3 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Your Sprayer
13 Dec 2230 min 24 sec

Your sprayer is an expensive piece of equipment that gets plenty of use deploying expensive crop inputs. With all that money involved, it’s important to prevent costly mistakes that can be remedied very inexpensively. Nick Fleitz, Agronomist with Pentair Hypro explains three mistakes — worn nozzles, fine droplets, and sprayer contamination — that could very well be robbing yield. Then, Nick outlines the easy fixes that’ll get your spraying dialed in!

Presented by Advanced Drainage Systems with support from Agricen.

00:00 We are talking about a topic today that you probably are impacted by and you may not even be thinking about it because it's off your radar. We're talking about three common mistakes 00:09 that you might be making when it comes to your sprayer. Welcome to extreme AGS cutting the curved podcast where you get a guaranteed return 00:20 on investment of your time as we cut your learning curve with the information. You can apply to your farming operation 00:26 immediately extreme AG, we've already made the mistakes so you don't have to managing. Your Farm's Water Resources is 00:35 a critical component to a successful and sustainable farming operation Advanced Drainage Systems helps Farmers, just like you increase their 00:44 yields up to 30% with their technologically advanced Water Management products visit ads pipe.com to see how 00:53 they can keep your business flowing. Now, here's your host Damien Mason well greens and welcome to another fantastic episode of extreme AG's 01:02 cutting the curve. We're not casting Stones. We're not accusing anybody of being a bad farmer. We just understand that you have a 01:08 lot going on when you're running farming operation and you very well might just Overlook these 01:14 things that are happening with comes to your sprayer and it might be costing you a lot of money, you know, crop inputs are expensive here at 01:23 extreme AG. We do all kinds of Trials. We talk to you about all the stuff we're putting on right right product right time right 01:29 practice. But if your sprayer is not up to Snuff, if you're doing these little mistakes kind of blend into becoming bigger mistakes. 01:40 Nick flights is an agronomist with a company called Pentair Pentair among other things makes sprayer tips nozzles. Nick 01:46 is going to talk to you about the three common Stakes you might be making when it comes to your sprayer. Last time. I saw this gentleman, he 01:52 and I were in Chad Henderson's field in Alabama in the darkness using dye that we dumped into the sprayer to go out and check distribution of sprayer product 02:01 and with different nozzles on the field. So anyway, Nick, thanks for being here. 02:08 Yes, sir. Thanks for having me on is this more comfortable you sitting in your office talking to me on a zoom call then wondering 02:14 around North Alabama cornfield where it's 85 degrees and getting bit by mosquitoes at 10 o'clock at night. 02:22 Being honest with you. I'd rather be out in the field has never really did like me much. I must I must taste bad. 02:28 I don't know what it is. I'm lucky that way, but I'd always for being the field then in the office. All right. Well, I appreciate 02:37 that. Actually, we probably have that in common, but Let's talk about these mistakes that you see in the first one is nozzle where and 02:46 you say something very smart. Just to kick this whole thing off. The nozzles are where parts we don't always think of them 02:54 as where Parts but they are just like fluids bushings bearings things like that. They are where parts and 03:01 so if you're not treating them as such, you know, there can be some issues that you could run into. 03:07 And with their modern sprayers in all the technology and on. 03:11 They can hide some of those issues from our eyes but they're still there under the surface and occurring and so 03:18 historically the thinking is been if you're using warn spray nozzles, you're going to be overlying you're gonna be wasting chemistry, but that's actually not true with 03:27 today's prayers. Are modern sprayers use flow rate controllers. So they're gonna do their best to put out the the GPA 03:35 volume that you put into the task control. So if you say you want to spray a 10 gallons break or you're telling the sprayer that and you set up to spray a 40 03:44 PSI, you know, when you go through the field the sprayer is going to do its best to maintain that GPA output. 03:50 Just the first to the person that doesn't do their own spraying that lets the co-op do it GPA equals. Gallons per acre. Yeah, so that's going on 04:00 initial field. The sprayers are smart enough. Now that you say we're gonna be putting nine gallons per acre or whatever. That number should be 27 gallons 04:09 per acre right here that sprayer will do it whether the nozzle is right or not. It's just that it's if it's getting the right gallons out and the nozzles worn. 04:18 What's the problem? Maybe two things. The first in the can go can go together with the first one is pressure. So 04:26 the sprayer uses changes in pressure. To to maintain the application volume that you're looking for the GPA output. 