Gear that sells itself
By LARRY KERSHNER email@example.com SPENCER — A sprayer, a planter tool bar and a few precision planting monitors comprises the gear that Brokaw Supply, of Fort Dodge, brought to the 2012 Clay County Fair. What the company lacks in comparative quantity, however, it makes up for in quality. The 2012 Clay County Fair got under way on Sept. 8 and continues all this week and ends Sunday. Craig Harthoorn, Brokaw’s sales manager, said the equipment his company has on display in Block 3 on the fairgrounds, is designed to get farmers attention that could almost sell themselves. The Apache AS 1020 sprayer is a 2011 model, Harthoorn said. “There is a 2012 model, the AS 1025 but we didn’t get it in time to bring to the fair,” he said. Where the 1020 has a Tier 3 engine, with removable panels to access the engine compartment, the 1025 upgrades include a tilt-up hood to reach the new Tier 4 engine. “These sprayers are designed for the farmer,” Harthoorn said. Even though commercial operators find these machines to their liking, Harthoorn said the market for farmers is the fastest growing segment of self-propelled sprayers. They are applicable for all spraying needs, whether for nitrogen side-dressing, pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. “Hands down they are the most cost-effective sprayer (for farmers) but they are also a businessman’s sprayer as well,” he said. The biggest selling point he thinks is Apache’s five-year warranty on the frame and drive train. Most sprayer companies offer two-year warranties. But in five years, a lot of expensive things can go wrong, and Apache’s longer warranty ought to attract farmers’ interest. Brokaw also feature Blu-Jet planting tool bars, which Harthoorn described as “fantastic tools for fall ammonia application.” The bars can adjust to row widths of 15 to 21 inches and rugged enough to handle the toughest Iowa field, he said. Fall field work is when fields are at their toughest, he said, “and toolbars take a beating.” The Blu-Jet’s 47.5-foot length, shorter than other models, makes it more versatile and requires less horsepower to pull,. “Not everyone has 300- and 400-horsepower tractors,” he said. From Precision Planting are monitors that track the new 20/20 Delta Force down force system. Phil Draude, Brokaw’s sale manager for precision agriculture, said the Delta Force system uses hydraulics for its down force when planting. Four years ago, Draude said, Precision Planting introduced the 20/20 AirForce system, which was the first tool to provide automatic down force control. By sensing the weight carried on row-unit gauge wheels, the 20/20 air system maintained consistent seed depth while reducing excess weight that can lead to root zone compaction. With DeltaForce, he said, Precision Planting gives growers a choice for automated control. Weight sensors and hydraulic cylinders on every row allow each row to independently react to the changing soil conditions. While shrinking the controlled zone from planter width to row width, this allows the system to compensate and correct the variation of weight and force between rows. The DeltaForce System is controlled by 20/20 SeedSense. It’s a simple retrofit system that replaces airbag or spring down force systems. It utilizes the tractor’s hydraulic system to power the row-by-row, dual-acting hydraulic cylinders. The accompanying monitors allows the farmer to track where each row’s compaction issues are and down force required to plant the seed at the proper depth. The monitor tracks seed population per acre and acres planted and shows how the planter is riding, overall, across the field.