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Serving: United States

Pros and cons of custom application

According to custom applicators, as many as half of Midwest corn and soybean farmers do their own postemergent applications of chemicals but rely on custom applicators to apply preplant herbicides and insecticides. However, Dr. Dennis Gardisser, extension agricultural engineer with the University of Arkansas, sees a trend toward more commercial applications of postemergent chemicals because of all the regulations applicators must follow.

“It is hard to keep up with,” he says. “An applicator needs to spend about half of his time in school staying up on the labels, regulations and record-keeping requirements just to stay in the ball game. So I see a lot of growers who are saying, ‘I'm going to hire someone to do it because I don't have the time.’”

The advantages of hiring someone to spray your fields are that you are getting a professional job, have less exposure to chemicals, and have no machinery and maintenance expense. On the flip side, doing the job yourself can save money in labor. And you don't have to wait for someone to fit you into his schedule.

“Timing is critical when it comes to applying pesticides, and your application window is usually not very wide,” says Timothy Weber, seed representative and crop division manager with Myers in Lexington, IL. “So the proper equipment, labor and knowledge are very important.” He adds that growers who hire their pesticide application need that service to help spread the workload so it gets done at the proper time and in a timely manner.

Kent Syth, ag equipment dealer with Ag Systems, a distributor for Case IH sprayer equipment, says doing the job yourself can make sense if you have enough acres and available labor. But you must be qualified to do the job. “There is more to the job than just jumping in your rig,” Syth says. “There is a right way and wrong way to do it. And if the wrong way is costing you 5 bu./acre, you'd be better off hiring a professional who is trained to make sure the product is put in the right place.”

Business of buying department

More seed treatments in use

A study released by consulting firm Phillips McDougall shows that the global seed treatment market has grown at an annual rate of 5.8% since 1997. The total market is valued at $930 million. Market share is allocated as follows:

  • Western Europe: 41.4%
  • North America: 15.6%
  • Latin America: 12.4%
  • East Asia: 9.4%
  • Eastern Europe: 8.6%
  • Rest of world: 12.6%

MachineryLink rents tractors

After a small pilot program last season, ag machinery rental specialist MachineryLink has announced that it is making more 180- and 210-hp New Holland tractors available to farmers for the 2004 season. The tractor program offers short- to long-term rental options for the New Holland tractors, as well as the larger Case IH MX 240 and MX 270 tractors. Like the company's combine rental program that started in 2001, the tractor rental program includes maintenance, servicing and transportation.

For more information about tractor or combine rental from MachineryLink, call 888/272-3323 or visit

eBay financing

EBay is offering a new financing option through Direct Capital Corporation Equipment for farm equipment priced $2,000 or more. As part of its service, Direct Capital provides inspection checks to ensure the quality of the products being sold.

To use the financing option, buyers complete an online application and, once approved, may purchase items up to a specified financing amount. Direct Capital sends the payment to the seller once the transaction is completed. Sellers enroll in the program and include a link to the financing service with their eBay item listings. The equipment financing program can be accessed at