Early maintenance can help farmers spend more time in their fields
By Diego Flammini
Farmers will soon be taking their sprayers out of storage for the 2020 growing season.
By completing thorough equipment inspections, producers can ensure they spend more time in the field and less time maintaining equipment, said Mark Burns, application equipment marketing manager with Case IH.
Farmers may want to consider starting with a visual check of their sprayers, he said.
“Taking an hour to do a good visual inspection of the machine can really do wonders,” he told Farms.com. “In today’s world booms can stick out a long way, and it’s not a question of if you hit something, it’s when. So, it helps to walk around the unit to make sure there’s no structural damage like cracks in welds and damaged spray bars.”
An important part of sprayer maintenance is proper calibration.
Making sure all of the electronic components are showing the same readings will help improve efficiency in the field, Burns said.
“From a flow perspective we need to make sure the gallons (of crop protection products) we’re putting through the flow meter match what the rate controller thinks,” he said. “Farmers might want to think about doing a catch test to make sure the sprayer’s output is the same as what the control system thinks it’s applying.”
Before running any crop protection products through the sprayer, farmers should check for leaks using water.
“It’s definitely a best practice,” he said. “Putting water through the sprayer before taking it out into the field will help identify any areas that are cracked or leaking and that can be replaced before the planting season starts.”
One factor that sprayer operators often overlook is the condition of spray tips, Burns said.
Taking the time to ensure the tips are in good shape will help save time and product.
“Spray tips are a wear item that need to be replaced over time,” he said. “Some products can be more abrasive than others, so we want to make sure we’re getting the proper spray patterns across all the tips so that we’re not wasting any products during applications.”