04:36 So as nozzles where the orifice is in them become larger, they let more flow pass through than a given pressure. So say you spread it set up the spray at 40 PSI and 04:45 maybe you have a specific droplet size your targeting. If I've been using my nozzles for five six years, maybe I took them off an old sprayer put them on new one. They got 04:55 a lot of wearing them. You're not gonna be spraying a 40 PSI. Maybe you're gonna be spraying at 25 or 20 psi. Mm-hmm 05:01 to maintain that output. So you have that issue so you are going to get changes in droplet size. You may be at a different droplet size and you want maybe you're trying 05:10 to spray a contact chemistry like a fungicide. You don't want a coarser droplet size. Okay. The other thing is uniformity as nozzles where 05:19 the uniformity of the the distribution of the droplets and the spray pattern. Become more radic they're not as uniform. 05:29 Utah when I'm gonna cross that field if that nozzles warn, it might not be doing the same thing here as 05:38 it is 40 feet down the field because it's it loses its ability to be right including more volume or less volume at 05:47 certain parts in the pattern. So I may have an area of the pattern where I'm over applying. Okay in an 05:53 area around under applying. It's just not not as uniform. um of a dose, it's not 06:00 as even and then you also Is you speed up and slow down the sprayer is going to change pressure to try and maintain that uniform 06:09 GPA output that. If the sprayers already having to make a big reduction in pressure. 06:17 Because you're using more nozzles. And then you go to slow down to turn or you're going up a hill or somewhere. You might slow down and feel this sprayer 06:25 then has to further reduce pressure and you could very well end up below the minimum pressure rating for that nozzle. Okay that 06:34 can result in collapsing of the pattern which will further reduce the uniformity of the dosing across the width of the spray. 06:43 Boom. Well what you really ties back to accuracy? Yeah what you just said, you just showed with your hands. I know most people are probably listening not watching this what that 06:52 does also is you're missing areas. I mean if what you're just described that means that that nozzle now is not covering if it's supposed to be blowing out over 20 inch 07:01 area. It might be shrinking down to only covering at 12 injury. Exactly, exactly. And so it all ties back into the uniformity 07:09 of the application modern sprayers or Precision Instruments, when you think about all the technology built into them, and so 07:18 if you use an old worn-out nozzles, you you may not get the full benefit of that Precision piece of 07:24 equipment that you bought plus all the chemistry that's going through it and then the crop trades to get paired with the chemistry. 07:34 Sprayer. Yeah, half a million dollars maybe right five hundred four hundred thousand dollar new sprayer very very easily half a million dollars. 07:43 Okay. And then how much is a how much is a nozzle? Say seven to two ten dollars per night. So if you've got a half million dollar machine and you've 07:55 got a guy operating it and you're covering all those Acres. Why not spend the money and put new nozzles on I 08:02 guess what I'm saying here, right? Think of it this way we break everything down into per acre costs for for inputs and equipment and 08:10 Roi on things. To spend a say six hundred dollars for new set of nozzles for full sprayer you think about using those over 40 50 60,000 08:22 Acres all of a sudden. It's Pennies are less per acre. Yeah over the life of a certain nozzle. Is that is that a number you 08:31 just threw out are my nozzles good for 40,000 Acres. So I've done testing on that to get an idea for how long nozzles last because everybody 08:42 asks you how long do nozzles last but nobody really had a good answer and what I found was 50 to 60,000 acres is 08:51 a good lifespan to expect. So the general rule, so if you farm if you farm 2500 Acres, that means I should 09:00 be good for 20 years, but I'm going over that field three times a year. Let's say so it's really not 20 years. It's about six. Is that 09:09 right? Yeah, yeah, you gotta think about the passes the cumulative number of Acres you spray in a year. Not just the number 09:16 of Acres that you form, but how many passes you make over that and then just over life outside, you 09:22 know where you just want to watch for we all Runner booms into things every now and again, you know getting the ground you catch a fence posts or some trees around 09:32 the edge. So you want to watch out for some of the physical damage that we can inflict on them as well. So even if you say well wait a minute, I'm I don't 09:41 farm that many acres heck my analysis are good for 15 years. You'd probably say just like everything