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Serving: IA

When Was the Last Time you Tuned that Sprayer?

When Was the Last Time you Tuned that Sprayer?
You're in the thick of it now trying to finish planting and spraying. . .how do you keep your tech running smoothly?

With this planting season that never ends we move into postemergence spraying season and it appears that's going to drag on too as you sneak out between rainstorms to control weeds. Talked with a weed scientist yesterday who says his phone has been ringing off the hook with weed questions, herbicide choice questions and spray drift questions.

When the weather is dry, no matter the conditions, it appears we're loading up an going, and what choice do you have? As noted at troublesome weeds like marestail have to be controlled before they get too big.

KEEPING IT REAL: That whole right rate, right target thing means something for today's newest crop protection products.

My thought, and this goes back to work I did in the early 1980s on sprayer calibration in the first days of postemergence popularity - remember Hoelon 3EC for soybeans? In those days, we were all just learning about some of these new lower volume products and the need to get the pressure, flow and nozzle types right for the best droplet sizes.

Yet today I hear the lament from crop protection companies that farmers are challenged to keep their sprayers in top running condition. With today's top chemistry and those low use rates, a little overspray is a bad thing - on your wallet and perhaps on the neighbor's field.

That concern has already been thrown in your face by USDA's Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service which is working on its Environmental Impact Statement for two new technologies - 2,4-D tolerant crops and dicamba tolerant tools. The bald statement by this: Farmers won't treat the tech with the respect it deserves and there will be drift.

Putting our best foot forward, we need - as an industry - to keep investing in our sprayers and making sure they're applying the right rate to the right target. Spending some time at a sprayer lab owned by Winfield I saw that a lot of factors can impact product performance and drift. But it all starts with your sprayer being set right. Even in the heat of the battle that's going to be important. Happy spraying.

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