Sprayer Simulator provides ag students hands-on learning experience

24 January 2019

Students in the Skyland Grain Crop Application program have a new way to learn their trade via the company’s new sprayer simulator. The simulator is the first one west of the Missouri River, providing students a unique opportunity to learn how to spray in a safe manner. Three 40 inch monitors surround the operator, who sits in a life like seat with accurate controls just like in the real equipment.

The seat moves with the terrain and students are challenged with the task of driving through residential areas with traffic before they get to the field they need to spray. Kayley Geesling, sophomore in Ag, admits she has never drove an actual sprayer before, but she did grow up with combines and tractors and believes the simulator felt like the real thing.

“It definitely felt like what you’d imagine driving a real sprayer would feel like,” said Geesling. “I can see it being a very helpful way to learn without being on an actual spray rig.”

PCC Ag instructor Barrett Smith echoes the statement.

“The simulator provides students a realistic scenario with no chemicals, no over applying or under applying, no health risk, and no way to damage expensive equipment. It will help students learn before they actually go out in the fields," said Smith. "It will help by saving chemical, reduce complaints, save money, and gives the opportunity for students to learn without harming them, the equipment, or the land.”

The simulator provides several different levels and modes for students to experience a variety of scenarios. The simulator is able to wreck, roll over, and run into trees and fences, depending on how well the operator drives. Each operator is awarded a score at the end of the simulation so they can see how well they have done. Mistakes such as forgetting to stop at a stop sign can alter the score. In addition to being part of the Crop Application curriculum, Skyland Grain plans to use the simulator at career fairs, recruitment events, and interview situations.

Pratt Community College and Skyland Grain partnered in 2016 to provide the Crop Applicator Certificate program to Agriculture students. In addition to the simulator, Skyland Grain also provides students scholarships, in which students can earn up to $1,000 per year. To find out more about Skyland Grain scholarships visit their website skylandgrain.com and find the scholarship information under the “Programs” tab.

To learn more about the Crop Application certificate program at PCC in partnership with Skyland Grain and how you can apply for admission visit prattcc.edu/CropApplication.