Cheap guidance system

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Dusty Britches

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Lets talk tractor guide when spraying or putting out fertilizer.

I prefer to do things as cheaply as possible with as little impact on cash flow as possible. I remember when I first started spaying my own pastures, I would ball up toilet paper and throw out a fist sized ball to the end of the boom. Not exactly what I would call precise, but it was better than paying commercial operators and I didn't have the money to buy one of those fancy tractor mounted GPS systems.

As time marched on, I learned how to pick specific landscape markers to generally guide my drive. It was easier than the balled up TP but if I didn't pay attention I could easily get off the line. Then I learned about apps on my phone. The first app I tried was Farm Sprayer App worked decently for the first 20 minutes and then would cut off. Frustrating as hell. And I learned I wasn't the only one with that problem.

Then I asked my brother in law to design one (that's his business) and he said it was easier for me to use Field Navigator Parallel Driving System. I tried it but was disappointed in that the GPS wasn't very accurate and "skippy". I wasn't going to complain because the app only cost $15 (one time cost). It was obviously more capable that I could understand and was still better than anything else in my spraying evolution. This app has a "contact support" feature, so I asked them about the skippy. They recommended that I buy Garmin's GLO bluetooth GPS. It is palm sized and links to my phone, which is currently the Samsung Note S10. It cost about $100 for the GLO. What the heck, I thought. Still cheaper than those fancy high dollar systems.

GLO requires you to download Bluetooth GPS to use the app. Ok. Then the final thing to do was to hack into the phone's developer section and allow the use of a mock GPS. Yup - the phone thinks you are using Google's location but the mock provider overrides it and keeps Google from knowing where you are. I still smile when I think of that. :) I use the GLO a lot now, more than just spraying and it works well even when the phone doesn't have a signal.

I don't want to sound like I'm trying to sell this app, but it only works on Android systems (not Apple). It has a lot of customization that took me a long time to learn how to use but now I'm fairly efficient at it. I can spray with a six inch accuracy - yes with my phone and GLO. I was thinking about buying a dedicated tablet with a larger screen but for now, at $115 one time cost, I can spray well enough and close enough to not even consider buying a nice tractor mounted GPS system. Honestly I think I would pay a lot more and even annually for this app if they asked me to.

What have you all used and are currently using to maximize field spraying and fertilizer application?
 

1982vett

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I’ve started to hang empty hydraulic oil buckets and rinsed out 2, 4-d, remedy, and surfactant jugs on the fence posts at 50 ft intervals.

Still have to pat attention and remember which one to head for next….
 

Silver

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I'm guessing that once Elon has his Starlink in full service that gps guidance is going to go through a bit of a revolution.
In the meantime this Field Navigator systems sounds interesting.
 

Rydero

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We use Ez Guide 250 w/ EZ Steer. If you have acres to do I think a gps system with steering capability is worth investing in. Wasted inputs etc can pay for it and making your life better is a bonus.
 

simme

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Here is an economy foam marker for a sprayer with a boom. Don't laugh too much. It works pretty good so far. Have upgraded the attachment system on the tank. Upgraded from string to ratchet strap.

front.jpg

An old propane tank with a 12 volt tire compressor.
top.jpg
Clear tube out of center goes down the boom to a foam nozzle. NPT to garden hose brass adapter in the tank. Barbed hose fitting with a screw on connector for filling. Tire valve stem installed in the tank with an internal tube to the bottom of the tank. Check valve between the compressor and tank.
nozzle.jpg
Foam nozzle on end of boom.
switch.jpg
On-off switch mounted in a 1 inch section of PVC pipe with pipe caps - one drilled for the electric cord.

Add about a pint of dish soap or bubble bath to the tank, then fill with water. Takes about a minute to pressurize when you first turn it on. May be able to afford a factory package system one day if cattle prices improve.
 

simme

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Fields Area Measure is a free app that will tell you how many acres you have in a field. Map comes up in satellite view, navigate to your field, select boundary points and get the acreage. Handy to confirm acreage before you spray to help load the correct amount of water and herbicide. Especially for rented land where the other option is to guess at the acreage. Takes a little while to load the maps.
 

ccr

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Fields Area Measure is a free app that will tell you how many acres you have in a field. Map comes up in satellite view, navigate to your field, select boundary points and get the acreage. Handy to confirm acreage before you spray to help load the correct amount of water and herbicide. Especially for rented land where the other option is to guess at the acreage. Takes a little while to load the maps.

