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# How to Calibrate Your Spreader Sprayer                                                                 Contributed by Guest Blogger: Martin McGuane, owner and operator of McGuanes Landscaping and Tree Service, Enfield CT

There are few things more important in the chemical lawn care business than ensuring that your spreader sprayer is calibrated. Calibration is the process used to make sure that the spray equipment properly disperses the pesticide at the proper rate.

Key reasons why calibration is so important include:

• Applying a mixture too heavy wastes material and money.
• Applying a mixture too light will not effectively control your target pests.
• Operating an uncalibrated sprayer is environmentally irresponsible.

# A Brief Overview

There are many factors involved in calibrating a sprayer. You could spend weeks learning about calibration. However, our purpose in this blog post is to provide a simple, yet effective and accurate way to ensure you’re delivering the correct amount of solution.

# Steps to Calibrate a Spreader Sprayer

Let’s walk through the quick and easy steps to calibrate a spreader sprayer:

• Make sure your screen is clean.
• Set your sprayer to the desired PSI.
• Measure the width of your sprayer bar. For this example, we will assume the sprayer bar measures 7 feet.
• Determine the amount of feet you will need to spray to get 1,000 square feet of coverage (1000/7 (length of sprayer bar) = 143ft).
• Blanket spray the determined length from above (In this case, 143 feet).
• Once you finish spraying, determine how much water you used.

# Determine the Rate

Let’s assume we used 1 gallon on our 1,000 square feet. Let’s also assume that the manufacturer’s recommend rate for your weed killer is 1oz. per 1,000 square feet. Based on this, we know that we will need to mix 1oz. of weed killer per gallon.

# Keep an Eye on Your Calibration

Once your sprayer has been calibrated you should confirm the calibration regularly throughout the day. Using the example from the previous paragraph, if we are applying a blanket application to a 10,000 sq. ft. lawn, we should be using 10 gallons of dilute. If not, we need to adjust our mix, our speed or possibly our pressure.

You have been working hard and your spray equipment has already logged many hours
in the field. However, in many parts of the country, busy season has yet to peak. In the crunch of meeting customer demand, it can be easy to place equipment maintenance on the back burner, but this is the one task you can't afford to miss.

Continue to have a successful spray season by performing a spray equipment summer check-up.

We've recently talked about the importance of stocking up on spare parts to keep you up and running when the unexpected breakdown happens. Servicing your sprayer is another way to avoid dreaded downtime. Learn 3 easy tips to keep your performing at its best all season long:

1. Inspect your equipment for any wear and tear that could potentially affect your application. Pay close attention to strainers and replacement screens as these are often overlooked and can affect spray pressure and output.

2. Calibrate your sprayer to ensure you are applying the right amount of chemical. Proper calibration will also help minimize spray drift and improve the accuracy of your application. Looking for sprayer calibration tips? Check out a couple of our previous blog posts to get you started.

3. Clean your spray equipment by wiping it down with a clean shop rag. If applicable, check the oil in your pump and engine and replace as necessary. Don't forget to flush the tank with fresh water after every application.

If you'd like us to perform a mid-season check-up, we can certainly help! Contact our friendly Customer Service Technicians to schedule an appointment.

How do you keep your spray equipment in tip-top shape? Share your advice in the comment box below.

Winter is set to begin on December 21st, however, just a peek outside the window or a stroll down the street tells a different story for a lot of folks around the country. Many of you are already dealing with freezing temperatures and piles of snow. So even if winter hasn’t “officially” started, we thought we would highlight a few of our previous posts that will help you and yourhandle the cold just a bit easier.

1) Perform an end of season calibration.

You should calibrate your sprayer one last time before you store it. We previously posted an 8 step guide to make this process as easy as possible. Another popular tool to consider for your calibrating arsenal should be the Sprayer Calibration Calculator App.

2) Winterizing Will Save You Time Next Spring.

Spend a little bit of time today servicing your sprayer so you can be up and running in no time when busy season starts again. We have many useful posts that will guide you through the easy process of winterizing your spray equipment. Check some of our most popular posts below!

3) Consider a De-Icing Sprayer .

Take a look at the Kings Sprayers® 100 Gallon De-Icing Skid Sprayer. This is an ideal sprayer to mount on the back of a utility vehicle, and is used to spray de-icer. Different uses for the skid like watering and dust control makes this sprayer useful all year round! For pricing and full specs please visit the link below.

