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Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)

Posted by Nathaniel Bouman 
Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
July 15, 2014 04:11PM
I'm in the market for a tow behind sprayer with a wand/hand sprayer. I looked into getting a 200 gallon Rears pull behind but the $5,000 price tag is darn tough.
I realize that a good sprayer is very important, but man. I will need to take care of 550 newly planted trees on a 18X24 spacing. The tractor I'd like to use is a sub-compact, 23 hp so it wouldn't be able to handle the weight on the 3 ph but could certainly tug a decent sized sprayer.

Any recommendations? Should I bite the bullet and try to scrape up the cash. Are there alternatives that make sense?

Nat Bouman
Growing cider varieties in Zone 5b
On B.118 at 18X24
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/16/2014 01:20AM by Michael Phillips.
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
July 16, 2014 09:54PM
Note: I moved my post regarding my rigged up golf cart sprayer to the "Tow Behind Sprayer (1/2 acre)" thread for those in smaller scale orchards interested in an all electric option.

Sorry for any confusion!

Nick Segner

Wildcat Valley Farm
Zone 8b
Olympic Peninsula Rainshadow
Port Angeles, Washington

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/17/2014 05:07PM by Nick Segner.
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
July 16, 2014 11:47PM
Call this an editor's note. And then private message me if you have suggestions.

I tried to distinguish "scale of operation" by designating these tow-behind trailer threads on half-acre basis and a five acre (or more) basis. Using a 25-gallon tank on a golf cart is brilliant ... but not when you are looking to apply 500 to 1000 (and up) gallons of material. Nathaniel needs one sort of answer while John needs an entirely different answer. Help me with these titles, folks.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
July 17, 2014 09:16PM
Does the 200 gallon quote include the cart integrated? the hose and spray gun too? shipping and tax? That is a good price at $5,000.

I purchased the following set up last year for $5,157.00 - price including shipping and CA Ag tax rate (2.125%)

Rears Nifty Sprayer - 50 Gallon - Skid Mount

Includes the following options
• GX160 Honda Engine, Gear Drive A/R30 Diaphram Pump (9GPM, 580PSI)
• Engine is Electric / Recoil Start / Hood for Pump / Engine
• Battery Tray, Large Deep Cycle Battery, Battery Cables installed
• 304 Stainless Steel Tank Construction, Site Gauge and Cut off Valve
• Hannay Electric Hose Reel with Fixed Base, Mounted on Engine Hood
• JD9-CT Spray Gun with 300' x 1/2" Fitted Spray Hose (570 PSI)

Two reasons I didnt get the 100 gallon (that I preferred) . . .1) wouldnt fit in the back of my truck . . . 2) when placed on a pull behind cart, it would be even less stable on my hilly terrain.

I had a quote for $200 less than this from another reseller, but I could not get them to call me back . . . So, I gladly paid the extra to get the service and support. Keep that in mind when you make your decision too.

Side note: For those of you looking for a Rears Mfg reseller in California that will call you back, will send hard copy quotes and will be there when you need them, I recommend Garton Tractor in Modesto, CA. (also has offices 7 or 8 other locations from Ukiah in the north to Tulare in the south).

Nat, definitely consult with your tax adviser. This is a 100% tax deductible business expense for your farm. I took a 50% initial deduction and then chose to amortize the remaining 50% over several years. I would have bought the sprayer anyway, no doubt about it, but the tax offset vs income made a big difference for me.

Apple Orcharding is ultimately a multi-decade commitment. A professional quality spray tank, that will go that distance, is a critical requirement and a cost of doing business. The amount of money and time you will save by having an absolutely excellent spray tank (Rears Mfg is Grade A) like this will prove to be priceless in the years to come.

An initial bullet to bite, sure, but one you will thank yourself for obtaining . . .over and over again, as you begin to work seamlessly with your orchard.

How cool is it to have a tool that actually encourages you to go to work in your orchard? A Rears spray tank outfitted with the right spray gun, etc. is exactly that.

