Taking steps to minimize compaction from the sprayer

The topic of soil compaction often arises when talking about the heaviest of farm machinery — four-wheel drive tractors, grain carts/buggies, and manure spreaders — but sprayers should also be at the forefront when it comes to trying to minimize compaction.

After all, with some sprayer tanks now exceeding 2,000 gallons and booms extending upwards of 160 feet, there’s a lot of weight on those skinny tires that are supposed to travel between the rows or minimize the amount of crop that gets trampled down.

Timing is also an issue, as the tight window for spraying usually doesn’t allow for compaction risk to be taken into account.

So what can be done to minimize compaction from the sprayer? That’s the topic of this discussion with RealAg’s resident agronomist, Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson, and Shaun Haney.

Ideally, the sprayer will stick to the same tracks throughout the year, Peter notes, as the rule-of-thumb is that 80 per cent of compaction occurs on the first pass. Axle loads should also be considered, as some sprayer are better designed for sharing the load evenly between the front and back. There are also central tire inflation systems available for sprayers to lower tire pressure and compaction when not on the road.

Check out the conversation below, originally heard on RealAg Radio:

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