Custom Application or DIY? That is the Question…
This month’s flyer from 21st Century Equipment focuses on the decisions you have to make for your farm. One major decision is whether to purchase your own spraying equipment and apply crop protection products yourself…or hire a custom applicator to do the job for you.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It comes down to your individual preference, management, cash flow, and resources (including time). In the next few paragraphs, we’ll walk through some of the information you’ll want to consider as you decide to go DIY or custom.
Time sensitivity is a major reason that many farmers choose to purchase their own spray equipment. Weather (especially wind and rain) can narrow the window for application, and you may not be able to be on a waiting list with your local custom applicator. Owning your own spray equipment gives you total control over when your applications happen.
So what factors should you consider as you make the decision between custom application or doing it yourself? The number of acres you have is an important consideration. Does it make economic sense for you to purchase the equipment yourself given the amount of ground you have to cover? How critical is application timing to the specific crops you grow—and how well-equipped is your local supplier to respond quickly when the need is greatest?
There is also the investment of time. How many other operations and responsibilities are you personally handling for your farm?
If you want to apply regulated pesticides, you will need to go through an education and certification process.
Working with a custom applicator has its advantages as well. Importantly, they carry liability insurance that will provide compensation in the event something happens to the crop as a result of the application. If you apply yourself, you’re not covered in the event of a damaged crop and, as a result, you’re exposing yourself to some level of risk.
Qualified custom applicators will have highly trained staff handling the application and the preparation of crop protection products. They will also make the investment to keep their equipment and technology current.
If you opt for custom application, take time to find a supplier with whom you can build a relationship and trust. They will work with you to plan ahead as your crop matures—and that can help both of you better predict and schedule your critical applications.
With new AgLogic technology, custom applicators can pinpoint the location of all of their machines and send out wireless communications to their employees to maximize efficiency and response times. Wireless technology also allows us to diagnose sprayer problem remotely—and that works for both DYI farmers and custom applicators.
Contact 21st Century Equipment to learn more about the sprayer options available to you in terms of both equipment and financing. We can help you gather the information you need to make the right decision for your farm between doing it yourself—or hiring the work done.