nothing else, that would be unbelievable. That would be a cool story about what we’re doing to save costs, save environmental pollution and be even more sustainable because part of sustainability is turning a profit. If we are not profitable, we are not sustaining our operation.”


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