just because your car didn't go the 4,000 09:50 miles between oil changes if it's been four years go ahead and change the oil right? Exactly. Yeah, the I would say 09:58 that this is well from what I just said the physical things but then also just like with cars or phones 10:04 or computer. There's new developments in in consumer products over time. So there are you know advancements in spraying technology over the 10:13 years that occur. So there could be better and newer options that come to the market over time. That might give you a better forming spray 10:23 might help you unlock a little bit extra yield, you know things like that that can help your operation that you should should be aware of as well. Yeah. So even if you 10:32 haven't gone over 50,000 Acres, you know with that nozzle there. There's probably a reason to update and look at new nozzles. Anyhow, and as you said if you're talking about a half 10:41 million dollar piece of equipment, that's vital you're going you're using a lot and it's gonna cost you 600 bucks 10:47 to put new nozzles on the whole boom and you're talking about that booms want 120 feet or something. 10:52 General yeah, 120 feet. Yeah. Cool. All right, Nick flights from pentairs Thomas three common mistakes that you might be making when it 11:01 comes to your sprayer. That's costing you money. First one was nozzle where we talked a lot about that next. We're going to talk about using nozzles 11:07 that are too fine and droplet size. But before we get into that, I want to remind you something that Kelly Garrett says, he's one of the extreme AG farmers, of course, he says 11:16 feeding a plate of food to an unhealthy person who can't eat it is a waste of nutrition. So just think about that. 11:22 You're sick. You give a bunch of food what you can't eat it, right. So what good does it do you well, it's a waste nutrition apply that 11:28 same logic to your crops if your plants are stressed and unable to take up nutrients applying more nutrients is not the answer. In other 11:37 words a stressed plant can't take in more nutrients. That's why Kelly Garrett applies agersons accomplish 11:43 Max in Furrow for stress mitigation and to maximize yield You want healthier plants? Try accomplished Max. It's exclusively 11:51 available from nutrient AG Solutions. That's accomplished Max at nutrient AG Solutions. All right, Pentair agronomist. Nick flights nozzles 12:00 that are two we talked about nozzle where it's aware part very smart point there that you know, you just it's it's most people probably just don't think about it. 12:09 Nozzles are too fine and droplet size. You said that's one of the common mistakes. What's the matter if I put out as long as the products going out there? And as long as I'm getting the gallons per acre what 12:18 difference does droplet size make So there's a couple parts to it and I'm gonna relate this one back to flexibility. 12:26 And so for using nozzles that are too fine. We don't have a lot of flexibility is whether changes occur. 12:36 So you're out spraying in the wind kicks up, but you really need to get over those Acres due to the weed pressure or the crop grow stage things like that. You got acres 12:45 to cover. Sometimes you can't always shut that sprayer down. If we're using nozzles that are too fine that introduces 12:53 a lot of risk into our our operation and folks are around us. So think about Chad Henderson where he farms and lives right 13:02 outside Huntsville, Alabama, the city's encroaching on his his ground, you know, every year there's a lot of developments and things around him. So 13:10 If he's out using fine. Fine droplets and spraying and people are seeing that those that spray Cloud moving they're gonna be 13:20 concerned and they may call and complaints in that and have the issues what he's doing especially start talking 13:26 about windier days. Things are gonna help move that spray around instead of having to shut that sprayer down or cause issues with his neighbors. 13:35 moving up a droplet size or two gives him a lot more flexibility and a buffer. in 13:43 Changing environments around your Fields but also changing weather conditions that are occurring 13:49 when you're spraying and you still need need to get need to get those Acres covered. So a couple years ago 13:55 at the AG PhD Field Day actually didn't demo with this and if you a couple years ago, there it was 14:01 I think was 102 the day before the show. When we sprayed a hundred two degrees of hundred two degrees. It 14:07 was sunny. They were in the middle of a drought so as low humidity, so we sprayed with three different nozzles, and we did that the UV dyed demo where 14:16 we sprayed soybeans. We put a tent to darken it. the nozzles that used a fine and medium droplet size. We got very poor coverage. 