Farming is serious business and requires a lot of patience and well thought out techniques to maximize crops and profits. Pests have plagued farmers since the beginning of the agricultural revolution. While we've gotten better at dealing with them, it's always useful to review and refresh the tips we know. When you apply agricultural sprayers to deal with unwanted pests, you must handle it with the utmost precaution. This article contains eight suggestions for crop spraying that will help you reap a bountiful harvest.
- Reduce time by using large drops
This tip is all about the application of physics. When you use small drops such as 50 microns or less, droplets take longer to hit their target. The friction between the air and tiny droplets means they are more likely to be thrown, of course, and take longer to hit their mark, that is, if they do. Just doubling the droplet size from 50 microns to 100 microns can reduce the time it takes to hit the target by more than half. Large droplets also take less time to dry up.
- The right pressure is essential
It's tempting to increase the sprayer's pressure, mostly if you use smaller droplets, but that counterproductive. Why? More pressure reduces droplet size, and we already discussed why smaller droplets are less effective. On the other hand, when you decrease the pressure, the droplets get larger and find it easier to hit their target. A way to reduce the sprayer's force would be to slow down as you spray so the controller can adjust.
- Keep your travel speed steady
Your application speed affects the quality of your work because it correlates directly with the application of pesticides. Increasing the speed sounds like a quick and straightforward way to get the job done faster. However, it reduces your application rate because the controller increases the nozzle pressure, diminishes droplet size, and discussed how that affects productivity. Too little speed can also have a counter effect as an over-application of pesticides leads to wastage.
- Pay attention to the weather
Drift is the enemy of proper crop spray application. The weather is vital when using crop sprays, as wind affects drift quickly. Windy days will most definitely cause your droplets to drift and miss their target. Overall, you'll find that drift is more favorable on sunnier days. That's because the wind speed is affected by the temperature, and the wind is less likely to be a hindrance when it's 75 degrees than when it's 55 degrees.
Weather is not the only culprit that can affect drift. Your nozzle could be deterring your work as well. Invest in low-drift nozzles, and bring the boom as close to your target as possible to reduce the window for air friction to take effect. Before you start spraying, ensure the nozzles are not blocked by dirt or debris, affecting their effectiveness and leading to uneven distribution. Please don't use a metal object to unclog your nozzle; you could damage it.
- Use the right nozzle tips
The type of nozzle tip you use is just as essential as the size of droplets. Nozzle tips come in different shapes and sizes, so if you're not using the most appropriate ones, you could be wasting your pesticide. Uneven boom heights can result in irregular spray patterns, increasing the chances of certain areas receiving less treatment and others with too much. Try to keep your boom height leveled and fan tilted at the right angle.
- Adjust the boom height appropriately
Different nozzle types have various recommendations for the appropriate boom height. So, when you purchase a new crop spray or replace the nozzle, ensure you check the recommended angle. Spacing is essential in avoiding overlapping, so if you're unsure of the right angle to use, about 30-50 degrees should suffice if you're using flat-fan nozzles. The essence of adjusting your boom height is to achieve as close to the pesticide's uniform distribution as possible.
You must stay safe and remain cautious throughout the process. Before using any crop spray, especially if it's a new brand, take out time to read the instructions carefully. Digest them, and adhere to them as you work. Laws regulate the application of pesticides. It would be best if you followed all of them. Remember to put out protective gear as a lot of these chemicals are harmful to human skin. Keep your protective clothing on at all times, even when you're cleaning the equipment off.
There you have it, eight tips for crop spraying you can start applying right away for more successful farming. These tips are a lot more effective when you use the right product, so ensure invest in quality sprayers for the maximum effect.