Automatic boom height control is most effective in fields with terraces or uneven surfaces, says Wolf.

“If you spend $430,000 for a sprayer, you don’t want to be moving it around very quickly. But it might not always be a good idea to raise the boom height and increase your speed.”

Air-assist is a technology that has been sold for several years, he continues.

“One of the focuses was to create an air stream to help get the product into the target. The only place where I can see that doing you any good is where you have dense canopies, like with wheat or barley.

“In soybean rust studies, we had just as good effects spraying straight down with a standard-type nozzle.”

Electro-static spraying, explains Wolf, is designed with very small droplets. If the droplets are too big, they won’t function. “They really soak all sides of the leaf, but they won’t get down into the canopy. If you use it for aerial fungicides, they promote 1 gallon per acre, but there’s not a label that supports that.”

Hooded sprayers have come and gone and are coming back, he says.

“I did some work a few years ago in Roundup Ready cotton. The challenge with cotton producers in going back to hooded sprayers is to get that product down in there and get those weeds covered.

“There’s more interest in it now, but it’ll slow down the application process dramatically, and there have been questions about how safe and effective the hoods are.

“With the ones I’ve tested, it has been a challenge to get those nozzles arranged to do the job right. In some cases, you could build up pressure under the hood and that’ll leak. If the hood isn’t well-designed, pressure could build up, and it has to go somewhere.”

The SpotOn sprayer calibrator at some point in time probably will replace the calibration container, says Wolf.

“It’s about $150. But in a 30-second test, my students were able to calibrate three nozzles in the same time as opposed to one nozzle using the cup method.

“It’ll give you a number in gallons per minute. In most low-volume applications, we have found this tool to be very accurate.

“Not everyone calibrates, and not everyone calibrates as they should. But when you do, you want to make sure that the amount of product that the label requires is coming out of the spray machine. You need parameters for your rate control to be effective.”


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