14:28 A lot of it went into the air. The course and very course in Ultra course nozzles. We got great coverage. They were 14:37 able to resist that evaporative pressure from the wind from the hot dry weather the low humidity 14:43 and get down to the Target and cover that plant. So you can get great coverage under perfect conditions with a really fine nozzle, but it 14:54 has to be the perfect conditions. It doesn't give you much flexibility and nobody likes shutting the sprayer down. Nobody likes getting out and changing nozzles things like that. 15:03 So moving up. A droplet size class or two to a course or very course right in the middle. We can get the best of both worlds. We can still get great coverage we can 15:15 get great agronomic performance. we can get more spring days with changing weather conditions and we can also help protect anything that's around 15:24 our Fields whether it be other crops whether it be housing development schools. Yeah, so it's interesting. I mean, I guess we all know it if we've been around farming enough 15:35 that you put something out there very fine. It increases its volatilizing is that the right terminology, you know, we talk 15:44 about chemical, you know, like Banfield back in the 80s and 90s would just pick up and move and and we kind of have that now is that that I can but argument so if we if we're 15:54 putting it out there and too fine of a pattern it becomes it's more easily vaporized or volatile. What's right terminology here Nick, you're the smart way. It's 16:03 very prone to evaporation. So so our fine droplets take 85 degree temperature 30 40 percent humidity 16:12 anything in that hot dry weather. Those droplets can completely evaporate falling. You know eight or nine feet. 16:22 You're not always spraying at eight or nine feet, but you think about doing a late season application of fungicide or 16:28 a folder feeding things like that where we're going to have our boom higher those droplets have farther to travel those droplets can very 16:37 easily evaporate and that's product that was paid for by you your customer that's not reaching the 16:43 intended target. Got it. So first off you talked about we lose the product, you know it we're spending the money and then it's prone to evaporation. So we just wasted our 16:54 money and then we talked about the other part of it the neighbors the fact that it moves, but if I go to bigger droplets, don't 17:03 I sacrifice coverage? Yeah, yes, and no, so there's there's a point in there. Where a 17:13 It's there's a droplet size. You can go to let's say one or two higher. The coverage can be similar. 17:21 It may go down just a little bit. Now if you make a really big swing, yes. Okay, I'm talking about kind of smaller changes here incremental changes here. 17:30 They're going to have a big impact and pay dividends. So I'm not saying go from a medium refund droplets and Ultra course. I'm just saying maybe go up to a 17:39 course droplet size and you'll still get plenty of coverage. But what you're spraying in it? 17:45 In certain weather conditions, you may get even better coverage. If you're losing a lot of that product to drift or evaporation. It's not covering your Target. 17:54 Anyway. Yeah, right. So right too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. Yeah, and so too fine of a droplet size, you know mind says better 18:03 coverage that's not always the case under certain weather conditions. Yeah, maybe really a point there. It's like well if I put it to course, I'm not gonna get the 18:12 coverage. Well, you weren't getting a coverage when it's this fine. Anyhow, because it's evaporating us blowing over the neighbors and obviously, like 18:18 I said, we know that there's been lawsuits over that and there's some other problems there. Is there a right 18:24 answer. I mean, otherwise, you know what I like if you say I'm gonna put a gap test on my spark plug there's an exact thing. You might cry, 18:33 but are out there. You measure it do it at this number. You don't have an exact number to tell somebody do you 18:39 because it kind of got a very on a lot of conditions, right? Correct. It does. I sometimes there 18:45 are some cases where there's a very clear right and wrong answer. 18:49 Things like that can but 24d and list where there are specific nozzles and pressure ranges that are proved on the label in those 18:58 cases it it's right and wrong. Everything else. There's a lot more gray area. Generally, you know the labels will all 19:06 call out something for nozzles and droplet size. But it's very loose and they basically all say use a medium-sized droplet or coarser. It is really 19:16 what it boils down to so most of the time. We'll be within the label bounds there. And so there's a lot of there's a lot of differences based on the 19:27 chemistry. You're applying based on who's running the sprayer. Everybody is calibrated differently for what they like to see and drop those size what they 19:36 what they can stomach for drift potential. And then what's around them and what the weather's like in their area has a big impact too for for 19:45 spraying and what type of droplet size what type of nozzles and things that they're going to use. So it's You have to kind of figure out what works best for your 19:55 operation in your region the country is it safe to say that in general? If you're if you're on the fence finer or coarser probably 20:04 go courser. Is it safe to say that? I I would almost always go that way for just flexibility risk 20:13 reduction easy use things like that that a little bit core serve a nozzle isn't going to cause you agronomic performance issues got 20:25 it. That's that's not going to that's that's a little bit finer can cause you issues downwind with your neighbor in 20:36 Or it can even be your own crops. Sometimes your neighbor is yourself. Right? Right somebody else, right? 