Efficient Way To Handle Pesticides
Phil Adkins only wanted a way to stop his employees from dripping chemicals all over his farm.
He was disgusted with wasting expensive pesticides. He was determined to both save a dollar and elevate safety. On HIS farm. What he invented – Empty Clean – was so efficient and so needed that Adkins is now responsible for elevating safety and alleviating waste on farms in three countries.
Empty Clean, in fact, works so well that in 1993 Agricultural Engineering Magazine named it one of the Outstanding Innovations in Product or Systems Technology when it compiled its list of the Top 50 Contributions to Agriculture.
Not bad for a first-time inventor who only wanted to find a better way to empty and clean pesticide containers.
“Mainly,” Adkins says, “the people working for me were wasting too much chemical and not getting the containers clean.” So he started tampering with the process.
Before Empty-Clean, the workers opened the pesticide container, climbed on top of the sprayer, and poured it in. “They were spilling it all over their shoes and everywhere else,” he says.
Empty-Clean eliminates much of the hands-on work with pesticides. “It takes the chemical out of the container and puts it in the spray vehicle,” Adkins explains. “It does it without having to pick (the chemical) up or pour it or splash it or whatever.”
With Empty Clean, the chemical flows from the container to sprayer via a hose. A hand-held portable unit both empties and pressure-rinses pesticide containers at ground level. A portable round pad captures any spills in a 100 mesh-screened sump to prevent waste and ground contamination. The power source for the unit is the discharge hose on the farmer’s nurse tank pump and requires 30 – 50 PSI.
The farmer only has to cut the hose coming from his nurse tank pump and attach Empty-Clean. Then, with his pesticide container on the containment pad and at ground level, he removes the cap, inserts the hose, and turns on Empty-Clean. It removes the pesticide and pressure rinses the container with clean water, sending the entire contents, including the rinsate, into the spray rig.
The Empty-Clean process is efficient, economical and easily explained. But not even Adkins can fully explain the process that led to the invention.
“I just kept working on a better way and one day it all happened,” according to the 60-year-old farmer from Cordele, Ga. “I put it on the market because the people working for me liked it so well and it worked so well.”
Only recently has Adkins put much effort into marketing his four-year-old invention. “I guess the first couple of years we were almost not on the market,” Adkins recalls.
The problem with marketing is that Adkins first and foremost is a farmer. He grows “cotton, peanuts, and bank notes,” on a 2,000-acre farm near Cordele, where he works with his wife, Jeanie, and three employees.
But, he says, it wouldn’t be accurate to say he was surprised by the success of Empty-Clean. “No, I wasn’t really surprised,” he says. “I worked a long time and hard on it.”