Proper Spray Tank Cleanout

A clean sprayer is essential to prevent damage to susceptible crops from herbicide contamination. This is especially true today, when the challenge posed by the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds is demanding that growers and professional applicators use a wider variety of herbicides with different modes of action and chemistries, often within the same growing season and on the same fields.

To prevent the deposit of dried spray residue, sprayers should be cleaned out as soon as possible after use. In fact, a sprayer should never be left to sit overnight without cleaning. Filling the spray tank with water will prevent dried deposits from forming.

Each and every herbicide should have a recommended cleaning agent and cleaning procedure listed on the product label. The following is a general procedure to properly cleanout the spray system:
•  Make sure the sprayer is completely drained of any remaining product. Use the boom cleanout option if your machine is so equipped.
•  Remove and clean the product line strainers.
•  Open the fresh water valve and move the main control valve from the spray position to the tank rinse position.
•  Turn on the product pump and draw in the desired amount of clean water from the top tank. Once the proper amount of water is in, close the fresh water valve.
•  With the pump running, operate each of the reload station valves to allow the fresh water to rinse those lines, including the bypass/reload valve, the chemical educator and sparger.
•  Spray some of the fresh water through the booms and out the nozzle bodies. It is important to not forget the end-row nozzles if so equipped.
•  Let circulate for 15 to 20 minutes.
•  Repeat the above steps as directed by the chemical label.
•  Spray out or drain to properly dispose of the rinse water. Rinsate is best disposed of by applying it to a labeled use site or crop.
•  Operate the boom clean-out function (if equipped) to clean the booms of the remaining rinse water.
•  When spraying products that are in suspension, remove the end caps from the boom plumbing sections and flush with fresh water. These areas have a tendency to trap products, and cleaning them is essential.

To avoid the potential for plant injury, special care must be given to cleaning out the spray system when using one sprayer to apply glyphosate and dicamba products. Unlike glyphosate, which is very water soluble and can easily be cleaned out of a sprayer with water, the dicamba products — or Plant Growth Regulators (PGR) — take a lot more time and care to remove. Examples of PGR herbicides include Clarity, Banvel and 2,4-D. It is important to note that a study conducted by the University of Tennessee shows that as little as 1/10,000th of an 8-ounce per acre dicamba rate can produce injury symptoms on soybeans.

Being Very Cafeful Between Cleanings

Equally important: Injury can range from cosmetic leaf damage to 80% yield loss, depending on the amount of PGR residue in the tank and the crop growth stage at the time of application. The reason for this is that PGR herbicides readily adhere to the inside of a sprayer, particularly to plastic and rubber parts, and they cannot be completely and successfully rinsed out of a sprayer with water only.

As it turns out, glyphosate is a very effective tank clean for PGR herbicides. Therefore, the threat of crop injury can be increased when a sprayer with a glyphosate herbicide load is left standing overnight — or even for a few hours.

PGR herbicides need a solution of household ammonia and water or a commercial tank cleaner to successfully remove all residue. These materials convert the insoluble PGR to a water-soluble ammonium salt.

The main point to remember is that a quick rinse with these agents will not typically do a complete job. A good length of time is required for the ammonia to dissolve the PGR herbicides from the plastic and rubber components of the sprayer. Again, the best source of information to properly neutralize a chemical is on the chemical label.

Close attention to all of these details will minimize the threat of crop injury due to herbicide contamination. This has never been more important than it is today, when a larger arsenal of different herbicides are being applied across an increasing number of acres and crops to ensure the best possible weed-management programs.

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Proper Spray Tank Cleanout

  1. Is possible to do the cleaout of a sprayer of PGR herbicides, with a solution with chlorine bleach? I like to have some recomendations of diferent solution to use to do the cleanout of diferent herbicides and the time necesary to be ready for spraying again.

  2. I have a similar question to the earlier comment. Can you provide more detail concerning the amount of amonia and water needed
    to clean up after glysophate usaage ?

