Not Your Father’s John Blue Sprayer

Farming has always been a source of relaxation for me. After putting in a full day of work at Mid-Atlantic Services, I find it very enjoyable to spend the evening on a tractor where I just have to concentrate on the job at hand and leave everything else behind.

One job I particularly like is spraying. Running my own sprayer has done much to improve our equipment because I get first-hand knowledge of the challenges associated with doing a good job of spraying.

About six years ago I took home one of our 500 gallon sprayers with a 50′ boom and that is what I have sprayed with ever since. My tractor was a John Deere 5500 which had a limited hydraulic system and I was only able to run the hydraulic-driven pump or boom functions one at a time.  I could never adjust the boom on the fly, but had to stop to make any changes. This was particularly cumbersome when crossing a waterway at any angle at all. 

Recently I purchased a used Deere 6603 which has a much better hydraulic system. Now I can operate my pump and my boom at any time. I sprayed a 40-acre field last Saturday and was amazed at how much time it saved to be able to adjust the booms at any time. I had never been able to use the joystick properly since I only had a Fasse electric over hydraulic control for my additional outlet in the tractor. What a pleasure it was to spray with the joystick control.

I remember quoting a sprayer to a farmer who objected to the joystick, thinking it would be too hard to learn. I adapted to it in minutes since the only on-the-go adjustments are usually wing tilt and overall boom height adjustments. I never could figure out how operators sprayed in the days of no foam markers or GPS, and now I can’t imagine spraying without hydraulic folding and leveling booms.

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