Adair’s biggest goal: Kill weeds
If your idea of the typical person who drives a sprayer is a bulky guy with his shirt hanging out the back and greasy hair, you haven’t been to Unger Farms near Carlisle. The person climbing in the spray rig will be Adair Everhart, Del and Tammi Unger’s daughter.
A 2009 graduate in ag economics at Purdue University, she may look petite, but she’s tough enough and sharp enough to handle anything her dad and brother, Lance, need done with a sprayer.
• Adair Everhart is responsible for spraying operations.
• Sprayer with precision farming technology simplifies spraying.
• Day-to-day decisions regarding spraying are up to Adair.
Weeds soon know they’ve met their match when Adair pulls in with an Apache 1210 with 100-foot booms. It’s equipped with swath control divided into 10-foot sections.
Using an RTK signal for GPS and an Ag Leader Insight computer controller system, she’s ready to cover hundreds of acres per day. Spraying wheat earlier this spring, she sprayed between 800 and 900 acres in one day.
Adair isn’t a partner in the farm operation. Her brother, Lance, isn’t either — yet — but talks are starting to move in that direction. Instead, Adair is paid by the acre for work performed. Still, her role is important in the overall farm operation, Del says.
“Each of the kids has their areas of responsibility,” Del notes. “Lance plants soybeans, sidedresses corn and runs the combine. We leave all the spraying up to Adair.”
She even makes many of the decisions related to which herbicides to use to go after certain weeds in specific fields. “If I have a major question, I’ll get in touch with Dad or Lance before I do anything,” Adair relates. “If it’s just an operational decision that needs to be made, I usually make it myself and go on.”
Since her self-propelled sprayer is loaded with technology, she can spray at night if necessary, Adair notes. However, one drawback is that it’s hard to see toward the end of the booms on each side.
“The joystick control system really simplifies operation of the sprayer,” she notes. “I can control most things, including boom height, with the joystick.”
While Del is glad both kids are currently helping on the farm, he’s also glad they pursued an education. You can hear him explain his reasoning during the 2011 Indiana Farm Management Tour. The Ungers are first stop on the tour at noon on June 28, and the only stop in Sullivan County.
The Indiana Prairie Farmer/Purdue University College of Agriculture Master Farmer awards program will serve as the evening program for this year’s tour. It will be held at the Vincennes University/John Deere training facility, located at the Southwest-Purdue Ag Center.
“It’s good to have the kids here, but education is extremely valuable,” Del says. “It’s the life experience they picked up at Purdue that really counts.”
Del’s dad, Howard, still helps part time as needed. Howard was named a Master Farmer in 1992.
Meet the spray lady: Adair Everhart handles all spraying chores on her parents’ farm. Her brother, Lance Unger, has other responsibilities.
This article published in the June, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.