What is in this article?:
- Top 10 tips for pesticide spraying
- Spray pressure and drift
- Another growing season is just around the corner, and farmers who want to make the most efficient use of pesticides should pay close attention to sprayer maintenance.
- Erdal Ozkan, an agricultural engineer and spraying technology expert with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), recommends following 10 common-sense tips that will help farmers improve sprayer performance:
Spray pressure and drift
6. Pay attention to spray pressure. Variations in pressure will cause changes in application rate, droplet size and spray pattern. At very low pressures, the spray angle will be noticeably narrowed, causing insufficient overlap between nozzle patterns and streaks of untreated areas. High pressure will increase the number of drift-prone droplets.
7. Avoid the dreadful drift. Spray drift wastes more chemicals than anything else. Don’t spray when the wind speed is likely to cause drift. Don’t take the risk of getting sued by your neighbors because of drift damage to their fields. Keep the spray pressure low if it is practical to do so, or replace conventional nozzles with low-drift nozzles. Use other drift-reduction strategies: keep the boom close to the target, use drift-retardant adjuvants, and spray in early morning and late afternoon when drift potential is less.
8. Be prepared. Carry extra nozzles, washers, other spare parts and tools to repair simple problems quickly in the field.
9. Calibrate again. Keep calibrating your sprayer periodically during the spraying season so it stays at peak performance. One calibration per season is never enough. For example, when switching fields, ground conditions (tilled, firm, grassy) will affect travel speed, which directly affects gallon-per-acre application rate.
10. Be safe. Read the chemical and equipment instructions and follow them. Wear protective clothing, rubber gloves and respirators when calibrating the sprayer, doing the actual spraying, and cleaning the equipment.
OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of Ohio State’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.