Expert: Selection Of Right Sprayer Nozzle Can Make Or Break Yields

An agricultural tool as small as a thumb can mean the difference between a 25 to 50% increase in yields or a 25 to 50% decline, according to an expert from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Choosing the right type of sprayer nozzle can make a huge difference in how effective pesticides are during a growing season and whether growers have to re-spray their fields or in some cases, replant, said Erdal Ozkan, an agricultural engineering professor and spray technology expert with Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

Not only do farmers have to have a field clear of weeds and pests before they plant, they have to keep that field free of pests and weeds throughout the growing season, Ozkan said. And with the rising cost of pesticides and fertilizers, growers who also want to save money and spray chemicals as efficiently as possible need to make sure they choose the correct spray nozzle for their fields, weather conditions and type of chemicals they apply, he said.

“Farming is a tough business, with a very narrow margin between profit and loss,” Ozkan said. “So anything we can do to widen that margin is a good thing.”

The costs are significant. Farmers spend approximately $4.1 billion on pesticides annually, according to published reports. And large self-propelled sprayers can cost more than $250,000, according to the EPA.

“Growers usually choose pesticides based on their effectiveness, not how much they cost,” Ozkan said. “So one way to find savings in crop production is how we apply pesticides, and choosing the right nozzle is a part of that process.

“The more precise and accurate growers are in their applications, the more growers can have a net savings. For example, if growers are spraying more than the recommended rate, it is a waste of money.”

National surveys of field application results have shown that only about one out of three sprayers are applying pesticides at the recommended rates, while two-thirds are missing the mark by either over- or under-spraying, Ozkan said.

“Doing it right can result in better control and cost savings, and eliminates having to do a second application,” he said. “If you don’t do it right or choose the wrong nozzle, the mistakes won’t show up that day, but sometime later in the growing season when weeds, insects, disease or all of the above start showing up in the crops in particular areas.”

Ozkan said growers can improve the performance of sprayers if they:

  • Always calibrate the equipment with water before spraying to ensure that the sprayer is applying the chemical at the recommended rate. (For details, see the OSU Extension fact sheet “Boom Sprayer Calibration”).
  • Mix chemicals in a small container before pouring them into the sprayer tank to achieve a uniform mix.
  • Determine if the pesticide requires specific adjuvants to provide product efficacy, influence droplet size or solution evaporation rate, reduce drift and to improve deposit and retention on the target.
  • Understand that some pesticides are volatile and may require incorporation into the soil after application.
  • Check sprayer components to ensure they are the right size and type; check the sprayer system for leaks; and check the tank agitation system to ensure that flow to the tank for agitation is effective.
  • Make sure pressure gauge on the sprayer is accurate and operate the sprayer within the pressure range recommended by the nozzle manufacturer.
  • Keep the boom height to a minimum to reduce drift. Setting the proper boom height for a given nozzle spacing is extremely important in achieving proper overlapping. Conventional flat-fan nozzles require 30- to 50% overlapping of adjacent spray patterns. Check catalogs for specific recommendations for different nozzles.
  • Maintain uniform deposition of spray material on the target across the boom. Non-uniform coverage can result from using misaligned or clogged nozzles, nozzles with different fan angles, or from uneven nozzle height across the boom. This can result in streaks, untreated areas or over-application of chemicals.
  • Watch for pattern streaks in the nozzle output, which indicate particles are in the nozzles. Remove them from the nozzle tip using a wooden toothpick or soft object and clean the nozzle filter using a soft brush.
  • Learn more about reducing spray drift as much as possible.
Topics:

Leave a Reply

Nozzles Stories

ID3 Air Induction Flat Spray Nozzle | Lechler
Nozzles2016 Nozzles And Tips Report: Waste Watchers
May 5, 2016
Every year in the spring, ag retailers and their grower-customers prepare for the coming crop season. This involves prepping crop Read More
Greenleaf Technologies TurboDrop MKII Variable Rate Nozzle
NozzlesGreenleaf Technologies Launches New TurboDrop MKII Variable Rate Nozzles
March 23, 2016
Greenleaf Technologies has announced the introduction of its new TurboDrop MKII Variable Rate Nozzles for agricultural spraying and fertilizer applications Read More
easyFlow
NozzlesGreenleaf Technologies Introduces New easyFlow Closed Transfer System
March 22, 2016
Greenleaf Technologies has announced the launch of its new easyFlow closed transfer system for the North American market. Designed to meet Read More
IDKT Twin Air Induction Flat Spray Nozzles | Lechler
NozzlesIndiana Company Becomes Exclusive Lechler Distributor
January 21, 2016
The fluid flow experts of Green Leaf, Inc., a Fontanet, IN, manufacturer of agricultural products, introduces Lechler Inc.’s IDTA asymmetrical Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
Latest News
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojThe Precision Ag Revolution Continues
May 24, 2016
It’s funny how much “the first time” tends to mean to someone as they get older. I sometimes can’t recall Read More
Eric Wintemute, AMVAC
Precision AgAMVAC Ups The Ante With New Precision Ag Technology
May 24, 2016
A potentially industry-changing at-plant soil treatment system from American Vanguard Corp., or AMVAC, is coming soon to large growers in Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
CropLife 100CropLife 100 Map
May 24, 2016
The new CropLife 100 map shows the locations of each of the headquarters of the 2015 CropLife 100 retailers. The interactive Read More
Southern States Cooperative
Corn Field
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Names Veteran Account Manager To Lead Central…
May 23, 2016
With the continuing growth of the sulphur bentonite and precision crop nutrient industry, global agriculture firm H.J. Baker has announced that Read More
Bayer sign
Industry NewsReuters: Bayer Defies Critics With $62 Billion Monsanto…
May 23, 2016
German drugs and crop chemicals group Bayer has offered to buy U.S. seeds company Monsanto for $62 billion in cash, Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Hires Industry Veteran To Lead Plant N…
May 19, 2016
Compass Minerals has hired plant nutrition industry veteran Vatren Jurin to steer the company’s portfolio expansion into specialty liquid micronutrient Read More
ASMARK Retailers LIVE! Tour 2016 Group shot The Andersons
CropLife 100The Andersons Rejects Unsolicited Proposal From HC2
May 19, 2016
The Andersons, Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has rejected two non-binding, highly conditional, unsolicited proposals from HC2 Read More
glyphosate
Crop InputsWHO: Glyphosate ‘Unlikely’ To Cause Cancer
May 16, 2016
Via Reuters.com reporter Kate Kelland: The weed-killing pesticide glyphosate, made by Monsanto and widely used in agriculture and by gardeners, Read More