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

SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Award
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
AGCO Custom applicator
SprayersAGCO, Asmark Institute To Offer Training For Beginning Custom Applicators
January 11, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute are collaborating to offer a new training program dedicated to educating and developing custom Read More
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
Sprayers10 Sprayers That Will Showcase The Latest Application Technology In 2017
January 10, 2017
Sprayer manufacturers continue to step up their games with the latest in application technology. From direct injection systems and four-wheel 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
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
Greenleaf Technologies TADF03-D Dual Fan Nozzle
NozzlesSix Greenleaf Nozzles Approved For XtendiMax With Vapor…
February 22, 2017
Greenleaf Technologies has announced that six of its TurboDrop D Series nozzles have been approved for use with Monsanto’s XtendiMax Read More
Winter Wheat
Industry NewsTiger-Sul Hires Manitoba And Eastern Canada Account Man…
February 22, 2017
Tiger-Sul, a global leader in sulphur fertilizers and crop performance products, has announced that sales veteran Trevor Loewen has joined Read More
NFMS 17 Hagie Sprayer
Eric SfiligojThe Read From Louisville: Uncertain
February 22, 2017
By the time this column appears across the country, the annual Commodity Classic will be in full swing. This means Read More
SprayersApache 1000 Series Sprayer Earns 2017 EquipmentWatch Hi…
February 21, 2017
ET Works has been named a winner in the 2017 EquipmentWatch Highest Retained Value Awards program, the industry’s only award Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
StewardshipMeister Media Among 2017 Award Winners Presented By The…
February 21, 2017
The Pesticide Stewardship Alliance (TPSA) held its annual conference in San Diego, CA, earlier this month where three awards were Read More
John Reifsteck
CropLife 100GROWMARK’s Reifsteck Earns NCFC Director Of The Y…
February 21, 2017
GROWMARK Chairman of the Board and President John Reifsteck has earned the prestigious Director of the Year Award from the Read More
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