Don’t just spray

PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Man. — Farmers can find the money to buy sprayers but often don’t find the time to check their nozzles.

It’s a problem that can result in waste of expensive chemicals, poor results with crops and drift problems for neighbours.

However, it’s a problem many farmers don’t even realize they have.

“In the age of automatic rate control, a lot of farmers see their rate consistent on their display in their (cab) and they assume everything is right,” Matthew Kynoch of Enns Brothers said in an interview during the Canolapalooza event at Portage la Prairie.

“With all the expensive chemicals we’re putting down and the products we are using, are they actually being applied evenly with the droplet size we want?”

Worn nozzles aren’t a new concern. At one time they were one of the main things farmers would think about.

However, with all the new chemicals and the increasingly complex systems inside the sprayer, simply checking the status of the nozzles can be overlooked.

As well, many farmers are just getting back into doing their own spraying after using custom application services. 

“Custom acres are down, down, down,” said Kynoch.

That means farmers need to be on top of their spraying requirements, which can be a challenge when it is something that is done only a few times every season. It’s easy to forget or overlook basic elements of good spraying.

“You need to be familiar with rinsing,” Kynoch said.

“You need to make sure that your nozzles are inspected. You need to be familiar with how your rate controller works. You need to understand the importance of boom height and lots of other things.”

Another challenge is the addition of Xtend soybeans, which is bringing an old chemistry back onto the fields. Nobody wants to see that drifting into their other crops.

Worn nozzles can substantially reduce the effectiveness of spraying by producing droplets of the wrong size that are unevely distributed.

Electronic gauges don’t always reveal problems out on the boom.

“A lot of times guys don’t realize their nozzles are worn until they break one off or they have a plugged one and they put a new one on and they realize their neighbours definitely don’t look like the new one,” said Kynoch.

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