Good luck

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
July 17, 2014 10:46PM
Yeah, I've heard that they are great sprayers. The quote does include the cart. It doesn't include picking it up. I'd have to drive to get it. That's ok. Makes me feel better that this is a good deal:
PL200 (200 gallon capacity): $ 2785
PTO A/R50: $ 1,406
9.5LX15 tire assemblies: $ 426
Hannay 1520-17-18 manual crank hose reel: $ 400
50’ X ½” 570PSI PVC spray hose: $ 75
BR6901 spray gun with swivel: $ 70
List price subtotal: $ 5,162

I'm surprised that the PTO attachment is so pricey. I think I can drop the crank and 50' of hose, which would save me about $450. Is 200 gallons overkill for a 5 acre, low density orchard?
I don't want to skimp, but we're just starting up and i'm worried about running out of dough before revenue starts coming in.

Nat Bouman
Growing cider varieties in Zone 5b
On B.118 at 18X24
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
July 17, 2014 11:24PM
I do not think that 200 gallons is overkill. I like the 18x24 spacing. Plenty of room to get a tractor around with that configuration. Your trees will fill in a good amount of it in time. You will use that much and then some (per spraying) on 550 trees in the years ahead. You always have the option of mixing less than 200 gallons at a time too. In a new orchard, you will not need 200 gallons, but in 5-7 years, it will come in real handy. Years 10+ you will be real glad you have it and you will still likely need to come in for a tank refill, depending on your material being applied.

Having to come back in to refill my 50 gallon tank is one of my few sore spots. I knew this would be the case when I made the concession for the smaller tank though.

Hannay makes a great reel. Well respected brand. Mine is battery powered and I have 300ft of hose on it. Love the push button rewind! Depending on the angle I take to some of my contour hillside planted trees, I use all 300ft of my hose. Cranking it by hand would be brutal. 50ft would be do-able though.

A lot of folks wrap hose around the tank on hose standoffs that are available as an option from Rears (even come standard with the Pak-Tank models, I believe). That would work as good as a reel, I think, for 50ft of hose. I would even consider getting a little more hose too, maybe 75ft or 100ft, in case you need to get the back side of a particular group of trees and cant access it by tractor and need to hike a bit.

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
February 02, 2017 08:25AM
Paul, are you still happy with your Rears sprayer? we are close to buying the same 50gal as you describe. How does it handle the compost teas? That is my biggest concern for maintenance. Anything you would do different with your setup? Thanks!

Vista Ridge Orchard
Zone 8a in Washington
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
February 08, 2017 01:33AM
Check out this 55 gal high pressure skid system for $1650 from:


Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
January 06, 2018 12:09AM
Hi Karen,

Boy, I missed this post question to me. My apologies on the late response.

The 50 gallon Rears unit has run flawlessly for me. Very well built and a pleasure to use. Only negative drawback, if I had to come up with anything, is in the size . . . 50 gallons is a wee bit too small. 100 gallons would be a better way to go. As you can always mix up a smaller batch, but having to leave the orchard to go back and mix another batch, for example, when you are 15-20 gallons short and up against the end of the days loss of sunlight caught me more than a couple times this last season.

I front mount my 50 gallon skid unit using forks off of the front end loader and I strap it down securely from there. As an alternative, the unit fits into the back bed of my UTV too. A three point tractor mounted system with the unit secured behind me (non-PTO) would be nice too, but because of my hilly terrain, an actual cart/tow behind trailer is limiting to only my main roads and just wasnt worth the added cost.

Also, I did not go with a PTO mount because I have a good number of trees planted on countour plantings that I need to physically walk into to spray . . . If you can spray your entire orchard from the tractor without needing to walk in and around the trees, I would seriously look into the PTO driven solution vs a Skid Mount like mine

So, since it took me 11 months to get back to you (sheesh!) . . . What did you decide to do? Did you make the purchase already?

Gopher Hill Apples
Zone 8 in California
Re: Tow-Behind Sprayer (5 acres)
March 28, 2018 08:50AM
Hi Paul, we got a Nifty Fifty, tow behind our RTV. We have 1 orchard that I can't drive into but the hose is long enough to reach all the trees. LOVE the hose reel! 100 gallons might have been better, since as our trees grow so well with all the holistic sprays, Im using more. We partially solved that problem with a smaller nozzle, I was spraying too much runoff trying to cover the entire tree. Our orchard is also quite hilly. The engine would quit when I was parked uphill but the dealer we bought from was able to fix it. (carburetor adjustment I think?) Im really happy with this machine!

Vista Ridge Orchard
Zone 8a in Washington
235 Cider and heritage apple trees, 72 varieties,
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