Spring is spraying season and one of the most important times of the year for farmers. With only a few weeks left to prepare, TTi compiled a quick guide to make sure you are ready to hit the ground running and get the best results.
Though secondary to workplace instructions, procedures, training and supervision, PPE can greatly reduce the risk of injury to the lungs, head, feet, eyes, skin and body. When considering PPE, it is important to note what you will be exposed to, in what quantities and for how long. If you’re using a TTi liquid fertiliser tank, for example, you’re going to need different PPE to when you’re using a simple water cart.
Nothing beats putting proper knowledge into action when it comes to processes, equipment, and chemical usage – but PPE is nonetheless an important safety measure, especially when it comes to operating liquid fertiliser tanks.
Pressure Regulator & Gauge
Pressure regulators are used to ensure consistent spraying pressures, cutting off the flow of liquids (or gases) at a certain pressure point.
When using liquid fertiliser tanks and sprayers, it’s important to pay attention to your spray pressure as variations cause changes in application rate, droplet size and spray pattern.
Spray booms greatly reduce the effort and time required to evenly distribute water and/or chemicals contained in your liquid fertiliser tank. Many considerations should be observed when choosing the right boom to suit your application, including:
- Nozzle selection, alignment, type and operating pressure
- Boom height and stability
- Filtration, water or carrier application rates
- Speed of operation and marking systems
- In order to achieve desired overlapping, the height of your boom should be adjusted according to nozzle manufacturers’ specifications
Nozzle choice is paramount to ensuring accuracy when spraying. Nozzles regulate application volume at a set operating pressure, travel speed, and spacing. Spray drift can be minimised by using nozzles that produce the largest droplet size while delivering sufficient coverage at the desired application rate and pressure
Common nozzle types used in agricultural spraying include fan, hollow-cone, full-cone, and others with special features such as air induction and drift reducing
Read More » “The Importance of Choosing the Right Nozzle”
What could be more important? Ease of use is the essential buying clincher when considering liquid fertiliser tanks and spraying equipment, and nobody wants to break their back doing an everyday task!
Look for features such as shoulder straps, carrying handles, convertible handles for right or left-hand use, double-action pumps, backrests, auto-rewind reels, and other luxury options.
When selecting an accompanying spray hose for your liquid fertiliser tank and spraying equipment, it’s important to consider these factors:
- Accessibility » Get the reach you need out of your hose! Choose the right length to get around those tricky corners in the back paddock when you’re spraying.
- Pressure Rating » Determined by the pressure rating of your pump, eg. 40bar.
- Avoid Joining » It’s simple… avoid joining, avoid snagging!
- Hose material » Nylon or rubber materials help your hose slide easily back into place, without drag
- Non-kinking » Look for non-kinking features to prevent cracks and leaks.
Foam Marking Kits and GPS Guidance Systems
Improve spraying accuracy and reduce chemical wastage with foam marking kits and GPS guidance systems.
Foam marking kits drop foam from the ends of your boom, ensuring you don’t overlap. GPS Spray Systems such as the TeeJet Matrix Pro and Centreline 220 are ideal for replacing foam markers when broad-acre spraying.
Chemical to Water Ratio
Protect crops by referring to the chemical spray char. Check that the ratio of chemical to water is suitable for the spraying target
Calibrating the sprayer helps determine how much water/chemical mix the sprayer puts out. This involves measuring the total spray output of the unit, travel speed, swath width and subsequently, application rate. Never calibrate your liquid fertiliser tank when filled with chemicals, always flush it out completely with clean water first.
It is vital to calibrate the sprayer in order to prevent poor weed, insect or disease control, which could result in damaged crops.
DEPI says: “Calibration ensures that you get good coverage of the target surface and that you spray the correct amount without wastage. It saves you time and money, results in a more effective and efficient spraying job, and protects the environment.”
For more information on calibrating your liquid fertiliser tank and spray unit, please contact the manufacturer. TTi’s Operator Handbooks can be found with almost all products listed on each page of the website as a downloadable PDF file.
“The wind will change and your face will stay that way!”
Wise words, grandma, and perhaps a little more true than we would like! Though the potentially hazardous physical outcome of the wind changing may not be in question so much as the condition of your crop, it is very important to carefully pick the day you spray.
DEPI says: “Before you start, check that the weather conditions are suitable for spraying (i.e. wind speeds between 3-15 km/h, blowing away from sensitive crops/areas, Delta T between two and eight, temperature below 28oC, no inversion layer present). If the weather is unstable or unpredictable, don’t spray. Continue to monitor weather conditions while spraying and stop spraying if it turns unfavourable.”
Just like cleaning the house, washing the car and feeding the kids, it’s essential to care for your investment. Checks should be carried out multiple times on your liquid fertiliser tank and spraying device during the spraying season and throughout the year.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”. If this maxim is good enough for Benjamin Franklin, it is good enough for us. It pays to be informed about your liquid fertiliser tank, sprayer and any other spraying season equipment.