- Ada, Oklahoma


June 7, 2014

Sprayer calibration is a must

Ada — With below average rainfall and some warm weather the weeds in the pastures are already off to a good start.  Also, with the price of fertilizer, you have to ask yourself, do you want to fertilize the weeds? 

If you do your own weed spraying, how much liquid do you apply per acre?  How much chemical do you put out per acre?  Are you following the recommended rate listed on the label?  Are you controlling the weeds as cost effectively as possible?  Are you getting the results you want?

Studies show that only one in four sprayers actually apply the amount of chemical that the operator had intended.  The other three either over or under apply by at least 33 percent.  

Over application can result in (1) unnecessary chemical cost, (2) risk of crop damage, (3) environmental risk and (4) applicator safety, while under application can result in failure to achieve desired control and the risk of developed tolerance or immunity by target weeds.

To achieve the proper application rate, you must have the right tank mixture of the chemical.  

This cannot be done without knowing exactly how much water your sprayer applies per acre.  Nozzle flow rate, ground speed and effective spray width all affect the amount of water applied per acre.  

Many producers generally assume that the easiest way to change sprayer output is to change pressure.  Changes in pressure must be increased four times to double output, but if speed is changed, even by one mile per hour, chemicals can be over applied and costs can be increased by 33 percent.

Before calibrating the sprayer, you should service the entire unit.  Clean all lines and strainers, making sure that the strainers are in good condition and are the correct size and type for the chemicals that are to be applied.  

Inspect all hoses for signs of aging, damage, corroded fittings or leaks.  

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