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Spraying 101

Spraying is a key job on the farm right now as producers focus on weed, insect and disease control.

The Nozzle Guy Tom Wolf with Sprayers 101 says a key factor with spraying is always waste loss. 

Wolf says research has shown that producers can see a significant waste loss in efficiency in the sprayer by as much as 15 per cent when priming, cleaning or over filling the tank for the field.

"We think that with better plumbing and plumbing that you can actually do at home. With recirculating booms, with continuous rinsing systems, maybe with better sectional control. You can be thoughtful about that and cut your waste by a factor of three. So that's very significant. So we're talking about bringing it down from maybe 15 per cent to 5 per cent."

He says just with overlap, waste loss from sprayers, on the prairies is about four per cent mainly due to overlap on the headlands and sectional controls being 10 to 12 feet wide.

Drift loss is also a concern, especially on those windy days.

Wolf says industry nozzles can't go much coarser so producers have to look at other ways to manage spray drift.

"The remaining problem has to do with boom height and travel speed. The higher boom heights and faster speeds are associated with the bigger sprayers we're using. I know it's a tough message to tell people, but the best thing you could do for drift nowadays is to slow down and lower your boom a little bit."

He adds having the dicamba nozzles in the tool box can also prove beneficial to help avoid drift in windy conditions.

"The dicamba nozzles are extremely coarse nozzles. They reduce drift more than any other nozzle that we know. They're made specifically for the U.S. market, because there's a legal requirement for Dicamba and there's many of them available. Now it does mean that you have to maybe slow down, lower your boom and add water to make them work well under high wind conditions."

Wolf points out that some other environmental spray tips include filling with only as much product as you need, getting a recirculating boom so you don't have to prime the boom, and spray any waste in the tank over the field instead of just dumping it.

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