We use google earth to determine acreage for spraying.

google earth acreage.JPG
 

HDRider

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OK, don't laugh.

I tried Farm Sprayer app on my phone, that was awkward and they wanted more money.

I paid $8 per acre to have fertilizer put out. The money was not that big a deal, but they never could do it when I wanted it, right before a rain.

So, I now put it out first thing in the morning when I can see my tracks in the dew on grass. I put out yesterday and came out dead nuts to what I planned. Rained today. Yippee. Ran out of fertilizer when I ran out of ground. That was the best attempt yet, but I am always close enough to suit me.
 

wbvs58

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Here is an economy foam marker for a sprayer with a boom. Don't laugh too much. It works pretty good so far. Have upgraded the attachment system on the tank. Upgraded from string to ratchet strap.

View attachment 5267

An old propane tank with a 12 volt tire compressor.
View attachment 5268
Clear tube out of center goes down the boom to a foam nozzle. NPT to garden hose brass adapter in the tank. Barbed hose fitting with a screw on connector for filling. Tire valve stem installed in the tank with an internal tube to the bottom of the tank. Check valve between the compressor and tank.
View attachment 5269
Foam nozzle on end of boom.
View attachment 5270
On-off switch mounted in a 1 inch section of PVC pipe with pipe caps - one drilled for the electric cord.

Add about a pint of dish soap or bubble bath to the tank, then fill with water. Takes about a minute to pressurize when you first turn it on. May be able to afford a factory package system one day if cattle prices improve.
Nice neat little foam marker Simme, well done. I use a similar homemade setup and works well also. I just use a 20litre plastic drum, my non return valve is a pair of hemostats and my pump is a lower pressure/higher volume one bought cheaply on ebay, I use a foam marker concentrate dyed pink that is cheap to buy and a drink can cut in half on the end of the delivery hose where the foam builds up and drops out in a bigger blob that is easy to see.

Ken

Ken
 
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Dusty Britches

Dusty Britches

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Like most of my helpers - looks good but in reality better suited for staying on the porch. :D

simmie - that is awesome! I really like that!

That Field Navigator also measures fields with GPS or you can put the boundaries in yourself.
You can name multiple fields and save them. You can supposedly print a report that shows where you sprayed with all important info but I haven't figured that out yet.
It will get you down to a 1' accuracy.
You can stay on the parallel lines or follow the spray edge on the map. The parallel lines is much more accurate and easier to follow.
It will show you speed and 2 second updates on your accuracy. It tells you to move left or right to stay on the parallel line.
You customize it for your implement. My sprayer is 27' but when I rent the dry fertilizer spreader it spreads 30'-40' depending on what my application rate is. A few taps adjusts it.

With the bluetooth GPS and the always on screen, I do have to keep my phone plugged in. It will run on the battery for 4 or 5 hours.

Honestly, after figuring it all out I have to say I would pay a lot more than $15 for it.
 

Banjo

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I went to a grazing school a couple of years ago put on by the U of Ky. and they had something for atv's or side x side's they used when spreading clover......i don't remember what it was called but it seems like it was about $200. i think something like that would pay for itself cause i tend to overlap too much.
 

bird dog

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I also use the EZ guide 250 but I don't have the steering option. The foam marker I had worked well until you got into high grass and then it became difficult to see. The initial outlay for mine was about $1000 but after 10 years of using it, I feel I have easily recovered that in chemical, fertilizer and seed costs. Its now one of those things I would hate to do without.
 

damengineer

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I also use the EZ guide 250 but I don't have the steering option. The foam marker I had worked well until you got into high grass and then it became difficult to see. The initial outlay for mine was about $1000 but after 10 years of using it, I feel I have easily recovered that in chemical, fertilizer and seed costs. Its now one of those things I would hate to do without.
I got an EZ guide from Messicks. It was a little m ore expensive, $1500 took me 2 seasons to get it fiugred out, but it has saved a lot of fertilizer. I plant wheat into pasture and it is a must to know where you have been.
 

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