Eight habits of successful spraying
Posted: May 24, 2011
Spraying done right is a careful science that involves balancing pressure, equipment and technology. Keeping up with the best strategies can be tough as innovations come on stream and more complexity is added to the equation.
One person with a good perspective on how to simplify the job and get it done right is Dr. Tom Wolf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a leading researcher and thinker in the area of crop spraying. Here's his take on eight key rules of thumb that serve as a good reminder for producers this spraying season.
1. Know the right spray quality. The most important starting point for spray operators is to know the right spray quality for the job at hand, says Wolf. "They also need to use manufacturers' charts to identify the spray quality their nozzle will likely produce at their expected application volume and travel speed. If it's a poor match, a different nozzle may need to be found."
2. Aim for coarse spray. Farmers should select a nozzle that produces a Coarse spray over most of the operating pressures they expect to use, Wolf advises. "Although Very Coarse sprays can work in most situations, avoid them when using lower water volumes, controlling grassy weeds, or using contact modes of action."
3. Limit risk of drift. One the most simple and effective ways to minimize spray drift is by avoiding pressures that produce Medium or Fine spray qualities, he says.
4. Choose mid-range pressure for nozzle. Choose a pressure that is in the middle of the nozzle's recommended operating range, says Wolf. "If the range is 15 to 90 psi, select 50 psi. If it's 40 to 100 psi, select 70 psi. This allows you to slow down or speed up somewhat without breaching the nozzle's capabilities."
5. ID your speed limits. Identify the travel speeds that are possible without creating spray qualities that could compromise your application goals, says Wolf. Then stay within that range.
6. Use visual inspection. Wolf advises producers to visually inspect the spray pattern at the pressure extremes they expect to spray at. "At the lowest pressure, your nozzle should still produce 100 percent overlap." In other words, the edge of the spray fan should come to the middle of the next nozzle at target height. If it doesn't, Wolf says to do one of three things: Choose a wider fan angle nozzle, increase spray pressure or elevate the boom.
7. Check pump limitations. Producers should also make sure their pump can produce the higher spray pressures they expect to need," he says. "Pressure limitations are greatest at high flow rates - in other words, at fast travel speeds applying large water volumes."
8. Be prepared to compromise. This last tip, one of the most important, is about producers having the right mindset, says Wolf. "It's rarely possible to travel at the exact speed, obtain the perfect pressure, and apply the desired water volume that's been worked out in the office or using manufacturer's charts. If in doubt, choose slower speeds or higher water volumes to make things work out."
Wolf notes that nozzle manufacturers are getting much better at producing information that helps applicators produce good spraying outcomes. Learning how to use this information is critical for producers to spray well and get expected results.
Product update: Demco upsizes its SideQuest saddle tanks
Updated: June 7, 2011
Demco announced it has introduced a new 1,200 gallon version of its SideQuest saddle tanks.
As with the company's previous SideQuest units, these tanks mount on the side of the tractor. Each tank has a capacity of 600 gallons. Features of the unit include new positioning of the oil bath hub for improved weight distribution and a 16 inch fillwell along with a new, larger center sump that provides complete drainage. The new SideQuest also offers an optional ladder for safer, easier filling, and has larger bearings and spindles.
"There is an excellent front to rear weight distribution ratio with 25 percent of the weight in the front and 75 percent in the rear, minimizing stress to the tractor frame," says the Demco announcement. "The new SideQuest tank design offers superb visibility out of the tractor cab to all directions."
Find more information on the Demco website.
Glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane found in Ontario
Posted: May 24, 2011
Populations of glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane have been confirmed in southwestern Onatario, Monsanto Canada has announced. This is the second weed species with confirmed resistance to glyphosate to be found in Canada. Glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed was confirmed in the same region of Ontario in 2008.
The confirmation is not a major surprise - Canada fleabane, also known as marestail or horseweed, has been confirmed in 18 states in the U.S. "We have seen the presence of glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane moving north in the past decade so we are not completely surprised that we found this glyphosate-resistant weed in fields in Ontario," said Dr. François Tardif, department of plant agriculture at the University of Guelph, who along with his colleague, Dr. Peter Sikkema, made the confirmation.
Monsanto Canada says it is working cooperatively with the researchers at the University of Guelph to develop and communicate management strategies for the control of glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane. The company offered an overview of the situation in a media release, reporting the glyphosate-resistant weeds in question were found from seeds collected in soybeans fields in southwestern Ontario during the fall of 2010. Seed samples were sent to the University of Guelph from growers suspecting resistance to glyphosate. Of the 12 populations tested, eight survived the diagnostic dose of glyphosate in tests completed in the greenhouse. All resistant Canada fleabane populations were in Essex County.
"Glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane can be problematic since it has wind blown seeds," explained Dr. Sikkema. "Currently, Canada fleabane is primarily a weed management focus in no-till crop production systems."
Monsanto says the good news is there are ready available control options for farmers. Find more information on the Monsanto Canada website.