Preparing Your Sprayer for Spring

No one has time for downtime. Getting your sprayer ready for spring spraying is an important start to making sure that won’t happen. The following steps will help eliminate any unneeded breakdowns.

Getting Your Sprayer Ready for Spring in 4 Steps:

1. Visual Inspection - Look over your sprayer and find any loose bolts, worn parts or cracks and fix them right away. Check tire pressure if your sprayer has wheels.

2. Clean Nozzles - Fill your tank with clean water to check the flow rates of your spray nozzles. Replace each nozzle that isn’t spraying properly before you start spraying.

3. Run water through sprayer - Fill your tanks and run water through the entire system to check for any leaks.

4. Test your sprayer - Use clean water and do a quick test run on the field to make sure your sprayer is flowing properly.

Once these 4 steps are completed, it’s time to calibrate your sprayer to figure out your ideal application rates. To begin, you must understand the 3 types of sprayer calibration measurements.

3 Kinds of Sprayer Calibration Measurements:

There are several ways to calibrate a sprayer but each method always requires three types of measurements you need to understand.

1. Travel speed - How fast you travel while spraying. Basically, the faster you travel, the less liquid will be applied.

2. Nozzle output - The amount of liquid that should be coming out of your nozzle. This will determine if you need to replace any nozzles. It will also help you calculate how fast you should travel and at what pressure (PSI) you should be spraying at. It is recommended if any one nozzle’s output deviates from the manufacturers’ guidelines by more than 10%, the nozzle should be replaced or cleaned. You can find your nozzle output amount on the spray nozzle manufacturers nozzle chart.

3. Distance between nozzles - The closer your nozzles are on your spray boom, the amount of chemical applied will increase. This will determine the distance you travel when calculating how much chemical is applied.

Now it is time to calibrate your sprayer. If you have the right calculations and tools it should take about 30 minutes.

Calibrating Your Sprayer

1. Measure Nozzle Spacing - The distance you need to travel changes based on your nozzle spacing.

2. Nozzle spacing = Distance to travel

16” = 255’

18” = 227’

20” = 204’

22” = 185’

24” = 170’

3. Measure Travel Distance - To measure, mark your appropriate travel distance with flags or between fence posts. Use a 200 ft. tape measure or a trundle wheel to measure the distance.

4. Drive the Measured Distance (Timed) - While driving the sprayer at the intended spraying speed, time how long it takes to travel between the marked distance. Do this more than once and average the two measurements.

5. Set your Correct Spraying Pressure - Leave the sprayer parked with the pump running and set the correct pressure.

6. Collect Output from Each Nozzle - Collect the liquid output in a container (marked in ounces) for the same number of seconds it took to drive in step 3. Calculate the ‘average nozzle output’ by adding each individual outputs and then dividing by the number of nozzles tested.

7. Clean the Nozzles - If any of the nozzle’s output is different from the manufacturers’ guidelines by more than 10%, you should replace or clean it. Cleaning the nozzle with a toothbrush works well.

8. Analyze Results - The ounces collected per nozzle equals the gallons-per-acre application rate. (eg: 16 ounces = 16 gallons-per-acre)

9. Compare the Recommended Rate - If the gallons-per-acre rate is not within 5% of the intended rate, you will either have to adjust the spraying pressure or the speed you travel. You will then need to repeat steps 3 - 7.

To calculate the RAVEN 450 monitor: