Spray tips - Great ideas from Sprays & Sprayers - Farmers Weekly

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Spray tips – Great ideas from Sprays & Sprayers

Four of the ideas gleaned from this year’s Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year finalists, sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection

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Safe chemical handling – bunded shelf on chemical store door

spray-tips-kieran-walshOne of the key elements of safe practice when loading a sprayer is to have the chemical bottles on a table at a convenient height when measuring out part-containers.

This ensures accurate measurement and reduces the chance of the bottle being accidentally knocked over.

Kieran Walsh, from Swell Buildings Farm, Gloucestershire, has come up with an innovative solution by fabricating a bunded shelf that is attached to the inside of his chemical store door.

When filling the sprayer the door is open and Mr Walsh has a shelf immediately to hand on which to measure out his chemicals.


Avoiding point source contamination

Perhaps the biggest single potential cause of point source contamination is spray mix overflowing accidentally from the spray tank during filling. Scottish regional winner David Currie has come up with a simple, but effective, solution.

The most common cause of spray mix overflow is foaming in the spray tank resulting in the tank overflowing when it is only half full with water. Common causes of foaming include poorly formulated products, air leaks, and adding the product with insufficient water in the tank. On Mr Curries’ Bateman sprayer, the tank overflow pipe is easily accessible at the rear of the sprayer. Therefore he has cut a 200-litre plastic drum in half and he places it under the overflow pipe so that should an accidental overflow occur, the spray mix is caught.

Rinsing spray tanks more effectively

spray-tips-steve-lakeSprayer operator and south-east regional winner Steve Lake from Burgate Farm, Hambledon, Surrey, has an innovative system for getting the best rinse from the water in the rinse tank.

He measured the time taken for the full rinse tank (400 litres) on his Bateman sprayer to empty into the main spray tank – in his case 90 seconds. To get the best rinse from the contents of the rinse tank, it should be divided into three equal parts of 133 litres, each one being circulated then sprayed on to the crop. Mr Lake obtains these equal thirds by timing the discharge of the rinse tank into the main tank – 30 seconds for each third.

He also emphasises that, for a clean sprayer, you must completely empty the sprayer before commencing the cleaning cycle.


Bench with foot-operated tap is a winner

South-west regional winner Daniel Sharps has built himself a sprayer-filling work table with some unique features.

Essentially, the table is a trough with a drain plug at one end. The trough is covered with wire mesh and is used for standing chemical cans on when measuring out, then doubles as a drainer for rinsed cans.

Built into the table is a tap that Mr Sharps operates with his knee. This enables him to rinse containers and jugs with the minimum of water, as there is never a need to leave a tap running excessively.

The rinsate running off the table is collected in a container before being reintroduced to the induction hopper.

More from Sprays and Sprayers

Spray tips – great ideas from Sprays & Sprayers

Ideas gleaned from this year’s Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year finalists, sponsored by Syngenta Crop Protection

 syngenta logo

Biobed purifier

Chris Hosking of Cornwall

chris-hosking-fsootyChris Hosking from Cornwall has recently installed a biobed to ensure the safe disposal of any chemical spillages and washings, ending up with water pure enough to be sprayed onto the land.

The biobed has three holding tanks to enable the soil/compost sediment to settle out in stages. The final holding tank contains the water clean enough to be put through the sprayer.

The design allows liquid from the last holding tank to be recirculated back to the biobed for further filtering, because until the new biobed reaches equilibrium, the water often contains sediment.

Don’t get caught with out-of-date chemical

Daniel Sharps of Wiltshire

daniel-sharps-fsootyDisposing of out-of-date chemical is not only an expensive waste of chemical, it’s also a costly process that needs a waste disposal contractor.

Daniel Sharps of Wiltshire not only gets advice from his agronomist on products that are due for revocation, but he also examines the PSD website from time to time to see which chemicals in his store will shortly be withdrawn.

Any such products are labelled with the last date that they may be applied. This ensures the products are disposed of safely, on the crop for which they are approved – a cheaper and more environmentally friendly alternative to waste disposal. 

Safe and rapid filling

Andrew Myatt of Stowell Park, Gloucestershire

Andrew Myatt has addressed the problem faced by most sprayer operators – reducing filling time.

