Canola School: Tom Wolf's top tips for winterizing the sprayer

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New sprayer operators — or seasoned sprayer operators who just need a refresher — might be wondering what to winterize their sprayer with, and how to do it.

In this episode of Canola School, Tom Wolf of AgriMetrix and Sprayers 101, joins Kara Oosterhuis to talk about sprayer winterization — the technical side, and the somewhat more philosophical side.

As to what to winterize a sprayer with, Wolf says automobile antifreeze certainly works, but he warns that it’s toxic, so spraying it on the ground isn’t allowed and disposal can be an issue. Twenty-eight percent N fertilizer doesn’t freeze, but it’s corrosive and can crystallize in the spring, causing a mess later. These two products aren’t recommended.

“The best thing to use is really an RV-style antifreeze, and many of the equipment dealers actually have that in stock,” says Wolf. “[It’s] friendly to plastic, friendly to rubber, and environmentally friendly — you can spray it out or if you spill some on the ground, it’s not a problem.”

Step number one is to clean the sprayer and drain the excess water out, advises Wolf. Then, put the anti-freeze into the rinse tank and initiate a rinse cycle.

Different sprayers have different kinds of systems, but the more modern sprayers have an automatic rinse cycle. But if there isn’t one, you need to manually flush that antifreeze throughout the sprayer system.

Check out the video in full for more detailed clean-out and winterizing instructions. Story continues below video:

But there’s more than just the technical side to winterizing — now is a good time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t during the past season.

“It is a time to think back, you might go into your cab and change your carbon filter, and you might notice a few things scribbled on the window, notes to yourself,” says Wolf. “It’s always a time to reminisce and to say alright, what went well, and what was I frustrated with?”

How is your filling and cleaning time? Maybe you got stuck and need different tires. These are just some examples of what to reflect on, but also, if you missed a lot of days because of wind perhaps looking in to a different spray set up might help, Wolf says.

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