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Improvements in farm machine technology are helping farmers save money in planting, fertilizing and harvesting, local farm equipment dealers say.

Kyle Williams, a sales manager at Blanchard Equipment in St. Matthews, said John Deere is constantly improving ways to farm.

One of the 2018 improvements is to the John Deere ExactApply sprayer, he said.

“On sprayers, you have sections in them and you can control the sections,” Williams said.

“Well, the new sprayer that John Deere came out with in 2018 is an ExactApply and it’s gone from having an 11-foot section down to where each individual nozzle can be controlled.”

Williams said the ExactApply sprayer paints the fields when a farmer operates it.

Then, when the farmer goes into a field that is already painted, a digitized screen in the tractor cab shows the farmer that the area is already painted and “cuts off each nozzle so you won’t have so much gap or overlap,” Williams said.

The cost for such sprayers is around $325,000.  

Rance Russell, sales representative at Blanchard, said the technology is helpful when applying lime and other substances to fields.

He said a farmer may use one ton of lime per acre and under the traditional spraying method, a farmer would set a spreader a certain way and it would only apply one ton of lime per acre until the farmer changed the settings on the sprayer.

“You’d physically have to go out there and move a gate and everything like that,” he said.

“With the technology we have now, it’ll adjust on the fly so long as you have something in there telling it, ‘Okay, we want half a ton through this bit of it, a full ton here and maybe a ton-and-a-half here,’” he said.

“A lot of people are trying to cover more acres with less passes over the field,” he said.

During planting season, local farmers are going from six-row planters to 12-row planters, but that requires more horsepower.

Russell said John Deere made improvements to its 8-series tractor that has 400 horsepower.

In Orangeburg County, Jarrett Looper, equipment manager for the Orangeburg site for SuperSod, said Pioneer Farm Equipment is the provider for Brouwer, the company that manufactures sod harvesters.

“Pretty much the latest and greatest technology out there as far as sod harvesting goes is the Brouwer Harvester 4000 automatic sod roll harvester,” he said.

“One of the advantages to this machine vs. the original automated sod harvester is the dual rollers,” he said.

The sod-harvesting machine is fully automated from start to finish.

The rollers apply pressure to the sod and create the cleanest harvest of sod available, he said.

The top-of-the-line automated sod harvester rolls the harvested sod and places it on pallets.

Looper said before the automated harvester, sod harvesting required three additional workers.

These machines are in the $300,000 range.

At the Orangeburg Super Sod farms, Looper said the company uses five new automated automatic roll harvesters.

Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 15 years.

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