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Would Farmers Pay to Convert Sprayer to Seed Cover Crops?

Sprayer to seeder conversion for cover crops could be a business niche that produces extra farm income for someone who can do it.

Tom Bechman 1

September 29, 2013

2 Min Read

Clint Arnholt did his homework before he decided how to rig up his Hagie sprayer with a Valmar seeder to distribute cover crop seed on a timely basis in both corn and soybeans. Once he decided how he wanted to do it, it took himself and a partner just a few days to make the conversion and work out the bugs.

“Next time we should be able to switch it much faster,” Arnholt says. “We were doing this on our own and we had to figure out how to make things fit and worked. It wasn’t that difficult-it just took time.”

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It wasn’t difficult for Arnholt, Columbus, because he is mechanically inclined. If you’re not good with a wrench or thinking intuitively about how to alter things to make them work, converting a sprayer to seed cover crops and then back to a sprayer again could be a nightmare.

Arnholt bases much of his farming income on custom work, applying lime and other products, and soil sampling and mapping for other farmers. Now he’s wondering if there might be a niche need for someone to install seeders on sprayers for other farmers who want to try it in the future.

Part of that may depend upon how cover crops fare this year. A lot of cover crops have been seeded, particularly in certain areas of the state where a soil and water conservation district, seed dealer or farmer is pushing the concept. If the cover crops perform well and farmers can kill them on time and get their regular crop planted normally next spring, the interest in cover crops might grow even more.

Seeding from a ground applicator like a sprayer lets you be timely. The sprayer needs to have lots of clearance for it to work seeding cover crops.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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