Are you an expert in your business industry? Would you like to contribute a post to our blog? Then please comment on the section below and we'll get in touch with you soon!

Calibrating your sprayer doesn't have to be time consuming or challenging. You have probably seen all the formulas and calculations involved with the process but there is an easy way to accomplish this task without having to be a math wiz.

It is important to calibrate your sprayer at least once every season, however more is definitely better. Calibrating your sprayer often will ensure an even application rate and also an effective one. This will save you time and money that you can then invest in other parts of your business.

As mentioned before, there are many reasons why you should calibrate your spray equipment on a regular basis, but an extremely important reason to consider is to avoid any mishandling of pesticides and other chemicals. When using chemicals it's important to follow the instructions provided on the label: too little could mean an ineffective application, and too much could result in serious consequences such as the loss of your grass or crop, fines, or even health risks.

Based on a recent report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), farmers spend approximately \$4.1 billion on pesticides annually. So if your sprayer isn't calibrated properly you could potentially be wasting a lot of money. Let's make sure you are spending your money wisely and spraying efficiently by calibrating your sprayer.

Want to know how you can avoid any mishaps and increase the accuracy of your application? Read below for the 8 simple steps to calibrating your sprayer.

• Inspect your sprayer for any mechanical problems
• Flush the tank and brush the nozzles to make sure they are debris free
• Check the agitator in the tank to make sure it’s working properly

Okay, now you are ready to calibrate!

*For minor changes in output, adjust your sprayer pressure to achieve the GPA recommended by the pesticide label. For major changes, either change travel speed or nozzle tip size and recalibrate.

Take care of your sprayer and it will take care of you. Yes, your sprayer is a big investment and you want to make sure it's well taken care of. Proper use, care and maintenance will ensure your investment holds its value for years to come. Check out these tips from past blog posts to keep your sprayer in top shape!

1.) Use Equipment Properly

Proper training is needed for anyone operating the sprayer. This will ensure that your sprayer can hold up to years of hard work with minimal damages due to improper handling. You can also avoid work-related injuries by ensuring proper use of your spray equipment.

Take a look at some of these posts to help you get the most out of your sprayer:

2.) Perform Preventive Maintenance

• Spray Equipment Maintenance Tips to Implement This Fall -  This post features a couple of maintenance tips that should be performed during fall season. It also includes a FREE downloadable checklist that you can use to keep track of your spray equipment’s maintenance requirements.

3.) Don't Forget to Winterize

Winterizing your sprayer every year is a must. This is the perfect time to do a full inspection of all sprayer components, replace or repair as necessary, clean and store to prolong the life of your trusted sprayer. Winter time is coming soon, so why not be ready for this end-of-year tune up! Here are some of our favorite posts to help you with this upcoming task:

• - Includes a comprehensive guide with steps on winterizing your sprayer.
• - This post will guide you through the winterization process for your spray boom.

Need More?

Which of our posts would you recommend to others? What other topics would you like to see covered on our blog? Let us know in the comments below.

There is no doubt that technology has grown and transformed the way we do business.  The Internet has become an invaluable source of information where anything you need can be quickly found. However, keeping up with the latest technologies while trying to make the most out of all this extra information can be quite overwhelming.  Having so many options tends to put us in data overload and making one single decision can become an ordeal. We want to help you simplify your business and one great way to do it is by using apps.

To make it even simpler, we have picked five of the best industry apps out there that will help you quickly get the info you need and get back to the field in no time!

SprayIT

Developer: Hypro

Compatibility: Apple and Android devices

Price: Free

This is one of our favorite apps designed to make spray tip selection a breeze! It is very user-friendly, so all you need to do is enter the appropriate information such as spacing, type of application, solution density etc., and the app will provide a customized list of tip recommendations suited for your project.

Mix Tank

Developer: Precision Laboratories

Compatibility: Apple and Android devices

Price: Free

Winner of AgProfessional magazine’s Readers Choice, this is one popular app that will assist you with the proper tank mixing sequence of crop protection products. It also captures product use rates and application information and maintains it with spray logs for convenient and easy record keeping.

Vector Spray

Developer: U.S Department of Agriculture

Compatibility: Apple and Android devices

Price: Free

This is a neat app for pest control, specifically when it comes to spraying for mosquitoes. It calculates the size of spray droplets generated from various spray nozzles at different pressures while using several spray solutions. Pesticide applicators can plug in application parameters for their pesticide applications and see what droplet size range will be produced in vector control applications.

Calibrate My Sprayer

Developer: Clemson University

Compatibility: Apple and Android devices

Price: Free

We’ve said it many times, calibrating your sprayer is crucial for performance. This app makes calibration extremely easy! Simply select the type of sprayer you want to calibrate (Broadcast or Banded), insert values in each input box, select what you want the app to calculate (Volume/Area or Catch/Nozzle), and tap 'Calculate'.

SpraySelect

Developer: Teejet

Compatibility: Apple and Android Devices

Price: Free

Another great app to help you select the right spray tip or nozzle for your application. Just enter speed, spacing and your target rate, select your drop size category and you have a list of tips that will work for your application. The right nozzle is just a few seconds away!

Do you have a favorite app that makes your job easier? Share it with us below!

Our savvy Customer Service Technicians handle many calls throughout the day, many of which are inquiries from customers regarding how to properly maintain their sprayers in top-notch condition. For this reason, we have put together the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help you take care of your equipment:

Q: When should I replace my spray tips?
A: If you notice a change in flow rate or a change in pattern distribution then this might indicate that your spray tips need to be replaced. You should replace your spray tips immediately if they are worn out or damaged.

Q: How often should I flush my pump?
A: After every use, especially if you are using herbicide or other harsh chemicals.  Flush the pump using clean water.

Q: How do I know when my strainer needs to be cleaned?
A: If you notice a loss of pressure or a drop in flow rate then you may have a clogged strainer that needs to be cleaned. However, you should never wait until that happens, so it is advisable to clean it once a week depending on how often you spray. Check out our 3 Reasons Why You Should Check Your Sprayer.

Q: How often should I perform an oil change?

Q: When should I calibrate my sprayer?
A: You should calibrate your sprayer at least once every season. For more information on calibrating your sprayer please check our Step-By-Step Sprayer Calibration Guide to get you started.

Q: I am using a diaphragm pump, when should I replace the diaphragm?
A: Every 500 hours or every 3 months, whichever comes first.

Q: Should I also check my pump's valve?
A: Definitely! If you are replacing the diaphragm it is the perfect opportunity to also check the valve and replace it if necessary.

There are also a few other things you should make a habit of checking as part of your sprayer maintenance:

Check

• Hoses for any cuts, damage or bends
• Nozzles to make sure they are clean
• Tank for any damage or rupture
• Pressure switch for any leakage
• Boom spacing

Unlike a truck that has indicator lights on the dash and can warn you about needed maintenance, your sprayer relies on you for upkeep. While you’re busy with a daily routine and customers or crops, don't forget that your sprayer needs some attention too. Here we’ll take a look at three things that your sprayer doesn’t tell you.

1.) Nozzle selection

With advances in technology and an ever-evolving line-up of nozzle options, our friends at Hypro have put together a handy chart to make the nozzle selection process easier. After all, your sprayer won’t tell you if you’re using the wrong nozzle or if it’s clogged, but the output will tell you in a jiffy. Take the time to stay up-to-date on the new technology and advances that can ultimately save you time and money. A quick review of what you’re spraying and a few other variables will point you in the direction of the best nozzle to use. And just when you find a favorite, keep in mind if your spray environment changes or your needs vary, you should do another check-in. Don’t get too comfortable.

2.) Change the Oil

Often overlooked is the all important oil change. It’s just like your truck, a sprayer needs a regular oil change too. We talked about the oil change process here on the blog before, but it’s worth a quick note. Your sprayer should get an oil change after 40 hours of break-in operation and then every three months or 500 hours. As you keep up with routine daily maintenance, from cleaning your sprayer to adjusting variables – make sure an oil change is on the radar and write yourself a note or set a calendar reminder to ensure you remember to keep up with regular oil changes.

3.) Calibrate

You had to have guessed this topic would make it on the list. Calibrating to make sure your spray equipment applies proper levels of the selected product is so important. So important! Spraying too much or too little has consequences. We know you know this. But the cost of wasted chemicals can hurt your wallet. For a quick recap, check out the guest post from OhioAg.net  “Still time for sprayer calibration.

With spring temps slowly creeping into our atmosphere and spray season around the corner (seriously we’re almost through March already!), take care to give your sprayer ample attention throughout the season. Keeping a regular maintenance schedule and staying up-to-date on advances will positively impact both your spray equipment, but also your customers and crops. When they’re happy, you’re happy. Right?

Happy spraying.

