Whenever I think winter is behind us, another cold snap reminds me the tractor is still better off left in the shed. As daylight hours increase though, the machinery is primed and ready on the starting grid to spring into action.

The Kuhn Aero pneumatic spreader has had its filters and oil changed now that I have found the instruction manual. I lost plenty of knuckle skin removing the old filter as the fertiliser had integrated with the screw threads, but my hands are healing nicely now.

For the T0 campaign, I’ve decided to use Cherokee (chlorothalonil + cyproconazole + propioconazole) over the majority of the wheat as yellow rust is the biggest threat due to our large acreage of Oakley. It looks the best value for money and I can tailor rates on other varieties.

I’ve been concerned about the best way of filling a sprayer to ensure all chemicals are dispersed evenly before application. Tom Robinson, applications specialist at Syngenta, gave me some good pointers for an evenly diluted spray solution.

Best mixing occurs if you quarter fill the sprayer with water, then with all containers opened and sprayer still filling, add all the concentrate quickly before returning to rinse out the containers at the end. This means the majority of the chemical has longer to circulate and is added when agitation is at its maximum.

Tom estimates the turnaround of liquid in the tank is about 10%. For example, a 2000-litre sprayer pumps solution round at 200 litres per minute. Therefore, it takes 10 minutes for it all to be circulated once.

For fields close to the filling point with little travel time it’s probably best to be patient and let the solution mix properly before application. An increase in efficacy of a few per cent could be the difference between success and failure.