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UTVs, the Year-Round Workhorse for Orchardists

What’s handier than a pickup (and easier to handle than a horse) for getting around the orchard for everything from scouting, sampling and soil moisture monitoring to spraying for weeds?

Every grower knows that a utility vehicle (UTV), the modern-day workhorse, lives up to its name as a handy, versatile and economical mode of transportation. Patterson almond grower Daniel Bays, for instance, says he finds a UTV the most flexible vehicle in the orchard, useful in ways a pickup isn’t built for, such as maneuvering among trees while he’s inspecting the orchard and performing other tasks. “With a UTV, you can mount a spray boom as wide as 10 feet, and make quick turns at the end of the row for fast and efficient weed control,” Bays says.

Here are some other ways almond growers use their UTVs:

  • Scouting for mites and insects and checking pheromone traps
  • Taking soil samples
  • Sampling leaf tissue for N
  • Monitoring soil moisture
  • Checking the irrigation system
  • Spot-spraying weeds

This year, the Almond Board has partnered with Polaris Industries Inc. to give away a RANGER® 400 UTV at The Almond Conference. All registered growers in attendance will be eligible for the drawing, to be held in conjunction with the trade show on Thursday, Dec. 5. The winner will be announced at the Gala Dinner that night.

According to Polaris National Accounts Manager Jim Blaze, La Grange, growers can mount up to 500 pounds on the back of a Ranger 400, or pull up to a 200-gallon tank, saving trips back to the shop to reload. Larger models of the Ranger can carry up to a 1,000-pound payload and tow a 250-gallon sprayer, depending on the model.

“The Ranger is great for getting people in gear,” Blaze says. “Almond growers like to stay with products that serve them well, and they find our product an efficient way to get to harvest.”

Polaris is the No. 1-selling UTV in California, adds Blaze. He talks more about the Ranger 400 and the Almond Conference giveaway in a recent interview with AgNet West's Sabrina Hill.

To register for The Almond Conference, which will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center Dec. 3–5, go to AlmondConference.com.

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