Arable Tip: Don’t forget the basics of sprayer tank management
In preparation for spring spraying, growers are reminded not to be complacent about tank mixing and sprayer hygiene before making applications.
Adam Espir, Crop Protection Specialist, Commercial Technical Manager for FMC, explained that tank mixing pesticides saves time and reduces compaction by reducing the passes needed over a crop. But rushing to do so could potentially cause more problems than it solves.
“When considering a tank mix, it’s critical to remember the basics. As with any pesticide, be sure to follow the product label, paying particular attention to compatibility advice and the order of mixing,” he stressed.
To avoid blockages and other problems in the sprayer, Mr. Espir stressed the importance of not rushing to put all the products in the induction hopper at once. “Remember to fill the sprayer with half the required volume of water and start agitation. You will then need to ensure that each pesticide added is fully dispersed before introducing another product. Be patient, you don’t want the concentrates coming into contact with each other,” he said.
“Once you are sure that each product has been fully dispersed, fill the tank to the required volume and maintain constant agitation. This process is especially important if you are using granular products and EC liquids, which can tend to clog filters if not fully dispersed.
Mr. Espir added that when using higher volumes of water, this could also help prevent problems, especially for complex mixtures. He recommended using a minimum of 200 litres/ha of water if possible.
Top tips for sprayer hygiene
In addition to correct tank-mixing protocols, Espir pointed out that proper cleaning of a sprayer after use will help maintain efficiency and avoid cross-contamination. He described the main tips to remember for good sprayer hygiene:
• Always wash the sprayer thoroughly, especially between different crop types, such as changing from cereals to broadleaf crops;
• Dried residue is more difficult to remove from a sprayer, so wash off the day of spraying;
• If you have a lifting system in the tank, use it, but remember that it does not replace thorough cleaning;
• Use a specific spray tank cleaner, such as All Clear Extra, for thorough cleaning;
• Always use high quality pesticides, specially formulated for easy mixing and washing.