Sunday, March 5, 2017

Next Project

 No bike related news today except that it may get warm enough for a ride later. Yea!
I've talked about how part of my job is doing turf pesticide applications. I know, you're thinking, "No, not more of this fert and squirt crap". Anyway, every year I set a goal of doing one new thing to become more efficient at pesticide apps. One year it was adding a foam marker system to the tractor sprayers. Another year I added hose reels. You get the idea. I've done this every year for as long as I've been at this and it has allowed us to be quite competitive and successful.  This year, just by chance, I've come up with two, count em, two ways to be more efficient.  The first involves the bullshit paperwork end of the business. After an application we are required to leave behind certain info for the customer.  We do this with a laptop and portable printer but we don't use one of those fancy expensive software programs. We use a form that I created and manually enter all the customer info and then enter the numbers for that application. This involved filling out hundreds of forms that are "saved as" today's date then filed appropriately. What a pain in the ass but I don't want or need a fancy schmancy program that costs a bunch of coin or has monthly fees and does shit I'll never use.

 What I've done this year is edjumacate myself on creating a database and how to add formulas to my form. Probably basic stuff for the youngsters or people with formal computer training. I am neither young nor trained but I'm happy to report my form now auto fills a bunch of boxes after selecting a customer. It also does the calculations for product used based on the pre-measured size of the property and rate of application(oz,qt,gal, lb) per (square feet, acre). There are a few other mods that will speed up the process and my arm is sore from patting myself on the back.

 Many of our customers have traditionally been the ones with large lawns. Our big tractors and hooded sprayers make short work of these. Most of our customers also like that we spray under hoods. I like that too. A few years ago we picked up a stand on sprayer/fertilizer. These units are smaller than our tractors and fit well on small lawns. They work quite well for granular fertilizing lawns but they use a single open spray nozzle with a very fine pattern for liquid apps. I don't like this and really only use it to do cemeteries where I can spray over headstones and then not have to follow up and trim spray. Our smaller residential customer base has expanded and I hate taking a huge tractor on a small lawn. Customers don't like it much either. The other options are to use a spray hose and walk it out or use the open tip stand-on I just talked about. I don't mind walking but that method doesn't work as well as the mist under a hood that gets all parts of a plant leaf wet with chemical. So if you follow all this then maybe you figured out that I am going to put a single spray hood on our stand on sprayer. We recently picked up another stand on so its ok to bastardize this one.

 This is the single hood we purchased.The machine already has a tank, pump, filter, switching, plumbing and hand wand. 

 Basically I'm building the mounting point for a spindle that will attach the hood and allow it to rock left and right and hinge up and down. It should float along the contours of the lawn. More details as they become available.


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