20:42 Yeah, you might be doing a damage to yourself. And also you might be losing product and so as expensive as it is and you're gonna take the 20:48 time and the effort go out and do the job. Let's make sure the stuff gets where it needs to be third mistake that people might be making farmer might 20:54 be making when it comes to their spraying and this is not nozzle specific the first two were about nozzles because after all you're with Pentair is a 21:03 nozzle company. The next one has nothing to do with nozzles sprayer clean out. 21:10 You and I have talked about this when we were at Chad Henderson's we talked about sprayer clean 21:16 out and at that point Fint was there and they were talking all about how much their new technology makes it easier to do clean out. 21:25 What's the problem here you're thinking that these guys are just leaving a bunch of chemical in the sprayer or is it 21:31 in the boom or is it what's going on? So for a a new sprayer like the fit when we saw this is less of an issue because they 21:39 do have the researchulation products that pull that product back into the tank. We don't have the dead in space 21:49 at the end of the booms. Where product builds up so the the sprayer clean out Topic in in that where I'm hitting. 21:57 Is really focused on folks that have sprayers that don't have recirculation systems. So I'd be like a new fence sprayer. John 22:06 Deere has a new one. They just came out with but for everyone else say you've got a sprayer that's a few years old. You don't have the recirculation system the 22:15 booms end all our boom sections and and that is a prime area where products can build up and get trapped. Especially if 22:24 we have dead in space past the last nozzle in that section. Products like atrazine. We know can build up there that are 22:33 thick and viscous any dry products that get dissolved into suspension can get trapped there. Yep in this show. I want to talk about 22:42 their you know is really an agronomic one. In that if we're not cleaning out or sprayer. 22:51 And we're switching to two different fields different crops chemistries. We're leaving residues of that previous chemistry and 22:58 sprayer, right? And so we're still putting that out into field when we don't intend to. In the issue there can go back to herbicide resistance. 23:07 So a few years ago, there's some research out to the University of Arkansas where they took these Palm Ranch a population of 23:16 susceptible to die Campbell. The groom and the greenhouse and they sprayed reduced rates these micro rates. We could call them of dicamba 23:25 to them. They took the survivors and and you know, let them breed and cross pollinate. 23:33 And and they continue that on through multiple Generations. And what they found was within just a few Generations they 23:40 had dicamba. Resistance forming in this Pomeranian population by applying these micro rates. So if 23:48 you think about your sprayer we have all this Plumbing in it. If we're losing leaving residues in that sprayer. 23:57 Even though so you flush it out with water. There's still errors where product can build up. 24:03 Then you go out in the field and it's slowly going to come out is your spring with those other chemistry. So we're applying these 24:09 micro rates in those weeds are still having the metabolize it when it comes in contact and so we might be 24:16 Even though we're switching chemisters, you might still be applying some bit of selection pressure for her 24:22 massage resistance and not really know it and so that's where I kind of I talk about, you know at the end of the boom there are multiple products to help flush out spray booms. 24:31 We can quickly open up the end of the boom and blow it out and clean out that dead in space or that we're remove that 24:40 dead. It's space entirely, you know, we have a product called The Express in cap, it removes the dead in space entirely at the end 24:49 of a boom and there's also a quarter-term bald that fits into that so you don't need any tools. You don't need anything. You just flip these valves open to flush 24:58 out the spray booms and then close them and you can do a better job and a quick and easy job of getting those products 25:07 out of the sprayer Plumbing so that we're not applying those micro rates to feel so we don't don't intend to spray that product 25:16 in Yeah, it's an interesting thing. You know, it's one thing to say. All right, you left some herbicide in there that had enough in it that it just 25:23 went out and killed my crops. Sometimes it's not that he killed the crops. It's that it's just little micro. 