By the Chemtura AgroSolutions team of experts
A dangerously dry winter and water delivery uncertainty this growing season mean you need to make every crop input dollar count this year. And that includes getting the most from the hefty investment you make in pest and disease control products and from your application strategies. As you well know, these tools and schedules don’t do you much good if the products don’t reach their intended target.
In addition, improper applications increase your cost due to reduced pest or disease control that negatively impact vineyard productivity. Spray drift is another undesirable consequence that can result in unintended injury, as well as higher production costs.
Therefore, use the following tips to help fine-tune your spraying program this season:
• Do calibrate spray equipment. Before ever sending the spray rig into your vineyard, test the spray volume and spray pattern to ensure that everything is working properly and the calibration is correct. Replace worn or improperly functioning parts. Help to calibrate your equipment.
• Do test nozzles. When conducting the previous step, don’t forget about nozzles. Note that nozzles are designed to deliver a specific droplet size and pattern—check both factors to ensure proper function. Keep in mind that nozzles that produce medium-sized droplets or bigger (equal to or greater than 200 microns) are less susceptible to drift. Replace nozzles that do not perform within 5% to 10% of manufacturer recommendations.
• Do spray every row. Your goal should be to apply products in a way that leaves the target area thoroughly covered—and that means spraying down every row. A skip-row, high spray-volume may not be adequate to cover both sides of thick vineyard canopies. It also increases the risk of spray drift.
• Do use proper additives. Oil additives or surfactants help materials stay in solution in the spray tank. These products also help materials stick to plant surfaces better and reduce drift. Always be sure to read and follow label directions regarding additive choice and usage.
• Do review and follow ALL labels. Observe label recommendations for use rate, target pests or weeds, pesticide handling, personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements, storage, disposal and any other important product and usage considerations.
• Do slow down. The slower drivers go through rows, the more accurate the application. Optimal tractor speeds are between 2 and 4 miles per hour (mph).
• Do check the weather. Monitor temperature and wind speed and avoid spraying when speeds are greater than 7 mph since gusty winds can easily blow spray droplets away from target areas. Also, monitor the near-term weather forecast to make sure applications are timed appropriately—especially in the event of rain predictions.
• Do manage resistance. Be mindful of resistance issues with some chemistries when identifying rotational partners for disease and pest control.
• Don’t spray during a temperature inversion. These often occur when soil surface temperature is lower than the air temperature. Spraying during an inversion significantly increases the chances that the application will evaporate or move to an area other than your target because the application will rise from the cooler ground to the warmer air above.
More tips to improve your applications this season.
Also be sure to visit with your PCA or Chemtura AgroSolutions™ representative for additional ways to ensure a successful spraying season:
• Mike Ansolabehere, Southern San Joaquin Valley: (661) 304-3023; email Mike.Ansolabehere@Chemtura.com
• Matt Loftus, Central San Joaquin Valley: (559) 960-1112; email Matthew.Loftus@Chemtura.com
• Carson Conover, North Central California: (530) 906-1504; email Carson.Conover@Chemtura.com
• Eric Leer, North Central California: (209) 531-6478; email
• Eduardo Garcia, California Coast: (805) 625-4101 or email Eduardo.Garcia@Chemtura.com