Ag Application Equipment

Ag application equipment comes in various forms, each designed for specific tasks in agriculture. Each type of ag application equipment serves a distinct purpose and comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Spreaders are ideal for granular materials, sprayers excel in liquid applications, applicators offer versatility for various materials, and floaters are suited for challenging field conditions with minimal soil compaction.

Types of Application Equipment

The choice of equipment depends on the specific needs of the operation, the type of material being applied, and the field conditions. Here’s a table detailing the key features of agricultural spreaders, sprayers, and floaters:

Type Application Method Capacity Control
Spreaders Distributes solid materials like fertilizer or lime over a field Varies, generally 500-3000 lbs Manual, hydraulic, or electronic controls with options for GPS and precision farming technology
Sprayers Applies liquid chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides Varies, generally 200-2000 gallons Manual, hydraulic, or electronic controls with options for GPS, auto-steering, and variable rate technology
Floaters Applies fertilizer or lime with a high ground clearance vehicle Varies, generally 2000-4000 lbs Hydraulic or electronic controls with advanced options for GPS, auto-steering, and precision application technology


A spreader is a device used to evenly distribute granular or bulk materials, such as fertilizers, seeds, lime, and pesticides, over a large area.

  • Application Method: Spreaders typically use a rotary or pendulum mechanism to distribute solid materials evenly over a field.
  • Capacity: The capacity of spreaders can vary significantly depending on the model, ranging from smaller units for personal use to large commercial units capable of holding several thousand pounds.
  • Control: Modern spreaders often feature electronic controls that can be integrated with GPS for precise application. This ensures even distribution and optimal use of materials, reducing waste and improving crop yields.
Pros Cons
  • Efficiency: Covers large areas quickly.
  • Versatility: Can spread a variety of materials.
  • Precision: GPS-enabled models provide accurate application.
  • Wind Drift: Material can be blown off course in windy conditions.
  • Uneven Distribution: Requires calibration to avoid over- or under-application.


A sprayer is a device used to apply liquid substances, such as herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and liquid fertilizers, to crops.

  • Application Method: Sprayers are designed to apply liquid substances, such as herbicides, pesticides, and liquid fertilizers, directly to crops. They can be boom sprayers, which cover large areas, or spot sprayers, which target specific areas.
  • Capacity: The capacity of sprayers varies widely. Smaller models for small farms or gardens might hold a few hundred gallons, while larger commercial sprayers can hold several thousand gallons.
  • Control: Sprayers often come with advanced control systems, including GPS for precision application, auto-steering for better coverage, and variable rate technology to adjust the application rate based on the needs of specific areas of the field.
Pros Cons
  • Coverage: Excellent for covering foliage and penetrating dense crop canopies.
  • Flexibility: Can apply a wide range of liquid products.
  • Precision: Modern sprayers offer highly controlled and targeted applications.
  • Drift: Risk of chemical drift if not properly managed.
  • Maintenance: Requires regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent clogs and corrosion.


A floater, often referred to as a high-clearance applicator, is a self-propelled machine with large flotation tires designed for applying fertilizers and pesticides to fields, particularly on soft or wet ground.

  • Application Method: Floaters are specialized vehicles designed for spreading fertilizer or lime on uneven or challenging terrain. They have high ground clearance and are capable of operating in various field conditions.
  • Capacity: Floaters typically have a large capacity, capable of holding several thousand pounds of material, making them suitable for large-scale operations.
  • Control: Floaters often feature sophisticated control systems, including hydraulic or electronic controls. They can be equipped with GPS, auto-steering, and other precision farming technologies to ensure accurate application and efficient use of resources.
Pros Cons
  • Low Compaction: Ideal for use in soft or wet fields.
  • High Efficiency: Covers large areas quickly and effectively.
  • Versatility: Can be used for both liquid and granular applications.
  • Size: Large size may not be suitable for small or irregularly shaped fields.
  • Cost: High initial investment and operational costs.
  • Complexity: Requires skilled operators and regular maintenance.

Agricultural application equipment is essential for modern farming, and several manufacturers in the United States are known for producing high-quality spreaders, sprayers, applicators, and floaters.

Ag Applicator Manufacturers

Here is a review of some of the leading manufacturers, highlighting their strengths and areas for improvement.

John Deere

John Deere is a well-known name in the agricultural sector, renowned for its innovative and reliable machinery. John Deere equipment is known for its durability and long lifespan. Advanced features such as GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite Systems: GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou / BDS, Galileo), precision farming tools, and telematics. Extensive dealer support and service network across the United States. Customers appreciate the reliability and technological advancements but often mention the high initial investment.

Case IH

Case IH is a major player in the agricultural machinery industry, offering a range of application equipment. Wide range of equipment suited for various farming needs – continuous innovation and integration of precision farming technologies. Farmers generally praise the performance and versatility, though some have concerns about maintenance and support.

New Holland

New Holland offers a range of agricultural equipment, including application equipment. Comprehensive range of equipment for various applications. Incorporation of modern farming technologies. Farmers like the versatility and ease of use but express varying experiences with durability and support.

Hardi North America

Hardi specializes in sprayers and is known for its dedicated focus on spraying technology. Advanced spraying technology for accurate application – higher cost compared to some competitors / limited dealer network in certain regions. Users appreciate the precision and quality of Hardi sprayers but note the higher price point and regional service limitations.

Apache Equipment Technologies

Apache Sprayers is known for producing self-propelled sprayers that offer simplicity and reliability. Competitive pricing compared to other brands. Simple, straightforward design and operation for dependable performance. Less advanced technology compared to premium brands. Users appreciate the reliability and cost-effectiveness but desire more advanced features and operator comfort.

AGCO (RoGator, TerraGator, Challenger, etc.)

AGCO Corporation offers a variety of brands (RoGator, TerraGator, Willmar, Massey Ferguson, Fendt, Valtra, Challenger), each catering to different segments of the agricultural market. Wide selection of equipment across multiple brands – strong presence and support network worldwide. Customers value the diversity and technological innovation but sometimes face issues with parts and service.

The agricultural application equipment market in the United States is diverse, with several manufacturers offering high-quality products tailored to different farming needs. John Deere and Case IH are praised for their innovation and performance, while AGCO’s diverse range and Hardi’s specialization in sprayers also receive positive reviews. New Holland offers versatility and ease of use, whereas Apache Sprayers is favored for its reliability and cost-effectiveness. Each manufacturer has its strengths and areas for improvement, and farmers should consider their specific requirements and regional support when choosing equipment.

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