A scientist from Agriculture Canada and an engineer from the University of PEI are teaming up on a project they hope will revolutionize how farmers deal with weeds in their fields. Their idea is to mount a camera and sensors on a sprayer.

It then uses software to identify what's a plant and what's a weed and turn the sprayer on and off to target the weeds. This summer's work was the start of a five-year project, researchers are hoping to do field-scale demonstrations by year three. READ MORE
For the tractor-mounted sprayer market for 2017, John Deere introduces the Frontier LS11 Series 3-point Mounted Sprayers. These economical, efficient sprayers are ideal for making spray applications to pastures, small or large fields, road ditches, fence rows, specialty crops and for other types of crops and field uses.

The LS11 Series Sprayers have many features of the larger pull-type sprayers, including breakaway booms, manual and automatic controls and optional foam marker systems, that help operators reduce skips and overlaps.

The Frontier LS11 Series Sprayers come in four different boom-width models, from 25-ft. to 40-ft., that customers can select from based on their application needs. 

The LS11 Series Sprayers are available in two tank sizes, 250-gallon or 300-gallon; can be powered either hydraulically or by the rear power take-off (PTO); and are Category 2 or Category 3 quick-hitch compatible. For greater convenience, the heavy-duty poly tanks are specifically designed with a tear-drop shape to allow liquid to more completely drain from the sprayers.

Additional standard features of the LS11 Series Sprayers include a handheld spray wand to reach small or hard-to-access areas; integrated parking stand and fork-lift pockets to make hook up, moving and loading the sprayer easier; and wet booms that extend the life of sprayer hardware. All models come with a single nozzle body; however, a triple nozzle body is available on the 40-ft. boom sprayer.

For more information on the new Frontier LS11 Series 3-point Mounted Sprayers from John Deere, see your local John Deere dealer.
Spraying chemicals has expanded far beyond in-crop herbicides to include fungicides, pre-harvest, and other late season applications in many fields. Challenges arise as growers transition to spraying at different times of the year and into different crops, canopy heights and densities.

June 15, 2016 - Salford Group unveiled what it says is the largest pull-type pneumatic boom applicator on the planet. The whopping prototype is being shown for the first time in public at Canada's Farm Progress Show this week in Regina.

June 17, 2015, Regina, SK – Pesticide application has never been more important in Canada. Today's operators need to understand more than just how to operate a sprayer - one of the most complex and expensive agricultural machines. They also need to balance how weather, chemistry, plant canopies and many other factors affect performance and environmental fate.

To help make sense of it all, a new website, www.sprayers101.com, has been launched by two Canadian sprayer specialists.

"Applicators want to do the best job possible, and are always looking for information and advice," says Dr. Jason Deveau, application specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. "We recognized a need to provide that information more effectively. That's why we developed a site that combines horticultural and field crop information."

Dr. Tom Wolf is a sprayer specialist based in Saskatoon with over 25 years of research experience in field sprayers. His company, Agrimetrix Research & Training, reaches thousands of applicators across Canada through presentations and workshops.

"Each year, producers spend more time in their sprayers than almost any other piece of equipment. Most of my clients' fields are now treated three to five times per year. The investment, and the stakes, are high," says Wolf. "Applicators deserve the best information on how to maximize pesticide performance and minimize environmental impact. Sprayers 101 is the ideal means to provide that information."

Deveau and Wolf use a variety of approaches to get their message out, relying on Twitter to invite applicators, agronomists and educators to Sprayers101. Facts, often spiced with humour, are delivered via stories, images, videos and apps. International sprayer specialists have begun submitting information for posting on the site, creating an unparalleled resource for all things "sprayer." The site is mobile-friendly and scales to the phones that applicators rely on for information gathering.


Agrifac, a Dutch manufacturer of self-propelled sprayers, is expanding into Canada.

