Producers often utilize spraying to achieve maximum yields, but how does one know the perfect time to spray, or how to minimize drift in less-than-ideal conditions? To help farmers Be Ready this growing season, Mark Burns, Case IH Marketing Manager for Application Equipment, addresses these questions.
“Many factors contribute to the decision of when – or when not – to spray,” says Burns. “Ideally, producers want the chemical application to take place at the right agronomic moment. That ‘right moment’ is when the chemical applied will preserve the yield potential for a particular field, providing the opportunity to maximize productivity.”
Competition for nutrients and moisture between plants and weeds increases every day during the growing season, explains Burns. In addition, the infestation of pests takes an increasing toll on a plant’s ability to produce grain, seed, feed or fiber.
“Environmental conditions such as wind and rain also significantly impact the spraying window,” he states. “Wet field conditions, for example, can cause equipment to leave ruts that will stay in the field all year long, and wind can cause off-target applications, or drift.”
To minimize drift, Burns suggests producers consider:
- Tank additives to help reduce drift potential
- Automatic boom height controls to maintain proper height above the target
- Drift-reduction spray tips to help increase droplet size
- Air-induction tips to produce a bigger droplet, which is less likely to move off-target
“Sprayer configuration may impact the ability to access the field in certain conditions,” says Burns. “For example, Case IH Patriot® Series sprayers have a cab-forward, rear-engine configuration, so weight is equally distributed between the axles when the tank is full and booms are extended. Better weight distribution means less soil compaction and fewer ruts in the field.
“Furthermore, the AIM Command® spray system on Patriot sprayers provides precise spraying capabilities with complete control. This technology has two facets to combat drift. First, users have the ability to hold a constant spray pressure and constant application rate that are both independent of speed. Second, users can preset two spray pressures and change between them on the go, allowing them to select a lower spray pressure when necessary.
“Certain sprayer attributes, such as vehicle weight and weight distribution, along with advanced spray technology, will affect the user’s ability to get in the field in less-than-ideal conditions, and these factors should be kept in mind when applying chemicals to avoid adverse effects on the environment,” adds Burns.
“The most important factor is still the decision of the sprayer operator. Regardless of what drift-reduction assistance is employed, there are times when the only answer is to shut down the machine until weather conditions improve,” he points out. “Case IH supports best management practices like these in an effort to help our customers Be Ready to meet the growing demands of a global population.”
For more information, visit www.caseih.com.