We have a lot of fun at Sprayer Depot creating this blog, uncovering resources or industry news. We're always seeking out information that matters to folks from each of the industry segments we speak to on a regular basis. From the latest smartphone application to tips and tricks to utilize your spray equipment better, we try to cover it all throughout the year right here in this blog.

In case you missed them, here are the five posts that got the most views in 2014.

### 1.  6 Popular Apps for Tree Care Professionals

In June we reviewed six popular apps for tree care professionals. Like professional landscapers and horticulturists, professional arborists spend a lot of time working “in the field”.  The use of smartphones and tablets have helped make the workday more productive for these professionals by making every day tasks such as invoicing, project management and even research, easy to complete in a non-office work environment.

### 2. Plumbing Your Sprayer the Right Way

Then, in July, we dove into the inner workings of plumbing your sprayer the right way. The primary goal when you’re plumbing a sprayer pump is to route liquid from the pump to the spray nozzle with as little restriction as possible. By minimizing restrictions you’ll achieve the pump’s maximum rated capacity.

### 3.  4 Features of the New Sprayer Calibration App

We featured another smartphone application in September with the debut of a new sprayer calibration calculator app designed to assist spray applicators with calibrating a pesticide sprayer. The app was developed by the University of Illinois Extension and is available free to those with Apple and Android phones.

### 4.  How To Build the Perfect Custom Sprayer

When we say we know sprayers, it’s true. Our team builds more than 500 custom sprayers each year for customers looking to modify or completely reconfigure the makeup of this important equipment. After all, you don’t have to settle for less than perfect in the sprayer world. Just turn to our Sprayer Depot knowledgeable customer service technicians with your ideas and < bam > the perfect custom sprayer is born. Also in September we shed light on some of the common modifications to a few of our best selling sprayer models from Kings Sprayers.

### 5.  Introducing The Kings QuickShip Sprayers

Back in May we featured the Kings Sprayers QuickshipTM Program. We've made it easier than ever to get the high-quality commercial sprayer you want - without the wait! So we chose some of our most popular Kings Sprayers models and made them available for same day shipping*.  Sprayers in this program that are ordered by 12:00 p.m. (EST) will ship same day.

We’re grateful that you’ve chosen to read what we write and hope you find this blog to be a useful resource. Thanks for your time in 2014. We hope to see you here more often this year!

Recently Corn and Soybean Digest reported on a newly released smartphone app called Sprayer Calibration Calculator that is designed to assist spray applicators with calibrating a pesticide sprayer. The app was developed by the University of Illinois Extension and is available free to those with Apple and Android phones. As we’ve shared in previous posts, the cost of wasted chemicals can be high when your best tool isn’t set up right.

We took a closer look at the app, developed by Scott Bretthauer, an Extension Specialist in the pesticide safety education program, which includes functions to determine nozzle flow rate, among other things.

The Sprayer Calibration Calculator app allows users to select from one of four main options, including:

1.) Calibration:

This setting allows users to calibrate four different sprayer types, including: aircraft, ground rig, turf boom and boomless. Within each of these sections, the app offers sprayer calibration scenarios that can then be saved for future reference.

We explored the ground rig option for sprayer calibration that starts by entering in a few variables, including: application speed, nozzle spacing and targeted GPA. The app then calculates the required nozzle flow rate in gallons per minute. It’s pretty simple. Note that the boomless option is identical to prompts in the ground rig option, but asks for swath width rather than nozzle spacing. All good so far.

2.) PSI for GPM:

The next section is the ever-important setting that allows users to calculate required pressure (in pounds per square inch, or PSI) in order to provide a specific flow rate (in gallons per minute, or GPM), or do the opposite. A good example of its use was identified in the U or I July/August 2014 issue of the Illinois Pesticide Review that mentions this would come in handy if the flow rate isn’t listed in the nozzle manufacturer’s flow rate table. Or for those “my dog ate it” scenarios.

3.) Nozzle Speed:

The third offering in the app is pretty self-explanatory and should only be used with sprayers that have a flow control system. In short, it lists the minimum and maximum speeds for a specific nozzle.

4.) Convert Value:

Lastly, the convert value function assists users with some of the commonly associated pesticide application-related unit conversions that could be useful as a quick reference guide.

In a prepared statement that discussed how to use the smartphone application, Bretthauer explained that when using the smartphone application, “for most variables, touching the name of the variable brings up a definition of what the variable is and how it is measured.” It also looks like the developer has plans to add a function to assist with tank mix calculations, which could be fun, and more.

If you have the chance to check it out, let us know what you think in the comments below.