Pinpointing precision farming

So long, section control Precision farming is easier with individual nozzle control

BRANDON — Growers accustomed to sectional control on their sprayer booms might want to consider a move to individual nozzle control.

“The Capstan Pinpoint system takes everything one step further. It goes inside what you now have as sectional control,” said Capstan representative Garnet Welykholowa.

“Individual nozzle on-off is controlled by a box in your cab that gives you the ability to shut off individual nozzles. This is much deeper than sectional control.”

The system has been available for years and has been offered as an option on Case IH sprayers. It manages flow and pressure by turning individual nozzles on and off at high speeds.

“So if you’re driving into a pie shape situation or you have irregular fields, PinPoint shuts off the nozzles it needs to so you don’t waste chemical and you don’t damage crop with overspray,” said Welykholowa.

He said turn compensation is one of the system’s main features.

As booms become wider, the outside nozzles naturally travel faster around a turn while the inside nozzles move slowly or almost stop. Those high speed outer nozzles put less product on the crop while the inside nozzles put on too much.

“We now have individual control of the solenoid on each nozzle,” he said.

He said the PinPoint box processes GPS readings on the speed of the sprayer and the radius of the turn. It uses that data to calculate the amount of spray each nozzle should put out to maintain a constant application rate by all nozzles as the sprayer goes through the turn.

“That’s not all. We can talk to each nozzle to tell it how to compensate for varying field conditions,” he said.

“If you want a higher rate behind the wheels, you tell those nozzles to put on 1.2 times the normal rate, or whatever it is you want. Or on your headland passes, you might want those outer two or three nozzles to put out more product. We know that weeds and insects encroach from the ditches, so you can let those outer nozzles take care of that for you.”

He said reducing effort and cost also brings other side benefits, including nozzle-valve diagnostics. This component monitors each nozzle independently, which lets the operator know if there’s a problem and identifies which nozzle is in trouble.

Nozzle inspection is simplified by the remote key fob, which allows the operator to test each nozzle individually without turning on the entire boom or running back and forth to the cab. The operator stands behind the sprayer and runs down the line of nozzles one by one.

The system’s four pre-set function keys customize the configurations in advance for fence rows, wheel tracks and potholes.

“We have customers who have kept careful records of their costs,” he said. “By adding PinPoint to their existing sectional control system, they tell us they’ve saved from four to 15 percent by eliminating overlap.”

For more information, contact Garnet Welykholowa at 306-527-1384 or visit www.capstanag.com.