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
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Latest News
Roy Blunt
LegislationARA Recognizes Blunt, Heitkamp For Legislative Efforts …
February 17, 2017
Agricultural industry continues to face federal regulatory challenges. Thankfully, agriculture’s allies in the U.S. Senate stepped forward. The Agricultural Retailers Read More
LegislationThe Fertilizer Institute Commends Senate On Confirmatio…
February 17, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) President Chris Jahn issued the following statement on the Senate confirmation of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Read More
Trump, Senate, Cabinet
LegislationBREAKING: Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Confirmed by S…
February 17, 2017
Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma’s attorney general spent years suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its efforts to regulate various Read More
ManagementFebruary Road Trip Edition
February 17, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent visits to Indiana and Kentucky. Read More
Heritage Cooperative Finished Building Aerial
ManagementHeritage Cooperative, Agland Co-op Approve Merger
February 17, 2017
Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative stockholders have both approved the merger agreement between Agland Co-op and Heritage Cooperative. Now begins Read More
LegislationARA Fly-In: Ag Retail Descends on Capitol Hill, Lawmake…
February 15, 2017
More than 100 agricultural retailers, distributors and suppliers headed to Capitol Hill Tuesday morning for the Agribusiness Congressional Fly-in, according to a Read More
Untreated soybean seed Heartland Coop
Seed/BiotechMarrone Bio Innovations, Groundwork BioAg Bio-stacked M…
February 13, 2017
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd have announced successful seed treatment field trials of the world’s first all-biological Read More
NL5000 With G5 Technology
SpreadersNew Leader Introduces NL5000 Dry Nutrient Applicator Wi…
February 13, 2017
New Leader, a division of Highway Equipment Company (HECO), has announced the next generation of spreading technology with the NL5000 Read More
Fertilizer Storage
Crop InputsThe State Of The Fertilizer Industry
February 9, 2017
He’s all hat, no horse.” It’s a humorous way of describing a person who tells a good story, but is Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Agrees To Credit Agreement Amendme…
February 9, 2017
Pinnacle Operating Corp. has entered into an amendment (the “Amendment”) to its First Lien Credit Agreement that will provide for, Read More
ManagementUpdates on Upcoming Trips, Dow-DuPont, and the Des Moin…
February 9, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj review a few future travels, along with the latest on big company mergers and Read More
Championship Tractor Pull
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Highlighted By Championshi…
February 9, 2017
The scream of monster engines, the stench of burning rubber and the ground-pounding vibrations of the country’s largest, loudest and Read More
Farmer and aptop
Matt Hopkins10 Warning Signs Your Website Is Grossly Outdated
February 8, 2017
Your Website is often a visitor’s first impression of your ag retail business. A positive first impression can set the Read More
Corn Field
InsecticidesArysta LifeScience, DuPont Collaborate On Rynaxpyr Prem…
February 8, 2017
Arysta LifeScience recently announced that it has entered into a global collaboration with DuPont Crop Protection for the development of Read More
Industry NewsThe Fertilizer Institute Board Elects New Chairman, Vic…
February 8, 2017
The Fertilizer Institute’s (TFI) Board of Directors has elected Chuck Magro, President and CEO of Agrium, and Tony Will, President Read More
Sonny Perdue
ManagementARA Joins More Than 600 Organizations In Support Of Per…
February 8, 2017
The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) recently joined with more than 600 agricultural groups on a letter of support for Governor Read More
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit Panel 2016
Crop InputsWorld Agri-Tech Innovation Summit To Be Held In San Fra…
February 8, 2017
“Breakthrough Applications and Business Models for Sustainable Farming” is the theme of the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit to be held Read More
Cedar Country Cooperative
Eric SfiligojConsolidation In Agriculture: More Middle Movement
February 7, 2017
If you’ve regularly followed my column, you know I’m something of a movie junkie. Like many, one of my favorite Read More