What is in this article?:
• Your No. 1 goal should be to increase the efficacy and control the pest.
• Your second goal is drift management, and those two goals go hand-in-hand.
• But if you let drift management become the No. 1 goal, you’re not always going to kill weeds, so we have to keep No. 1 in mind here
BOB WOLF, PROFESSOR Emeritus at Kansas State University and president of Wolf Consulting & Research, describes new sprayer technology at the Sprayer Clinic held at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala.
Have similar components
But regardless of the sprayer system, most all of them have similar components, says Wolf.
“The one I want to give a lot of attention to is the nozzle. I don’t care if the machine costs $1,000 or $43,000, the nozzle is what gets it done.
“There are a lot of technologies that work to make it happen better, but the nozzle is the key. The one other most important part of that system is the operator — the person driving the machine. The more operators-applicators we can train, the better off we’ll all be in this business.”
Looking at new technology for sprayers, Wolf says flow back valves allow pressure from the boom lines to be relieved back to the tank when the valve is switched to the “off position.”
“Flow back is a current technology by TeeJet. If an airplane is flying over a field to spray a crop-protection product, when the pilot comes to the end of the field, he has to shut it off because he’s turning out onto roads and other fields.
“In a ground sprayer, when you turn off the master switch, it’ll continue to spray until the pressure drops in the check-valve — then it’ll stop.
“If you’re spraying at 40 psi, you’ll have spray down to about 10. Think about that in terms of crossing waterways or other areas that you don’t want sprayed.
“Flow back is a simple design modeled after that airplane system. There’s a hole in the ball valve that flows through to the boom. When you shut off the switch, the ball rotates and seals it.
“All the pressure trapped in the boom will go out through the nozzle. With this flow back, it goes back into the tank. This technology is not found on a lot of our commercial systems, but TeeJet has it available for smaller-system sprayers.”
Wolf says he hears from applicators all the time that they want one nozzle that’ll do everything they want it to do.
“But it’s not going to happen because of the challenges of the droplets, the coverage, and the drift, and the fact that you’ll be spraying something other than straight glyphosate all the time.
“It’s pretty easy to set up straight glyphosate in the tank, going 10 to 12 gallons per acre. If you add other products into the tank, and if you switch back and forth between products that are 10, 15 or 20-gallon, the same nozzle cannot do the job.”
There are stackable nozzle bodies that’ll help with this, he says.
Also in the last few years, there has been a lot of interest in electronically controlling the nozzles on and off. Normally, they are turned off the boom at the control valve.
Auto-steer is pretty much the trend in the commercial spray market today, says Wolf.
“There’s also automatic boom section control which gives you GPS control over the system to turn it on and off. If you tie this technology in with the TeeJet fast-closing back flow valve, you can shut off when you cross that water with an angle to it.”