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We're looking for some sage advice, please. :rolleyes: We are a small operation in central TX. We have about 16 acres of coastal bermuda that we round bale. We spray the field ourselves with our 38HP Kubota tractor and a small sprayer with about a 13 foot boom. We spray mostly to control grass burs and johnson grass. We only got 1 cutting in 2015 but our neighbor who bales for us said it was the best hay he had seen all year. We kept some of the round bales for our horses and they are thriving.

We are looking for advice on how to spray straight lines with minimal overlap and to avoid missing large swaths.

Here are some things we've tried since I got my applicator license 2 years ago. Remember - we're tenderfoot beginners with limited resources. First year we tried a homemade foamer. My husband got the idea from youtube :) He put tubing down the boom that was attached to a small air compressor. It was fantastic until the compressor burned out 3/4 way through "the spray." The next time we tried a better compressor and the same thing happened. We ended up missing an entire swath so I was out there with a wheel barrow cutting grass burs off a few weeks later before they matured. THAT was fun. :cool: But - we are now ready to spray again in about a week. I have looked and looked for Apps on my phone to help with GPS spraying. The only one I've found is one called Farm Spryer for my iPhone which is way too small and is not very accurate. You have to stare at the phone, try to drive and the gps picture of your swath is behind you instead of guiding you. We've tried to figure a way to mount a tablet but ?? Do any of you have an App that works really well that you could recommend? Our neighbor says to follow your tractor tracks but that certainly hasn't worked. I've asked all around and looked on eBay, etc for for used foamers. Some locals sort of chuckle and keep their "secret spraying advice" to themselves. Or they have huge equipment and a big business. I would like some advice from others who may have faced the same challenge. Thanks in advance for anything that has worked for you..we love our hay and want to keep it that way :)
 

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I've been looking into apps for smartphones (I have droid myself) and there's a few things in the App Store... I haven't tried any of them yet. From what I understand, you need an antenna that will plug into the port on your phone, and from what I've read, they recommend a tablet for a larger display. I've seen some that work very similar to the light-bar guidance system I run at my BIL's place in Indiana (a Trimble EZ-Guide 250). You can use the lightbar display across the top to give steering cues right or left to remain "on the line" (the reference line, dependent on the mode the GPS unit is operating in, usually "A-B" lines, "adaptive curve" lines, etc.) Use this in concert with the "painting" of the field as you apply to show any gaps or overlaps (in the case of the Trimble EZ-Guide 250, green on a yellow background shows what's been sprayed (yellow is unsprayed) and overlaps appear as brown on the yellow background (brown being where the overlap "doubled up" on the application). I find that basically I have to use both inputs simultaneously to run a straight line while minimizing overlaps and gaps. The "painting" of the field is a handy visual reference of how well you're doing at minimizing overlaps and gaps, but isn't very useful for steering-- the lines and lightbar cues are much more important for that.

Here's a link I found to an article that might be what you're looking for. The other option is getting a low-end GPS guidance system... my BIL had an older used lightbar that he used for several years before it finally gave out and the board couldn't be repaired; we were in the middle of planting and pre-emerge spraying season so he bought the EZ Guide 250 as a replacement so we could get back in the field. It has a good size screen and the 'paint' feature that the old system didn't have, so it's a lot better... the learning curve is pretty good if you read the starter materials and manuals... just takes a little getting used to. If *I* can do it, anybody can. The system was about $750-800 bucks, without the larger antenna, which he could reuse from his older system, (which would have added another $300-400 bucks to the price, so for a total driveout price of around $1000-1100 bucks if you're starting from scratch). The other option is a good used system, which can be had for less... The basic system came with a little roughly 1 inch square antenna that is acceptable, but greater accuracy is available with the larger dome-shaped antennas. Depending on your land contour and what you're doing, the small antenna is probably acceptable and negates the need for the more expensive upgrade antenna.

Here's the link I mentioned...

http://gpsworld.com/new-app-for-farmers-enables-smartphone-nav-in-the-field/

A good foamer system will cost about as much, if not more than, a good low-end new GPS system, and foamers have a lot of drawbacks from what I've read (and my brother in law's experience with them, which they had before the GPS system on his 45 foot field sprayer) so I wouldn't think of buying a new foamer system versus a new basic GPS system...

You asked about mounts-- they have some various types of ball mounts for the GPS unit that the BIL bought with this system called "Ram Mounts" that come in very handy-- might find them online or on Feebay or the like... would probably work well with a tablet and guidance app situation too...

Good luck! OL J R :)
 

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When our foam marker quit on our 3point Blumhardt with 70 ft booms is when dad decided to upgrade to a basic Outback lightbar. At that time it was like 800 bucks new. Foam marker will get the job done better than looking at your tracks and guessing like we did with the old pickup sprayer. But I'd choose the lightbar if you can find a cheaper used one.
 

