This is a guest post by Wayne Steward, Global Spray Technology Product Manager – Pentair Hypro.
The agricultural spraying industry is changing at a fast pace with new chemical formulations, potential regulation changes and spray drift concerns that are making it crucial for farmers to consider spray technologies to help them in their #Spray15. There are several new agricultural spraying trends in the United States and Canada that are based around combating Glyphosate resistant weeds with new herbicide technology which includes Dicamba and 2,4-D. As a result of the new chemical formulations, drift mitigating technologies are increasingly important. This dynamic is putting the spray nozzle at the center of it and with it being the smallest and most overlooked piece of equipment on the sprayer that will have the greatest effect on the accuracy, efficiency, and drift potential of each pesticide application.
Reduce Spray Drift with Air Induction Spray Nozzle Technology
One technique that’s simple to follow and effective in reducing spray drift is utilizing the most recent nozzle technologies that utilize Air Induction. Air Induction technology in spray nozzles suck in air and mix them with the liquid to create larger droplets with the same volume of liquid by creating air pockets in the droplets. This creates uniformity by having many droplets the same size which mitigates spray drift.
Droplet Size Recommendation on the Chemical Label
The most important factor to consider when selecting a nozzle is the chemical label. The label will show a droplet size range the chemical company has determined to be the best for efficacy and drift reduction for their formulation. It’s important to understand that droplet size doesn’t necessarily mean a specific nozzle technology and that you can produce smaller, more uniform droplets while utilizing air induction technology. Some air induction nozzles are specifically designed for contact herbicides or fungicides and insecticides where coverage is the most important. Old technology “flat fan” nozzles are often assumed to be needed when coverage is important but new air induction nozzles can produce less drift able fines with much more droplet uniformity than “flat fan” nozzles while not sacrificing efficacy.
Helpful Tools for Farmers in Selecting Spray Nozzles
Selecting the correct nozzle can be quite daunting and by utilizing nozzle manufactures tools like spray nozzle calculators can help take some of the guesswork out of selecting the correct nozzle. By following the chemical label and utilizing new technology you should be able to have good efficacy while reducing drift and as a result increased yields.
Chemical Contamination – Importance of Boom Cleanout
A recent hot trend in spraying is the importance of boom cleanout. With glyphosate resistant weeds, growers have to use more varied herbicide programs as opposed to using nearly all glyphosate. Cleaning boom plumbing when switching from one chemical to another (which is done more often these days) has become even more important with new seed herbicide resistance and new strong herbicide formulations. Mixing chemicals can cause buildup in the boom or can cause a reduction in yield by having remnants of old used chemicals mixing with the new. Leveraging a valve or plug at the end of the boom for complete flushing allows you to remove old chemicals from the plumbing. By maintaining clean booms growers can prevent striping and chemical buildup as seen in the pictures below.