Agrifac has 30 years of experience in designing and manufacturing self-propelled sprayers. The company gives primary attention to an accurate spray application: "Every drop hits the right spot." Boom stability as well as techniques to increase the coverage of the crops are available on the machines of Agrifac.

Agrifac offers two types of self-propelled sprayers: the Condor and the Condor Endurance. The Condor is a versatile, high-quality sprayer suitable for demanding farmers. The Condor Endurance is the Condor's big brother, a reliable, high quality sprayer with extreme durability.

For more information, visit http://www.agrifac.com/condor.


Equipment technologies are continually advancing to provide more opportunities to improve efficiency and effectiveness. But according to Jason Deveau, an application technology specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), farmers do not have to buy a new sprayer to take advantage of the newest tools.

Deveau works with technology companies worldwide to learn about and test their latest sprayer advancements, and he says a multitude of aftermarket products can be purchased to improve operation and application.

Improving management
Oil- and water-sensitive papers are yellow cards that turn blue when sprayed. Deveau says the papers provide a cost-effective way to show coverage, spray drift and sprayer contamination. 

“By taking your time and using a clothespin and flag in the field, you can get a very good, immediate picture of how well you are doing,” he says, adding the tool can help farmers put recommended practices to the test by using the papers before and after changing methods, and analyzing the difference.

TeeJet Technologies offers two monitor products that Deveau sees as opportunities to improve operator management – the Sentry 6140 Flow Tip Monitor and the Sentry 6120 Droplet Size Monitor. The flow tip tool detects plugged tips as well as high and low flow errors or partial blockages. Deveau says using a minimum of three tips, sensors are mounted at each spray tip location without impacting flow. The sensors are linked to a touchscreen monitor, and errors are indicated by audible alarm and display notification. “This type of tool could replace hard-to-read floats, and could be used when planting, spraying and applying fertilizer.”

Deveau notes droplet size affects coverage and drift, and operators should be using catalogues to determine the average droplet size given their pressure and nozzle choice. He describes TeeJet’s droplet monitor as a catalogue tool, as it provides real-time droplet size display and highlights size changes with auto-rate controllers.

The Accu-Volume System, manufactured by Custom Concepts Mfg. Inc., claims to increase operator efficiency and Deveau agrees it answers the question of what exactly is in the tank. He says some gauges can be inaccurate by approximately 25 gallons, and sprayer grade can create a difference of up to 80 gallons during filling. The monitor, which includes a digital display in the cab and at the loading station, reduces the chances of running short or over-batching, and helps operators to avoid diluting existing solutions.

Deveau says Johnson’s Innovations manufactures Peek-a-boom, a remote controlled system for performing timed output tests safely and easily. Peek-a-boom allows operators to turn individual or all boom sections on and off from the cab or other nearby locations. ATI Agritronics Inc. has a similar smartphone application product called
AppliMax Spray Boom Remote Control.   

Nozzle technology
New in 2014, Pentair Ltd. announced the Hypro Duo React Twin Valve Nozzle Body. The product features a single nozzle holder and a rotatable four-way turret in one unit which Deveau says allows the operator to select either or both tips from the cab. He notes this tool could be convenient for operators aiming to switch from fertilizer to fungicide, from conventional flat fan to air induced or to dual fans.

Deveau says the Pentair Hypro Express Nozzle Body End Caps product could be applicable to more operators. “The caps are also air aspirators which could mean an 85 per cent faster shut-off valve operation.”

In terms of nozzle calibration tools, Deveau points to the SpotOn Sprayer Calibrator made by Innoquest Inc. He says this digital spray tip tester can be described as a vessel with two inside sensors. Once the meter is held under the nozzle at a slight angle, the tool displays how many litres, ounces or gallons per minute it is emitting within approximately 10 seconds.

Research and development
Deveau also reviews products currently in development or not yet available in Canada such as K-B Agri-Tech LLC’s Pattern Master, Harrie Hoeben’s Wingssprayer and Coraltec Inc.’s D30.

