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Constructing a Sprayer: Part 4

Randy: It’s like it’s just a place for … You put those little sags in and it’s just a place for stuff to settle.
Speaker 2: Randy, is there any special kind of hose that you recommend for this, or is it just sprayer hose to sprayer hose?
Randy: This braided hose is probably going to last a little bit longer. Anything that you can buy that’s got UV protection in it. You can look at the stuff that came off of it. This is a less expensive hose here, but the thing that’s got this is not the chemicals or anything you spray through it, it’s the sun. Any of our plastics, the sun is what tears them up more than anything. Kind of like boats, you know? The sun tears more boats up than water.
This is the line that goes back to the boom and so now essentially you can lower rate of spray, we pop that valve open and the spray will go through here. I could boom it along all the lines that we have a long there. Pop it up and we’re done.
Speaker 2: There it goes. Well Randy, it looks like we’ve got some water coming through it.
Randy: Yeah, we’ve got it all put together and now is the time you check for leaks. You got some water and … We got a little challenge, I think, with our pressure relief valve. I don’t think it’s functioning quite correct. We know we’ve got it all together, it’s working. Still a little bit of work, I think, to do on the booms and on the hinge points and the break aways. Outside of that, you know, for a few hundred bucks, we got a pretty high quality sprayer as far as our plumbing goes anyways. Still got the old frame and booms and everything, but the plumbing is the most important part.
Speaker 2: That’s always a question, is how much money should you put into something versus buying something new? I guess, if the right parts are new, it works out all right.
Randy: Yeah, I guess you can price it out. Again, I think we probably got about four, five hundred dollars in this. That’s the … We bought a pump. We bought all the plumbing accessories, so essentially, everything that holds water, besides the tank, is new and it’s of real high quality, so it will last for a long time.
Speaker 2: Right. All right, so I guess let’s go check out that pressure valve.
Randy: All right.
Speaker 2: Thank you.
Randy: You bet.
Speaker 2: Well it’s that time of year, we’re starting to see a lot of weeds out in our fields Joe. Let’s just say we have a sprayer, we’ve built a sprayer, we bought one recently. Go back to the beginning and what do we need to know about operating this thing out in the field?
Joe: I would think the very most important thing you need to do is calibrate your sprayer. You need to know how much product you’re going to be putting out per nozzle, across the entire boom. That way, you’re not applying too little and not getting the activity you want and basically wasting your time and money there, or applying too much and again, wasting product and probably causing injury to whatever crop or pasture you’re trying to control weeds in.
Speaker 2: How are we going to go about doing that?
Joe: Well, kind of the old stand by, the old traditional way for calibrating a sprayer, is to calculate the gallons per minute, per nozzle. There’s a formula you use where you take your desired gallons per acre, total output, multiply that by the width of each nozzle, usually it’s 19 or 20 inches. Then multiply that by your speed in miles per hour.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Joe: Then you divide all that by this constant, 5940. That will give you a decimal, usually .1, .2., .3, and that’s your gallons per minute per nozzle.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Joe: Then the next step is go out there and turn on the sprayer and collect from each nozzle tip, for a set amount of time, and you can kind of back calculate and figure out how much you need to collect there to equal that gallons per minute, per nozzle.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Joe: Another way to do it is to use this little spot on sprayer calibrator and basically, you just hold this underneath the nozzle tip, it will fill with water and there’s little electrodes in there that sense as the water is filling. It will tell you right on the screen here your gallons per minute.
Speaker 2: Wow.
Joe: This is a little simpler way, kind of an expensive tool, but it does make it a little easier than doing all the calculations.
Speaker 2: And really fast.
Joe: Yes.
Speaker 2: We’ve got our sprayer calibrated. We know it’s putting out the right amount. When we start mixing things inside the tank, there’s a process and a way that needs to be done.
Joe: Yep. You need to put things in, in the right order. There’s an old acronym, WALES, W-A-L-E-S, or DALES.
The first one, W or D would be your wetable powder, or your dry flowables. Put those into the tank first.
Then the A is for agitation, so get those mixed up. Sometimes you can put those into a slurry, where you’ll put those in a little bit of water, get those dissolved and mixed in and then add that mixture to the tank.
L is for liquids, that would be your next thing to put in. That would be your glyphosates, any of your liquid herbicides.
E is for emulsifiable concentrates. That’s a lot of our grass type products, Prowl, Sonolan, Dual, any of those types of products are usually formulated as EC’s or emulsifiable concentrates.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Joe: Then the S, the last one, is for surfactants. Your non-ionic surfactants. Your metholated seed oils. Any additive that you’ll put in there to make the herbicide work better.
Speaker 2: Okay, and you’re not necessarily going to use all of those every time you go out and spray them.
Joe: No, sometimes you’ll just use one herbicide and a surfactant. If you’re using glyphosate or Round Up, a lot of times, all you’re going to use would be amonium sulphate and you’d always add that to the tank first to condition the water, and then your glyphosate product, or whatever herbicide you’re going to use, and then surfactant there at the end.
Speaker 2: Okay, so it’s just a step by step process whenever you’re going to be putting those in the tank.
Joe: When you start adding in liquid fertilizer, 28% or something ,you need to be very careful that the herbicide is compatible with that fertilizer mixture. You can run into problems where you’ll gel up in the tank and won’t get any spray out of the nozzles.
Speaker 2: You won’t get anything out of it. I guess the last thing is, putting it down. When you take it out there, speed recommendations, how fast you go, how slow you go?
Joe: It all depends on how much you want to put out. Obviously, the faster you go out, or the faster you travel, the more you need to put out at a time. Depending on your sprayer size, and how much ground you need to cover, that will determine a lot of that. Really, the output is probably the most important thing, or gallons per acre. That has a lot to do with coverage. If you’re trying to get very good coverage, especially with things like insecticides or fungicides, higher gallons per acre is going to be better. Sometimes you can get away with very low gallons per acre with some of these herbicides because they move throughout the plant. You don’t quite need the same coverage there.
Speaker 2: All right, good information. I sure hope that helps people out.
Joe: Thank you very much.
Speaker 2: You got it.