Wind speed, nozzle selection, and European tech —  a LIVE! Q&A with Tom Wolf

In gale force winds, it’s pretty easy to make the call to park the sprayer; but on days that are a little breezy, and if time is tight, there are things you can do to manage drift risk and do a better job of spraying in less than ideal conditions.

Of course, time is a factor too, and in this LIVE! Q&A with Tom Wolf of Sprayers 101 and AgriMetrix, host Shaun Haney asks about the best ways to measure wind, how to assess the risk of spraying later or not at all vs. going when it is too windy, and more. Listen in below, or check out the summary.

Don’t miss the next RealAg LIVE! Wednesday at 3 pm Eastern — with Shaun Haney, Kelvin Heppner, and Lyndsey Smith

  • Let’s talk wind. How do you make the call to go or not go? Trade off between doing a poor job of spraying vs. waiting vs. not spraying at all. And, of course, off-site movement.
  • Is there a best tool for measuring wind? Wind gets stronger at elevation, remember. It’s measured at 10 m for weather sites, and decreases closer to the ground/sprayer level. Your own weather station might be the solution.
  • European vs. North American sprayers: Why don’t we see more here? European sprayers are often run as small companies. But we are seeing more here, such as Amazone or Horsch. There, they have competition, and they have tougher standards, and they work harder for what our needs are, such as easier clean-out and more sophisticated folding. But, they are limited to 3 m transport width, so the sprayers have a strange shape and look.
  • What has been adopted by North American sprayers? Five major companies, basically, and not a lot of competition or pressure to innovate means not a lot has changed.
  • Brand loyalty is shifting based on features, specifically booms. Farmers are valuing the ability to level booms easier, have more stability or faster folding, for example.
  • Tips for clean out, switching product: How do we properly clean that tank, boom and nozzles? Spray it empty…which requires accurate metering and accurate info of what’s in the tank to minimize waste. Step 1. Spray it out. Step 2. Less water, but multiple rinses, and do that in the field, i.e. 50 gallons, 5 times, vs 250 gallons once. Much cleaner! Step 3. Spray out your rinse water. That’s most of it. You may have to do end caps, ends, and filters, where spray may get caught up.
  • What about cleaners? Some labels want the product to sit for hours, but that only works if you’re done spraying for the day. Ammonia is also useful, it’s a pH adjuster, and helps dissolve some products. But it doesn’t work for all products.
  • Then, there’s mixing order. If it goes poorly, you lose a day. And you have to get rid of it safely, then clean out and start again. Preventing a problem is well worth the time and effort of a little research and double checking.
  • Do a jar test when adding in a new product or multiple products to check compatibility, with the actual spray water and at the temp you’ll be mixing at.
  • Dicamba discussion: This couldn’t have happened at a worse time! If we don’t have access to the product, what does it mean for alternatives, will there be enough product? Think about it, if Liberty was pulled right now for use on any InVigor acres. It would be huge, huge. Does it mean they have to re-submit for 2021? If that’s the case, we are unlikely to see over-the-top dicamba use in 2021.
  • What about moving to more tillage vs. less? WeedIT sensor on a cultivator toolbar, spring-loaded shank, and little chisel, so technology is good and options are good. Used on chem fallow, not in-crop. But we still need access to herbicides.
  • (Nozzle) tip of the day! Start with something in the middle and work your way up and down. Low drift, low pressure, wide pressure range, air induction. Ta da! Less than ideal spraying situations? Take the time to change the nozzle and protect against drift.
  • Spray early, so use the nozzle that lets you do that.
  • Pressure controls droplet size, remember.

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