By Cecil H. Yancy Jr.
Progressive Farmer Contributing Editor
When David Templeton II goes to the field to spray, he only needs one vehicle to do the job of mixing.
Templeton, who farms with his father, David Sr., and brother, Brad, in Covington, Tenn., repurposed a 42-foot step-deck trailer into a portable mixing station.
In the past, he'd load bulk tanks in pickup trucks and pull mixing and water tanks in tow. When he ran out of water, he'd go back and load up again. It took two men just to haul water to the sprayer.
These days, he's set up to stay in the field. The step-deck trailer is set up with a 2,500-gallon water tank on the neck of the trailer and another 3,200-gallon tank at the rear. The main deck can hold four 275-gallon totes or four pallets of jug chemicals. And there's plenty of deck room for expansion. The neck of the trailer also holds cases of chemicals.
Templeton elevated two of the bulk chemical tanks at the back of the trailer to eliminate the need for some of the electric pumps and meters. Electric pumps and meters typically pump chemicals at a rate of 3 to 8 gallons per minute. Using gravity, he can measure chemicals into cones at 40 gallons per minute. The design allows Templeton to mix chemicals four times faster than using an electric transfer pump.
"The whole goal is to fill the sprayer up as fast as possible and get it back in the row," Templeton said. "By the time I mixed a half-dozen chemicals one at a time and loaded the sprayer, it used to take me about 25 to 30 minutes. Now, I can do it in 8 to 10 minutes."
His water trailer includes three mixing tanks. "We measure and mix the chemicals in the three graduated cones, and hook up the hose to the sprayer, and it's ready to go," Templeton said. A diesel fuel tank for the sprayer is located underneath the bulk tanks.
All of the valves and the pump are centrally located on the main deck of the trailer, allowing the operator to complete a mixing operation from one spot without getting off the trailer. The locking doors on the sides of the trailer and elevated platform provide both safety and security during transport.
The panels used on the doors and the steps were repurposed from a Case IH cotton picker. Locking aluminum storage boxes add storage for dry and jug chemicals, mixing cups and spare parts. A repurposed foam marker tank is used for both triple rinsing and as his third mixing cone. LED and HID lights on the trailer allow working at night.
If soil conditions are too wet for the trailer to enter the field, the fill hose can be accessed from either side to be used from a roadway. Fill ports for filling the big trailer with water are located on the front, rear and center of the trailer.
Templeton is already thinking of improvements. He plans to add two additional elevated bulk tanks on the front to completely eliminate the need for the electric transfer pumps. A pressure washer is also being added to the rig to ease the burden of keeping the sprayer clean in the field.
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