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Sprayer Depot Blog

8 Easy Steps to Calibrating Your Sprayer

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Fri, Dec 04, 2015

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.

Before you follow the steps, get your sprayer ready for calibration by following these tips:

  • 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!

 steps-to-calibrating-your-sprayer.jpg

*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.

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Topics: Sprayer Depot, calibrating a sprayer, Sprayer Calibration, Ag Sprayers, Chemical Sprayers, Boom Sprayer Calibration, How to Calibrate a Boom Sprayer, user guide, infographics, calibrating app

4 Features of the New Sprayer Calibration Calculator App

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

Sprayer Calibration CalculatorRecently 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.

Topics: Sprayer Depot, sprayers, pest control, Apps on the Sprayer Depot blog, Pesticide Applicators, calibrating a sprayer, pesticides, Pesticide Application Technology, Pesticide Application, Pesticide spraying, Pesticide applicator, Spray apps, apps for spraying agriculture, pest control app, Sprayer Calibration, sprayer checklist, Sprayer Set Up, Calibrating a Boom Sprayer, Boom Sprayer Calibration, sprayer tips and tricks, University of Illinois, Scott Bretthauer

How To Manage Spray Drift in 5 Easy Steps

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Wed, Aug 27, 2014

Kings SprayerImagine you’re applying pesticides using a backpack sprayer. Or, just the same, you’re spraying from a truck using a tank, pump and hose to apply chemicals. Maybe you’re using a boom setup. For that matter, you could even be piloting an airplane and in each situation the definition of spray drift is the same.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency: “pesticide drift is the movement of pesticide dust or droplets through the air at the time of application or soon after, to any site other than the area intended.”

We’re all aware of those two dreaded words: Spray Drift. While the repercussions of it vary for each industry and application type, the definition and solutions to manage spray drift are similar. In many of these scenarios above the issue with spray drift can lead to spotty pest control, wasted chemicals, off-target damage, water and air quality issues and higher costs. That last one really hurts. As the public becomes more aware of pesticide concerns, and regulators are quick to slap fines, spray drift management from that standpoint is vital to our livelihood.

Much like you take precautions to protect yourself with your work attire by making sure to wear proper clothing, eye protection and closed-toe shoes, you should also consider these five steps to manage spray drift from Sprayer Depot.

  1. Avoid spraying when weather conditions are unfavorable. I know, I know. You’ve heard this time and time again that weather affects spray drift. It’s true though and often times we get so caught up in our day-to-day that we ignore this important factor. Think about the day’s conditions as it relates to wind, temperature and humidity, air stability, etc. Know your product labels well and understand these requirements, even for wind velocity. Make adjustments accordingly. It may, even on the extreme end, require you to reschedule that day’s work. Also think about how droplet size factors into the weather issue. Large droplets are less likely to drift in general because they fall more quickly, evaporate more slowly and are less affected by the wind given their size. We like that.
  2. Consider using buffer zones. This aspect is becoming more important given label requirements these days. These "no spray zones" serve as a barrier to protect sensitive areas and vary greatly for each landscape, equipment and application type. Design of a buffer area depends on variables like spray method, wind, chemical type and the type of sensitive area that you’re trying to avoid. In general there is not a one-size-fits-all rule.
  3. Try new technologies like drift reduction nozzles. We recently spoke to Mark Techler with Hypro & SHURflo Ag and Industrial Pumps and Accessories in a recent blog post about drift control spray tips. He explained that these drift control spray tips “use air induction to produce air filled droplets, which dramatically reduce drift compared to conventional tips.” He went on to share the benefits of this new tech and offered up the Hypro SprayIT Calculator as a resource the next time your considering one of these new parts.
  4. Lower spray (boom) heights. It makes sense. The higher the boom, and thus the spray nozzle, are above the target, the more likely that wind will move droplets away from the intended area. Your nozzle label will offer a recommendation on nozzle height, which can serve as a good starting point to adjust the boom height. However, often those recommendations for nozzle height are much higher than optimum on large application equipment traveling at higher speeds. Of course, you want to ensure the boom isn’t too low, which can create uneven patterns. A 1:1 boom height has generally been the standard, but some recommend getting a tad closer so we recommend using the manufacturer recommendation as a starting point and working down from there – take into account your unique landscape and spray mechanics. 
  5. Use lower pressures.  In general, the concept that we’ve all heard is to use lower pressures, which result in larger droplets. However, in today’s application world this method might need some adjusting given the new technologies with drift control spray nozzles. With the design of some drift control spray nozzles that introduce air induction, these tips will create a drop in pressure while still producing larger droplets. 

