April 27, 2018
If you haven’t prepared your sprayer for spring yet, now is the time. Even if you’ve worked on it but haven’t sprayed yet, you may want to run through this 10-point checklist to make sure it’s in good condition and ready to go.
Fred Whitford, director of Purdue University Pesticide Programs, prepared the checklist. It’s part of a new publication that discusses how to prepare a sprayer for winter and then get it ready to roll in the spring. It’s called “Preparing Spray Equipment for Winter Storage and Spring Startup,” Extension bulletin PPP-121. You can access it at ppp.purdue.edu under the Resources tab.
The subtitle tells its own story: “How maintenance and winterization can extend the life of sprayers and keep you working.” Now is the time to reap the benefit of doing fall preparation by putting a sprayer in the field that’s ready to go, Whitford says.
Here are 10 things to do to get your sprayer ready for spring. They’re based on information found in PPP-121.
1. Review the operator’s manual. This is where any good spring sprayer prep program should start, Whitford says. It’s easy to forget details when you don’t use a machine for several months. Review both the preparation and operation sections of the manual.
2. Reconnect batteries. This assumes you disconnected them when winterizing the sprayer. Even if you didn’t, make sure the batteries are fully charged.
3. Reinspect belts. Belts can crack over time, even when just sitting in the shed through the winter. Take a good look, even if you checked them when you put the sprayer away. Make sure you didn’t miss an obvious problem that could cause downtime in the field.
4. Check oil and coolant levels. It’s common sense to make sure your oil level is where it should be and the coolant is at the proper level. If you didn’t change the oil and oil filter after last season, this would be a good time to do so.
5. Remove rodent bait stations and check for damage. Even if you had bait out, it’s not a guarantee against rodent damage. It’s more likely if the sprayer was stored in an open-type of toolshed.
6. Inspect steel on booms, looking for cracks. Give the booms a good once-over. If there are cracks, weld them before the season starts rather than gambling that they will hold for another season.
7. Check tire pressure. Refer to your operator’s manual to see what the tire pressure should be.
8. Replace electronic equipment. Put monitors and other devices back in the cab if you removed them. Fire up electronic equipment and make sure it’s working.
9. Remove antifreeze. Either discard the antifreeze or collect and dispose of it, depending on what type you used and what works best for you.
10. Run clean water through lines and inspect for leaks. Once the antifreeze is removed, run clean water through the sprayer lines to remove any antifreeze residue.
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