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What shape is your field? If it has straight rows, go low tech and put flags at each end 25 ft apart (oposite end offset) and drive straight toward the next flag. Don't waste your time using the GPS in a smart phone. If you don't have another use for a dedicated GPS I'd go for a foam marker. We use a tejet matrix GPS system but still use the foam marker some on our 45' sprayer. (a larger CropCare foam marker) . At 13ft the foam will be more accurate, in my opinion than GPS unless you get auto steer (big bucks). Once your boom gets over 45 or 60 feet the GPS will be more accurate than following foam blobs that are 30 ft out there.
If all you are going to do is spray and spread fert a simple gps guidance system will do. (They aren't upgradeable for boom section control etc) If you farm curves make sure you get a model that has last pass contour guidance. The teejet centerline 220 mentioned above will work fine for straight or very nearly straight rows but is useless for us and our contoured fields.
 

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About GPS in phones. The internal GPS in the phone is not fast or accurate enough to be of use for guidance. I have that Farmsprayer app and have tried using it for record keeping, but that app is junk. There is another called eFarmer that I want to demo this spring, but it has a 250 licence fee to get full use, I doubt it's worth it.
 

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Here is a stone aged way we done for years. 3 people two flag poles, one drives the tractor and one person at each end of the field. First you measure the width of you swath measure it out on the ground and the two flaggers step it to see how many paces each needs to step for said width. With that done each get at their respective place and begin. On the first pass the driver starts at the other end the flagger steps the turn around for the driver, after the driver has his place that person steps the drive to point at that end of the field. At the opposite end the other person is already in position for the driver to line up on and drive to and the whole procedure just repeat's. You may laugh at this but it works, and the best part is NO COST!! We done this for years before foam markers and GPS, spraying and spreading fertilizer. It's very hard to drive across a field strait, if you ever take your eyes off the drive to point such as a tree, fence post ect. its over.
 

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New App for Farmers Enables Smartphone Nav in the Field
March 16, 2015 - By GPS World staff

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Agribus-NAVI

A new app available on the Google Play store enables farmers to use their smartphone in the field.

AgriBus-NAVI is a GPS guidance system to mount on agricultural machinery such as tractors, combines and self-propelled sprayers to help with straight-line tasks in the field. Checking the display while driving will enable the creation of straight and evenly spaced lines in large fields.

The app, which is compatible with Android 4.0 and above smartphones and tablets, doesn't offer the automatic steering functionality that dedicated precision agriculture GPS devices usually do.

The app, by Agri Info Design, is based on the software "Agricultural Vehicle Navigation Software for Field Operation" and a patent "JP-4572417-B2″ developed by National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO).
 

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About GPS in phones. The internal GPS in the phone is not fast or accurate enough to be of use for guidance. I have that Farmsprayer app and have tried using it for record keeping, but that app is junk. There is another called eFarmer that I want to demo this spring, but it has a 250 licence fee to get full use, I doubt it's worth it.
Yeah, having read about it they DO say you HAVE to have a GPS antenna to plug into your phone's port in order to get the kind of accuracy that you need...

Probably one of those little "cube antennas" that usually come with a GPS unit would do... Usually a guy will buy the bigger "dome" antenna anyway for better accuracy than you can get from the little "cube" ones anyway-- The little cube antennas are "acceptable" for starting out but most guys want more accuracy, hence they buy a 'dome' antenna for the GPS unit...

The cube is probably more than good enough for a GPS app on the phone though... but you're right, the phone's internal GPS antenna isn't good enough for guidance accuracy...

Later! OL J R :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow! Thanks to everyone for the input!!!! We so appreciate it We'll think about all of your suggestions, but we're mostly leaning towards the CropCare 2.5 gallon foamer. However, I can guarantee that we'll try the toilet paper, Bill!!!! That's a great idea!!!

Thanks SO much and a Happy Easter to all of you and your families!
 

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Check Ebay or Craigslist for used lightbars.

Lightbars are also great for spreading fertilizer if you do that yourself as well.
 
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I am no expert in this field by any means, I have also been looking for a cheaper way of spraying and not wasting chemicals or time. we have 10 acres and I have tryed spraying marking paint lines before hand, this works well but I am always squeezing in work around all the farming chores, Thats what pays for the spraying.

Best thing so far that works is my wife rides next to the end of the boom on the quad in front of me and when I get to the end and turn around I put the boom on her tire tracks and that way I know that I am not overlaping.

seems like a pain but it works, but like I said we only have 10 acres
 
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