Your actions can affect spray drift. After all, you CAN control the equipment you use and the field conditions you spray. So while you may not have control over the weather or even the neighboring property, you can be empowered by these 5 easy steps to manage spray drift and you have the opportunity to educate your team, too.

Topics: Spray Equipment Maintenance, Hypro, Boom Sprayer, fertilizer sprayer, Sprayer Depot, sprayers, spray equipment checklist, sprayer, spray tips, calibrating a sprayer, spray tip, spray tip selection, Shurflo, Sprayer Calibration, sprayer checklist, sprayer equipment, sprayer nozzle, spray drift, spray tip calculator, spray tip selector, drift control spray tip, drift control, Sprayer Set Up, Calibrating a Boom Sprayer, Boom Sprayer Calibration, sprayer tips and tricks

Pesticide Applicators Can Save Money By Following Three Spring Tips

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Wed, May 07, 2014

by MSU News Service

Pesticide applicators can save money by inspecting their spray equipment, calibrating their sprayers and testing the quality of their water before spraying, said Montana State University Extension Pesticide Education Specialist Cecil Tharp.

“It’s easy for applicators to focus on purchasing pesticide products while neglecting to calibrate the output of their spray equipment or test the quality of their water being used for spray applications,” Tharp said.

Offering three tips for spring spraying, Tharp recommended first that applicators inspect their spray equipment by checking spray pumps, lines, hose clamps and fittings for leaks and assessing the entire sprayer for rust, wear and breakage. Applicators should also inspect nozzles to see if the screens are free of debris and each nozzle spray pattern is uniform.

“A finely tuned ground sprayer in the fall may deliver a vastly different spray output in the spring,” Tharp said. “Rusted nozzles, ruptured seals or rust in the lines may eventually lead to uneven spray patterns or a significant departure from desired target flow rates.

To check the spray pattern, Tharp suggested that applicators spray water over gravel or concrete. If the spray pattern seems uneven, they should replace or clean the nozzles. They should select a nozzle tip that’s rated for the width they want to spray. Hypro Spray Tip

In his second tip – calibrating sprayers – Tharp said the goal is to make sure that the output of their sprayer falls within the range required on many pesticide product labels. Once applicators determine the output of their sprayers, they can determine how much pesticide product to add to a tank. For more information on calibrating sprayers, Tharp suggested applicators go tohttp://www.pesticides.montana.edu and select “Reference material” at the lower right side of the web page. He recommended applicators either download and print the MontGuide titled “Calibrating Ground Sprayers Using Shortcut Methods” or refer to the calibration PocketGuides.

In his third tip – checking water quality before mixing solutions – Tharp said many applicators don’t realize that water quality affects pesticide effectiveness. A pH over 8, for example, may lead to a 50 percent loss of 2.4-D amine efficacy within a few hours. In addition, glyphosate (Roundup, for example) formulations lose efficacy if hardness exceeds 150 parts per million.

“Water quality can significantly lower pesticide performance of many pesticide products,” Tharp said. “Vast areas of Montanaharbor ground water with less than ideal pH and/or hardness for spraying common pesticides.”

Applicators can test their water with a pH meter or pH litmus strips, Tharp said. If pH is a problem, applicators should consider using alternative sources of water or adding a buffering agent to adjust the pH. For more information on water quality, a new MontGuide titled “Pesticide Performance and Water Quality” is available by going to http://www.pesticides.montana.edu and selecting “Reference material.”


Topics: sprayers, spray tips, Pesticide Applicators, calibrating a sprayer

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