It takes longer to fill the sprayer with chemical than it does with water, so Mr Myatt, sprayer operator at Stowell Park Estate near Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, has developed a system which means he can fill the sprayer in the chemical store.

A large filling hopper built from an 800-litre trace element container has halved the time taken to add the chemical to the sprayer and makes it safer by reducing the risk of spillage. The hopper includes an integral can-wash system and stainless steel rack for holding rinsed containers while they drain.


GPS for saving chemical and record keeping

George Roworth of Ellerton, Yorkshire

George Roworth of RB Agricultural Contractors, Ellerton, near York, has recently taken delivery of a new sprayer. Included in the specification is GPS for control of the sprayer and record keeping.

Mr Roworth has found that the GPS on-off facility has typically reduced the sprayed area of fields by 5%. This saving comes from two areas – more accurate driving in the absence of tramlines and more accurate switching on and off of boom sections on running headlands.

The GPS also gives Mr Roworth an accurate record of the area sprayed, which helps with the management of the spray contracting work he carries out. It is, he believes, a really worthwhile addition to any spraying unit.  

 george roworth

Record keeping

Steve Paterson of Turriff

Record keeping is an essential part of crop spraying. But sprayer cabs are not equipped for document storage and preservation.

A folder put behind the seat quickly becomes worn out and damaged. Steve Paterson, who sprays 9000ha a year at AJ & AR Benzie’s farm at Meikle Whiterashes near Turriff, Aberdeenshire, tackled the problem of document storage by fitting the sprayer with a plastic box complete with a lid to keep all his records safe, clean, and easy to access.

Operators should also have a list of emergency and useful telephone numbers. Mr Paterson has used the lid of his document container to keep the emergency numbers in a place where he has easy and convenient access to them.


Spray programme

by Graham Crane of Marsham, Norfolk

Potatoes need spraying weekly when conditions mean the risk of blight is high. But the British weather during the blight spraying season can restrict the number of spray days, so keeping to a strict programme may be impossible.

When the spray programme is disrupted, it must be rejigged, and it’s easy to make a mistake. Similarly, if there is more than one operator on the farm there are more opportunities to make mistakes.

Graham Crane, sprayer operator for Bec Farming at Wood Farm, Marsham, Norfolk, ensures the programme is adhered to as much as possible, but that any changes are accounted for.

His solution is a cork calendar for the week, to which the field names are pinned. Fields are sprayed weekly, and if the programme is interrupted, the field date can be moved accordingly. This allows operators to know which fields need spraying on which date.


Tramline establishment

by Nigel Durdy of Doncaster

Accurate tramlining is essential for accurate spraying. In crops established by broadcasting, such as oilseed rape and beans, the problem is how to put tramlines into an established crop – and how to place them accurately.

Nigel Durdy has used a combination of new technology, ingenuity and engineering to establish tramlines in his crops at Ninevah Farm, near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

GPS is used for accurate driving, while the tramlines are established by spraying glyphosate through his homebuilt tramline sprayer, to establish the wheelings.

When conditions are marginal, Mr Durdy fits a shroud over the tramline-marking nozzles, to minimise the risk of off target application.


Warning boards on spray boom

by Rob Cannell of Woodbridge, Sufolk

When spraying a field that bystanders may walk across, it is good practice to put out warning boards to inform the public. A problem with warning boards is where do you carry them? And what to do with them when you collect them?.

Rob Cannell, sprayer operator at Robert Rous’ Dennington Hall Farms, near Woodbridge in Suffolk, has made his own boards, and carries them on his Bateman 4000’s spray booms in custom-built tubes. This way they are always easy to access, secure, and do not need to be carried in the cab.

GPS is used for accurate driving, while the tramlines are established by spraying glyphosate through his homebuilt tramline sprayer, to establish the wheelings.

When conditions are marginal, Mr Durdy fits a shroud over the tramline-marking nozzles, to minimise the risk of off target application.

Mr Cannell also carries a spare nozzle body on each boom section in the lattice work, so he has a spare nozzle in easy reach should the machine suffer a blockage.


We’ll be adding more good ideas from our Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year finalists between now and the start of Sprays & Sprayers, on 10-11 June. Bookmark this page and come back for more

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