Crop sprayers can apply several different materials to growing crops, such as water, pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. The primary reason to use a crop sprayer is to distribute materials evenly and efficiently. However, many factors play a role in maximizing your crop spraying equipment’s efficiency and output. Incorrectly spraying your crops can negatively affect people’s health and the environment.
Use these crop spraying tips to improve your efficiency while ensuring and maintaining your safety and that of those around you.
1. Calibrate Your Sprayer
The goal of calibrating your crop sprayer is to determine the application rate and adjust it if necessary. If your sprayer is not applying enough of your material, you may not see your expected results. If your sprayer is applying too much, you could waste money, harm your crops or increase the risk of adversely impacting those around you.
Calibrating your crop sprayer only takes about 30 minutes and only requires three tools — a time, measuring tape and a jar labeled with ounces. You should calibrate your crop spraying machines before the beginning of the spraying season, and repeat the process multiple times during the season.
2. Avoid Drift
Spray drift is the movement of material sprayed onto crops, during or after application, to somewhere other than the intended location. Several factors can affect drift, including the makeup of the spray, the equipment and application techniques, weather conditions and operator care.
Pesticides can cause harm when drifts carry them away to homes, schools, other farms and wildlife areas. Pesticides can also pose an economic threat if they spread to other crops that they are not safe to use on.
3. Use the Correct Nozzle at the Ideal Height
Nozzle selection is essential to achieving the correct coverage for your crops, but making the right choice can be tricky. Various nozzle sizes will produce different-sized droplets. Smaller droplets produce better coverage but drift more easily. Larger droplets are more resistant to drifting but don’t always provide complete coverage. Nozzles also produce droplets in a range of sizes. When selecting your nozzle, consider the amount of coverage you need and whether any environmental conditions will contribute to drift.
Nozzle angle and boom settings can also affect your crop spraying. If your nozzles are misaligned or clogged, they can cause non-uniform patterns in your spraying. It’s also crucial to ensure your boom is straight and at the correct height. Lower boom heights typically work better, as they allow for spray pattern and overlap maintenance. It also lets your spraying materials get to their destination more quickly. The drift distance increases significantly as your boom gets higher.
4. Check the Weather
The weather while you spray impacts your efficiency. Spray drift occurs more frequently at warmer temperatures. That’s because droplets dry quickly when it is warmer, causing them to evaporate and chemical residue to drift away from the intended location.
Wind also impacts drift. When the wind is blowing, droplets could get carried away before they reach the intended crop. The best time to spray is when the wind direction is opposite from homes, playgrounds or crops that should not be receiving the substance.
5. Understand Pressure
The higher the spraying pressure, the smaller the droplets. As you decrease the pressure, the droplets get bigger. It is vital to maintain a constant spraying pressure to ensure your application rate, pattern and droplet size are the same throughout the application. Use an accurate gauge to measure and track the pressure while using your spray equipment.
When spraying near anything you don’t intend to target, lower your spraying pressure. However, note that at significantly low pressures, you may experience streaks in your application.
6. Know and Maintain Your Speed
Knowing and maintaining a constant speed while spraying is paramount to ensure complete and accurate coverage. Do not change your speed in the middle of spraying. You will risk overapplying the substance when you slow down and underapplying when you speed up.
The correct application speed for your material will depend on pressure and droplet size. Finding the ideal speed can take some trial and error.
7. Read the Label
Various crops require different coverage levels, meaning you may need to adjust droplet size and pressure. Spraying materials also have different droplet sizes and pressure. Make sure to always read the instructions on your spraying materials that may tell you the ideal droplet size and application rate. Following the directions on your crops, chemicals and equipment will help you improve your safety as well!
8. Carry Extra Parts
Everyone faces obstacles while working, especially while trying to improve processes like crop spraying. While out in the field, carry extra parts and tools you may need to repair typical problems. For example, these components could include nozzles and hoses. When trouble arises, having spare parts with you will enable you to make a quick fix. It will also allow you to avoid uneven crop coverage, since you can continue spraying without waiting for equipment repairs.
9. Be Safe
As with any process involving chemicals and equipment, follow all instructions and labels. Wear the proper attire to spray your crops. The chemicals you spray could irritate or harm your skin. Also, be sure to follow all the laws and regulations for your applications.
Keeping everyone around you safe is equally essential. Take all necessary steps to reduce drift and the harmful effects it can have on surrounding environments.
10. Purchase Quality Equipment
The final step in improving your crop spraying includes purchasing quality equipment. While all equipment will wear over time, investing in quality pieces will help you save time and money in the long run. With excellent tools, you will spend less time on repairs and maintenance and more time effectively spraying your crops.
Focus on finding durable and trustworthy equipment. Your crop sprayer parts should stand up against the corrosion and wear caused by the chemicals you use.
Improve Your Crop Spraying With PaulB Parts
Improving your crop spraying can take some time, but it doesn’t have to be challenging. Using these tips and the team at PaulB Parts can help you get your crop spraying process where it needs to be. PaulB Parts offers competitive pricing, knowledgeable staff and a vast array of sprayers and parts.
Contact PaulB Parts today to learn more about our crop sprayers and parts. We can answer any questions you have and get you spraying efficiently!