I don’t do product reviews very often. With an engineering background, it takes a lot to impress me. Most of the time I find myself asking the question: ‘I wonder why they didn’t do this?’ or ‘How many lines of code would it have taken for that?’
However, one product we purchased this spring has pleasantly met and exceeded our expectations. It is the Quick Draw chemical loader from SureFire Ag. This machine is meant to meter products and mix them for application. It does that and more.
Though they sent the local company rep to get the system started, designers made this product intuitive. Even so, the rep went through the operations and we calibrated the flow meter. Every question or scenario I came up with had already been solved. For operation, you enter your product rates and then your batch size in gallon or acres. You can save the recipe. The computer does the calculations for you. (Even if your product is not in totes and pumped in automatically, you are still told how much of each product to manually add.)
Then press start. The system can start your pump (if it’s electric) and load your tank. If there are any issues, such as a closed valve, empty container, or air in the flowmeter, it sets off an alarm and shuts down. If you choose to use it, a feature will allow you to keep track of fields and loads mixed. You are also able to pull in EPA registration numbers and products through an iPad. I’m sure over time I will learn to use features of the system even better.
The system can be permanently installed, but many farmers choose to mount it on their mobile nurse trailer. Since I wanted to be able to take advantage of mixing micro nutrients and other things into starter fertilizer, as well as prepare herbicide applications with water and 28%, I opted for the permanent install at our storage facility. It took a good chunk of time to complete the plumbing, but it is running smoothly.
The biggest benefits of this system are loading time and accuracy. I have cut my sprayer load time from half an hour to 12 minutes. Some days that could mean an extra load or two. Mixing is easy enough -- I could have someone load the tender tank and bring me a hot load at the field and be confident that the batch is correct. I don’t even have to get into metering accuracy - it’s environmentally and financially responsible.
Several people have asked how we’re getting along with the Quick Draw. I tell them it is probably our best investment (yes, investment—it was not cheap) since we bought a tile plow in 2011.
The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress.