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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.

Have questions? Contact us today!

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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

3 Tips on Staying Safe While Spraying

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Wed, Sep 02, 2015

Safety_First

Working around chemicals or heavy machinery is no joke and should never be taken lightly. At the expense of sounding like the safety police, we want to remind you of the importance of creating a culture of safety at the workplace. Holding yourself and your staff to high standards of safety will prevent many unnecessary injuries. We can never be too careful around hazardous materials and like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Here are our top three tips on staying safe while spraying:

1.) Wear Protective Gear

We get it, long sleeve shirts, long pants, coveralls, boots, and gloves can make an already hot day feel like your own private sauna. Protective gear is by no means comfortable, but it is meant to keep you safe. While you don't necessarily have to be wearing layer after layer of clothing, wearing clothes that fit properly and cover exposed skin will help. Eyewear, facemask, hat and often a respirator are must haves in your arsenal of protective gear. Even the most steady hand can't prevent the occasional splash and drift so better make sure you are well protected. 

2.) Read the Product Label

Reading chemicals' labels is often overlooked, especially if you've been working with pesticides and herbicides for a while. However,we want to stress the importance of reading a product label to determine appropriate handling and application. Always use the right amount of product given your application to avoid waste and unnecessary contamination. This will also help avoid chemical run-off that may pose a health risk to you and others. 

3.) Ensure Proper Training

Operators should be properly trained not only for an effective application but also to avoid any mishaps from incorrect handling of the sprayer. Make sure that anyone in contact with the sprayer and chemicals has been trained and understands the importance of working in a safe manner.

Share in the comments below what steps you take to stay safe while you spray. Have any questions or suggestions? Let us know, we would love to hear from you. 

Topics: Sprayer Depot, spray tips, Pesticide spraying, Chemical Sprayers, sprayer safety, spraying, protective gear, product label

Still time for sprayer calibration

Posted by Sprayer Depot on Mon, Jun 09, 2014

Reprinted from OhioAg.net

 

With planting delays in some areas due to wet conditions, growers still have time to fine-tune and calibrate their sprayers to save money and protect the environment, according to an engineer from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Sprayers can make a big difference for growers’ pocketbooks and the environment, said Erdal Ozkan, an agricultural engineering professor and spray technology expert with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

Kings 4 Wheel Sprayer

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

“With the high cost of pesticides and fertilizers, growers who want to save money and spray chemicals as efficiently as possible need to make sure they fine-tune and calibrate their sprayers to work as accurately as possible, and get the job done with less use of chemical inputs,” Ozkan said.

The costs of those wasted chemicals can be high.

Farmers spend approximately $4.1 billion on pesticides annually, according to published reports. National surveys of field application results have shown that only about one out of three sprayers are applying pesticides at the recommended rates, while two-thirds are missing the mark by either over- or underspraying, Ozkan said.

“In Ohio and other states, if we use an error margin of plus or minus 5 percent as the yard stick, nearly 50 percent of growers fail to get to that error margin,” he said. “If the intended rate and actual rate is different than that, then growers need to recalibrate their sprayer.”

Of the 50 percent of growers who fail to obtain the 5 percent margin error, nearly half of them are over-applying their chemicals at an average rate of 23 percent, Ozkan said.

“For example, if a grower has a $10,000 budget for chemical pesticides, and they happen to be in the group over-applying by 23 percent, that means they are throwing away at least $2,300 alone in that error,” he said. “And if they aren’t applying the right amount of chemicals, which could result in a larger economic impact because the chemicals may not work, the grower may have to reapply and their crops could suffer from yield loss.”

Tips for fine-tuning sprayers include:

  • Double-check your sprayer for mechanical problems before you start using it. You won’t have time to do this when planting is in full swing.

  • Clean the sprayer tank thoroughly, and make sure nozzle filters are clean.

  • Clean spray nozzles, check their flow rates, and replace the ones that are spraying more than 10 percent of the original output.

  • Check the agitator in the tank to make sure it’s working properly.

  • Run water through the spray system to make sure everything is working properly.

  • Find out if the sprayer is delivering the proper application rate (gallons per acre).

While there are multiple ways to calibrate a sprayer, Ozkan said, growers should always measure the travel speed, measure the flow rate of the nozzle to ensure correct operating pressure, and check the system’s pressure gauge.

The following is typically the easiest way to calibrate for broadcast application that doesn’t require complicated calculations, he said:

1. Fill the sprayer tank with water.

2. Run the sprayer, inspect it for leaks, and make sure all vital parts function properly.

3. Measure the distance in inches between the nozzles. Then measure an appropriate distance in the field based on this nozzle spacing.

4. Drive through the measured distance in the field at your normal spraying speed and record the travel time in seconds. Repeat this procedure and average the two measurements.

5. With the sprayer parked, run the sprayer at the same pressure level and catch the output from each nozzle in a measuring jar for the travel time required in Step 4.

6. Calculate the average nozzle output by adding the individual outputs and then dividing by the number of nozzles tested. If an individual sample collected is more than 10 percent higher or lower than the average nozzle output rate, check for clogs and clean the tip, or replace the nozzle.

7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until the variation in discharge rate for all nozzles is within 10 percent of the average.

8. Then, the final average output in ounces is equal to the application rate in gallons per acre: Average output (ounces) = Application rate (GPA).

9. Compare the actual application rate with the recommended or intended rate. If the actual rate is more than 5 percent higher or lower than the recommended or intended rate, you must make adjustments.

10. You can start the adjustments by changing the pressure. Lowering the spray pressure will reduce the spray delivered; higher pressure means more spray is delivered. Don’t vary from the pressure range recommended for the nozzles that you use.

11. You also can correct the application error by changing the actual travel speed. Slower speeds mean more spray is delivered; faster speeds mean less spray is delivered.

12. If these changes don’t bring the application rate to the desired rate, then you may have to select a new set of nozzles with smaller or larger orifices.

13. Recalibrate the sprayer (repeat steps 5 through 12) after any adjustment.

For more information on sprayer calibration, see ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0520.html.

 

Topics: Sprayer Depot, Sprayer Calibration, Ag Sprayers, Chemical Sprayers

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