Originally published on June 12, 2003


A couple of weeks ago I sat in a $280,000 high clearance sprayer.  While I have never sat in a monster truck, this must have been pretty close.

The spray booms spanned 30 metres and the engine was rated at 200 horsepower.  From the cab, you definitely got the feeling that you were king of the road.

While the price tag for one of these machines befits a king, there is more than one high clearance sprayer sitting in prairie machine sheds.

Some farmers have been able to justify ownership while others continue to let their local sprayer service do the job for them.

How many acres do you need to spray to buy one of these rigs? Are we smarter to give this work to our local sprayer service? 

Using actual costs from a custom spray applicator, I have recreated the essential custom sprayer assumptions in table three. You will notice that this custom operator expects to do 390 hours of spraying each year, or 35,100 in-field acres.  Since custom acres may stretch out to a 160 kilometre radius of the chemical dealer, this custom sprayer requires a tow trailer, truck and water tanker to properly service these acres.




Using actual costs for a farmer who does sideline spraying in his community, I have set out my farmer sprayer assumptions in table four.

This spraying unit does not use a trailer and truck to get to in-field acres.  Instead, the operator drives the unit to and from the field. 

In table one, I have compared the two alternatives.  For the farmer described in table four, his costs equal that of his local custom sprayer provider when he has 187 hours of in-field spraying, or 15,895 in-field acres.  Any fewer acres would mean he is paying more per acre by having his own sprayer.

For a farmer to even consider buying a high clearance sprayer, he should have about 15,895 in-field acres, or 187 hours of in-field sprayer work.

If you don't have those acres, you would probably be financially better off to let your local custom applicator keep its title of king of the road.



Allyn Tastad, chartered professional accountant, is a partner in the accounting firm of Hounjet Tastad Harpham in Saskatoon at 306-653-5100, e-mail at allyn@hth-accountants.ca or website www.hth-accountants.ca. All data and information provided is for informational purposes only. Readers are cautioned that laws and regulations are subject to change. Consult your accountant for current professional advice tailored to your situation.