With autumn spray programmes under way – weather permitting – the market for new and used sprayers has picked up.

The arable sector is one of the few to actually welcome autumn.

After the bustle of harvest and drilling next year’s crops this is now a period of reflection; a chance to concentrate on other aspects of business life like mapping out plans and looking at reinvestment.

While most kit is back in the barn, one of the few machines still routinely in use is the farm sprayer and autumn can be an opportune moment to upgrade.

Dealers report a slight upturn in interest as autumn herbicide programmes kick in.

The drive is still towards larger machines with 18m to 24m booms predominating, although some larger operators and contractors are well beyond that.

And it’s a competitive market.

The specialist manufacturers, keen to keep workforces busy, are offering seriously tempting deals to keep stock rolling off the production line and are very aware of the impact that subdued prices for grain are having – deals are there, say traders.

The grain trade, in its way, has also turned up the heat on second-hand sales as buyers with well-defined budgets hunt for the best deal.

Not surprisingly a small number of dealerships have decided to concentrate on this end of the market where most buyers are looking to trade three- or four-season machines for newer models.

Although trailed sprayers are still commonly sought for medium-sized arable units, a shift towards self-propelled models for those expanding acreages possibly through management agreements with neighbours is being seen, say traders.

Despite the impact of legislation and the bureaucracy that brings, spraying is still one of the key tasks producers like to keep in-hand.

The impact a late application can have on crop health and eventual yield obviously goes a long way to offset the added cost of training, regulation and inspection farm-owned machines and operators endure.

It appears there is little respite for arable producers in the season of reflection.