Sprayers Stories

DTS10 Sprayer Hagie
SprayersHagie Introduces 2016 DTS10 Self-Propelled Sprayer
October 6, 2015
Hagie Mfg. has introduced to the market the newest and most innovative member of its product family, the 2016 DTS10. Read More
SprayersNORAC Active Wing Roll Slated For More Sprayers
September 1, 2015
NORAC Systems, a member of the Topcon Positioning Group, announces the release of Active Wing Roll for RoGator, Apache, New Read More
Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer
EquipmentHigh-powered Case IH Patriot 2250 Sprayer Pushes Through The Toughest Field Conditions
August 26, 2015
Engineered with more muscle, the new 660-gallon-capacity Patriot 2250 sprayer features best-in-class horsepower, along with the fuel efficiency that comes Read More
EquipmentNew Hagie STS Sprayer Features AirScout Precision Package
July 8, 2015
Hagie Mfg. and AirScout have formed a new joint endeavor to deliver value to customers by uniting state-of-the-art field prescription Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100CHS, MKC Consider Second Grain Terminal In Milan, KS
November 30, 2015
CHS Inc., an energy, grains and food company and the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, and MKC, a full-service farm cooperative Read More
CropLife 100United Cooperative Acquires Four ADM Wisconsin Facilities
November 12, 2015
United Cooperative, based out of Beaver Dam, WI, recently acquired four grain and agronomy locations from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Car Makes NASCAR Xfinity Series
October 29, 2015
BRANDT will join JR Motorsports with driver, Justin Allgaier, for the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity (NXS) Series season. Allgaier will pilot Read More
CHS Building exterior
CropLife 100CHS Leaders Help Shape Succession Report
October 22, 2015
Succession planning was listed as a main concern of cooperative leaders at this summer’s 15 regional CHS owner town hall Read More
Fall Harvest
CropLife 100Pinnacle Purchases Eight Regional Seed Companies
October 12, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings has announced the purchase of eight regional seed companies to advance its seed business. Pinnacle has acquired: Read More
MRM Agricultural Service
CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires CropLife 100 Ag Retailer
October 8, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC has successfully acquired the Missouri-based agronomy business of MRM Agricultural Service, LLC and its affiliates (MRM). Operating Read More
Latest News
West Central Trucking
MicronutrientsWest Central Obtains Exclusive U.S. Rights To Distribut…
December 1, 2015
West Central Distribution has partnered with ATP Nutrition Ltd for the exclusive rights to distribute ATP proprietary products for sale Read More
PerfectMatch Herbicide infographic
Crop InputsDow AgroSciences Introduces New Spring Wheat Herbicide
December 1, 2015
Spring wheat growers no longer will have to settle for incomplete weed control. PerfectMatch herbicide — a new, convenient broadleaf Read More
Zinc Close-Up
Crop InputsVivid Life Sciences Explores Early Field Trial Results
December 1, 2015
Early results from Vivid Life Sciences’ replicated summer field trials are showing the benefits of managing micronutrients to improve plant Read More
Seedling Closeup
Industry NewsCroda Acquires Innovative Seed Enhancement Company Inco…
December 1, 2015
Croda International Plc, a speciality chemical manufacturer behind some of the biggest, most successful brands in the world today announces Read More
Eric SfiligojThe End Of The World In Agriculture As We Know It?
December 1, 2015
A few years back, there was plenty of apprehension as 2012 drew to a close. Many people were convinced that Read More
CropLife 100CHS, MKC Consider Second Grain Terminal In Milan, KS
November 30, 2015
CHS Inc., an energy, grains and food company and the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative, and MKC, a full-service farm cooperative Read More
Dow AgroSciences Logo wall
HerbicidesGowan Co. To Acquire DNA Herbicides From Dow AgroScienc…
November 30, 2015
Gowan Co. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the entire global dinitroaniline (DNA) herbicide portfolio from Dow AgroSciences Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
Herbicides‘Back to the Future’ Weed Control: Herbicide Outlook 20…
November 30, 2015
What’s new for herbicides in 2016? Well, not much, but the learning process is sure to continue for fine-tuning resistance Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
HerbicidesDow Expects Enlist Duo To Be Available For The 2016 U.S…
November 30, 2015
Relative to EPA’s recently filed motion to vacate the registration of Enlist Duo herbicide, The Dow Chemical Co. is confident Read More
HerbicidesBREAKING: EPA Pulls Registration On Dow’s Enlist …
November 25, 2015
EPA on Wednesday withdrew approval of a controversial new weed killer to be used on genetically modified corn and soybeans, Read More
FertilizerYara Tampa Ammonia Terminal Garners ResponsibleAg Honor…
November 25, 2015
Yara has received its first ResponsibleAg Certification for its Tampa, FL, Ammonia terminal location. This achievement demonstrates Yara’s commitment to Read More
ManagementReviewing The Top Ag Stories For 2015
November 24, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf discuss the most noteworthy events from this past year in agriculture. Read More
EmployeesAgriculture Jobs May Be Plentiful, But New Grads Are Sc…
November 24, 2015
Close to 60,000 jobs are set to open up in agriculture each year for the next five years, but there's not enough grads to fill them. Read More
Radish cover crop
StewardshipCover Crops Guide Helps Growers Improve Water Quality
November 23, 2015
A publication that teaches growers the advantages of using cover crops to improve soil health and crop yields has won Read More
Crop InputsThe Andersons’ Products Receive California Organi…
November 23, 2015
The Plant Nutrient Group of The Andersons, Inc. announced today that its Humic DG and Black Gypsum DG products are Read More
Eric SfiligojNew European Study Seems To Support Glyphosate Safety
November 23, 2015
Looking at any international news over the past few years, it might seem as if the European Union (EU) is Read More
Toggle Biostimulant corn roots
Crop InputsTwo New Biostimulants Added To United Suppliers’ …
November 20, 2015
Winfield US announces the launch of two new products in the United Suppliers portfolio for the 2016 crop season, Optify Read More
StewardshipNRDC Report: Cover Crops Contain Vast Benefits
November 19, 2015
As harvest season ends and farmers in the United States ready themselves for winter, one small change could make a Read More