25:29 Doses and then you're gonna either feed the you're gonna cause stress or you could even like you said contribute to resistance. 25:39 And it seem like it's an easy enough to fix. So like you said if you don't have one of the new pieces like that fit machine 25:45 that we saw down at Henderson's that he was demoing. It's they're all about being able 25:51 to more easily clean out the boom. But even then you said there's an animal product that you guys have. That's an aftermarket. 25:58 there is there is and so you know if you had a If you you're buying new fence sprayer. This won't go to that if you're getting new 26:09 John Deere sprayer with product pressure research and product reclaim. This won't apply to that because those systems are gonna have Plumbing that 26:18 can pull that chronic back into the tank. But if you have a sprayer without those systems, we have what's called our Express in cap. 26:25 That does come factory from some manufacturers but is available and aftermarket upgrade. For for all sprayers that's going to remove the 26:36 the dead end space. So a lot of a lot of our polar sprayers you had in the last nozzle body at the boom section was there and then there's pipe that stuck 26:45 after that. And that's where things would build up and get trapped and then slowly kind of leak out as you sprayed. 26:51 It takes that dead in space away puts the nozzle body at the very end of the nozzle. Yeah. So let's all that product get out. Let's trapped air 27:00 out. And then we also have a quarter turn stainless steel ball valve called the express flush valve that fits 27:06 on the end of that. So when you want to flush your sprayer out and clean everything out good. You don't need any tools. You 27:14 don't have to remove any parts or pieces. All you have to do is flip those valves open. Opens up the end of the boom. You can flush everything out 27:23 really good really clean and do it quickly and easily. Yeah, I like it three mistakes that are common that you might be making on 27:32 your farm when it comes to your sprayer and we just went through them. Nozzle where you say something and you said 27:42 it every time I've worked with you on site at these Farms. Don't forget that nozzles are a 27:48 Where part and just like just like a tire or anything else you're going to change after it wears out. You said a nozzle's probably good for about 50,000 Acres. But remember that 27:57 means if you're going over your crops four times take that into effect into into consideration. He said 28:03 using nozzles are too fine and droplet size and then sprayer clean out. It doesn't seem like it's that hard but you know, you just point out a few things some of 28:12 the old sprayers that they've got areas at the very end then become reservoirs for last week's 28:18 product and then you're now you're you're putting out stuff. You didn't intend to put out. 28:22 Nick flights agronomist Pentair love working with you. Thanks for being here. What else we need to? Yes, sir. Thanks for having me on if they want 28:34 to show color more about this. How do they how do they do that? So you can the best thing to do is Google us go to 28:41 you know, Google being whatever your favorite search engine is look up Pentair high pro. You can 28:47 find us there. If you want more nozzle information. We do have a phone app available free download on iPhone Android called spray it you can 28:56 get some really good nozzle information and recommendations there. You can also find out that's a cool 29:02 thing. By the way, that's a cool thing that I can just go and do spray it is that what 29:08 is Spray it. Yes. Yes. So look it up. You can get nozzle sizing recommendations. You can look up the products your spring we go 29:17 in recommend. Look at the labels recommend nozzles for the specific products your spraying a lot of different information. You can find on nozzles technical information as 29:27 well to help you get the most out your sprayer in the chemistry. You're putting through I like the cool. I think that app is cool. You showed 29:36 me that when I was down in Hendersons, but it's got a lot of good information. That way you don't have to be the technician. You just can go to it. Boom. 29:42 There you go because you can't have Nick flights at your farm all the time, but the extreme ad guys do and that's the last time I saw him, so 29:48 I'll see him there again till next time. Thanks for being here my friend Nick the next time. 29:52 Damien Mason with Kevin that's a wrap for this episode of cutting the curve, but there's plenty more check out 29:58 extremeag.farm where you can find past episodes instructional videos and articles to help you squeeze more profit out of your 30:07 farm cutting. The curve is brought to you by Advanced Drainage Systems the leader in agriculture Water Management Solutions.