Each season you make a big investment in pest and disease control products and application strategies to help you produce a quality crop. But these tools and schedules don’t do you much good if the products don’t reach their intended target.
In addition, improper applications increase vineyard costs in the form of reduced pest or disease control. Spray drift is another undesirable consequence that can result in unintended injury, as well as higher production costs.
With these considerations in mind, use the following tips to help fine tune your application program this season:
Do calibrate sprayers. Test the spray volume and spray pattern, and replace worn or improperly functioning parts before the spraying season begins. Click here for help to calibrate your equipment.
Do check nozzles. 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 soaked — 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 an additive. 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.
Don’t drive too fast. While it may be tempting to increase tractor speed to decrease spraying time, resist the urge. The slower drivers go through rows, the more accurate the application. Optimal tractor speeds are between 2 and 4 miles per hour (mph).
Don’t forget about the weather. Monitor 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 keep any eye on the near-term weather forecast to make sure applications are timed appropriately.
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.
Do reviewand follow labels. Check out recommendations for pesticide handling, personal protection equipment (PPE) requirements, storage and disposal.
Click here for 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 or email Mike.Ansolabehere@Chemtura.com
• Matt Loftus, Central San Joaquin Valley:(559) 960-1112 or email Matthew.Loftus@Chemtura.com
• Eric Leer, North Central California:(209) 531-6478 or email Eric.Leer@Chemtura.com