Now is the time to check the accuracy of your sprayer. One can determine if the chemicals are applied at the proper rate only by carefully calibrating the sprayer. While applying too little pesticide may result in ineffective pest control, too much pesticide wastes money, may damage the crop and increases the potential risk of contaminating ground water and environment. The primary goal with calibration is to determine the actual rate of application in gallons per acre, then to make adjustments if the difference between the actual rate and the intended rate is greater or less than 5% of the intended rate. This is a recommended guideline by the EPA and USDA.

Calibrating a boom sprayer is not as difficult as it sounds. It usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes, and only three things are needed: a watch showing seconds, a measuring tape and a jar that measures ounces.

Before starting calibration, make sure you have a good set of nozzles on the sprayer. Nozzles wear off through extended use causing over application, or some nozzles are plugged. Clean all the plugged nozzles. Check the output of all the nozzles for a given length of time at a given spray pressure. Compare output from each nozzle’s output with the expected output shown in the nozzle catalog for that nozzle at the same pressure. Replace the nozzles showing an output error of more than 10% of the output of the new nozzle. Once you do this, now you are ready to calibrate your sprayer.

 

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to CSD Extra and get the latest news right to your inbox!

 

There are several ways to calibrate a sprayer. Regardless of which method you choose, it usually doesn’t take more than 30 minutes, and only three things are needed: a watch showing seconds, a measuring tape, and a jar graduated in ounces.