A custom applicator is responsible for maintaining the equipment used to spray crops and applying fertilizer or pesticides effectively.
This also includes mixing, loading and applying said pesticides at approved rates. All while keeping good records and communicating with customers.
There’s also a fair amount of different equipment they operate. This includes trucks, spreaders and sprayers.
Responsibilities: In addition to the duties listed above:
- Must get re-certified every two years for their safety training / spraying license
- Deliver bulk chemicals
- Work with customers to establish an application schedule
- Maintain proper application records
- Be knowledgeable of the chemicals they work with, including fertilizer and pesticide
How to become a custom applicator
The first step would be to take some high school courses such as biology, science, chemistry, business, and agricultural education.
The next would be to obtain certification as a commercial applicator. An associate degree would be helpful but not required to obtain a job.
Recommended associations and organizations
- American Farm Bureau Federation
- National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants
- Crop Science Society of America
- Weed Science Society of America
A day in the life of a custom applicator
A custom applicator is responsible for applying pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemicals to crops on a farm. They work to ensure that crops receive the proper amount of nutrients and pest control measures, which is essential for their growth and productivity.
Here is what a typical day in the life of a custom applicator might look like.
The day for a custom applicator typically begins early in the morning. They may start by checking the weather forecast and assessing the current state of the crops. This may involve inspecting fields, checking soil moisture levels, and evaluating crop health.
After assessing the state of the crops, the applicator will likely check the application equipment to ensure that it is functioning properly. This may involve checking spray nozzles, inspecting pumps, and performing routine maintenance to prevent any breakdowns or system failures.
As the day progresses, the applicator may work on a variety of tasks related to chemical application. This may include tasks such as mixing chemicals, calibrating application equipment, and applying chemicals to crops. The applicator must follow strict safety protocols to ensure that they are not exposed to the chemicals they are applying.
The applicator may also work with other farm workers to perform tasks such as planting and harvesting crops, and they may collaborate with other professionals, such as crop consultants or soil scientists, to develop and implement chemical application strategies that maximize crop yield while minimizing environmental impacts.
In the afternoon, the applicator may continue with tasks from the morning or move on to new ones. They may also use this time to attend to administrative tasks, such as managing finances, updating records, or ordering supplies.
The applicator may also spend time scouting fields for pests or diseases, and implementing management strategies to mitigate the risks associated with these threats. They may also work to improve soil health by managing application schedules and applying appropriate fertilizers or soil amendments.
As the day comes to a close, the applicator may finish up any tasks that need to be completed, such as managing application or performing additional maintenance on the application equipment. They may also use this time to review chemical usage reports, assess the success of their chemical application strategies, and plan for future seasons.
Being a custom applicator requires a high level of technical expertise and a deep understanding of chemical application strategies. It is an essential role in the agriculture industry, as it helps to ensure that crops are produced efficiently and sustainably, providing important products that are used by people around the world. By working closely with other farm workers, agricultural researchers, and industry professionals, a custom applicator can help to ensure the long-term success of the agriculture industry and contribute to the overall well-being of society.