If only complying with the dicamba label were as mindless and carefree as lying on a beach somewhere with a tropical drink in hand. Instead, there’s a good chance you’ll have fewer hours to apply it legally over the spray season than you are years old.
And if you’re rushing through an application process out of fear conditions will go south, you’re more likely to make missteps that could potentially cause you to drift onto a neighboring farm.
Dr. Tom Wolf, partner at Sprayers101.com (Twitter: @nozzle_guy), resides in Saskatchewan, Canada, where dicamba-resistant technologies are used sparingly in comparison to the U.S., but are used nonetheless. A consultant to retailers and applicators across Canada and scientist specializing in low-drift application methods, Wolf advocates several approaches for you to consider:
- Slow down and save time with a pump change. Driving at slower speeds allows the applicator to lower the boom, creating less turbulent air that might pull droplets up higher and predispose them to drift. “It’s just good practice.” He acknowledges, “Obviously, when you drive slower, you lose productivity. We are focusing on finding that productivity again.” To do that, Wolf advocates for people to fill faster and better manage non-spraying time in order to minimize down time. Trading out a 2-inch pump for a 3-inch pump can cut the fill time of an average spray tank down to five minutes from the typical 20 to 30 minutes.
- Evaluate the situation daily. Wolf asks customers to not make blanket assumptions to spraying: “This is how fast I’m going to drive and this is how much water going I’m to use, but rather, to evaluate each single day and say, ‘OK, today I only have to spray a 200-acre field. This is how fast I’m going to drive, and the forecast is decent. Therefore, I have time to be cautious and to take extra care.’ Another day, you might need to spray 1,000 acres and the weather might not be as good. On that day, being productive is also important. It might not let you spray slower, but at least it will let you get job done when the weather is still good. That all comes in together in the quality of the spray job.”
Wolf adds: “We are on the same wavelength with our American counterparts – this is not a Canadian idea. We are trying to convert as many people as possible who aren’t there yet.”
This article scratches only the surface of Dr. Wolf’s recommendations. Read more on improving spray productivity here.