Canola School: Check sprayer plumbing and rates to optimize pesticide use

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In a year when input prices have skyrocketed, producers are looking for ways to cut back where they can to maximize profits.

When it comes to pesticides, is it possible to stretch or conserve product without sacrificing performance and efficiency? On this episode of RealAgriculture’s Canola School, research scientist and sprayer guru Tom Wolf shares tips on how growers can conserve pesticide and get the best return on their crop protection investment.

For Wolf, of AgriMetrix and Sprayers 101, there are three main ways farmers can conserve pesticides, one being ensuring the plumbing on the sprayer is working properly. This ensures maximum efficiency, decreasing any opportunity for loss of product while it simply runs through the sprayer.

The second way to conserve spray is for growers to pay close attention to how much product they are putting in the tank. Are they filling it up to the top just for the sake of filling the tank? If there’s leftover product, can it be reused or will valuable chemistry be discarded and money lost? (Story continues after the video.)

 

From Wolf’s perspective, efficient spraying really comes down to taking the extra time to ensure proper maintenance is being done on the sprayer and also making sure rates are dialed in and fills are governed accordingly.

Reducing rates is also an option, but Wolf notes that this typically requires growers to invest more time if they want to maintain an effective level of control. For instance, using lower rates places a higher importance on accurate scouting and crop growth staging.

Ultimately, pesticide choices have to be made on a farm-by-farm basis. Although there are guidelines, Wolf says it all comes down to what are growers willing to do, how much time can they afford to put into the extra steps and calculations, and whether that is a fair trade-off on the dollars they will save. The answers to these questions will be different for every farm and may even change from year-to-year on the same farm.

Click here for more Canola School episodes.

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