The creators of Pattern Master (patent pending) are claiming this product will change the way the industry looks at drift control. “It is a brush that is mounted in front of the nozzle, which means more coverage and less drift,” Deveau says, noting the brush has bottom bristles to diffuse but not block air flow. The product is currently being tested in the U.S. Deveau says initial trial results comparing brush to no brush show significant coverage improvement.

Wingssprayer has been available in Europe for four years and the manufacturer is considering expanding into Canada this year. Deveau says the product is a floating shield that blocks oncoming wind and flexes to lightly drag the crop surface which opens the crop canopy. Because the shield decreases the distance between the nozzle and crop, the creators claim Wingssprayer reduces dosage by up to 30 per cent.
Deveau says Coraltec Inc.’s D30 spray droplet size measurement system research is currently focused on industry applications, but the technology will be modified for agriculture.

“Spray mix viscosity can change nozzle output by as much as 30 per cent and also changes the volume median diameter (VMD),” Deveau says. “D30 could provide a way to check this quickly to ensure effective material deposition.”

As product technologies advance and new educational courses become available, information and free downloads can be found at www.sprayers101.ca, or by following Deveau on Twitter @Spray_Guy.

For the project’s lab component, the researchers created a canopy of mature wheat plants and a simulated broadleaf canopy, and assessed canopy penetration using different spraying practices. Photo by Tom Wolf, Agrimetrix Research & Training.

A new project to discover the most effective ways to spray fungicides into mature crop canopies is already generating some interesting preliminary results.

The three-year study was initiated in response to emerging information needs.

“Fungicides are the growth area in the crop protection business. More acres and more new products are being sprayed in that part of the business than any other. So we’re seeing a lot of promotion of fungicide use by the crop protection industry. And we’re also seeing quite a bit of interest from the applicators; they have now purchased high-clearance sprayers, and they want to know how to apply fungicides better,” explains Dr. Tom Wolf of Agrimetrix Research & Training. “We realized that we didn’t have a lot of the answers to that because fungicide spraying is a relatively new business.”

Wolf, who is an expert in sprayer and nozzle technologies, is working on this project with two plant pathologists: Dr. Randy Kutcher of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Bruce Gossen of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Project funding is from Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund, the Western Grains Research Foundation, and nozzle companies Hypro, TeeJet Technologies, Greenleaf Technologies, and Wilger Industries. As well, some new funding will be coming from the crop protection industry.

As a first step, the researchers conducted lab experiments in the fall of 2014 to determine where the spray goes in the crop canopy under various treatments. Then starting in 2015, they will evaluate the most promising treatments from the lab study in on-farm research trials.

“Determining where the spray goes is one of the big challenges in the spraying world. It’s very difficult to quantify the amount of spray that ends up in different parts of the canopy, and yet in the plant disease world, that is a very important aspect,” says Wolf. “For example, to control Fusarium head blight (FHB), a prominent cereal disease that is all over Eastern Canada and moving into most parts of Western Canada, the spray needs to land on the wheat head. So we need to know how much of the spray we are actually getting on the wheat head. For a disease like sclerotinia in canola, usually the spray has to hit the flower petal or the flower bud prior to opening. And for diseases like tan spot or septoria in wheat, we need to spray the flag leaf and perhaps the penultimate leaf, so we need to make sure most of the spray goes at least halfway down into the canopy.”

For the lab study, the researchers created two crop canopies. One was composed of mature wheat plants with emerged heads, the crop stage for spraying FHB. The other was a simulated broadleaf canopy made of silk plants that were configured to provide a quantifiable canopy density and a generic look.
For each spray treatment, the researchers placed plastic drinking straws as spray targets at different heights and orientations throughout the canopy. Then the sprayer moved through the canopy and applied a fluorescent dye mixed with water. After each spray pass, the researchers removed the straws, washed them and accurately measured the amount of dye on each straw using fluorimetry.

The sprayer passes were designed to compare a wide range of factors including different travel speeds, boom heights, spray pressures, droplet sizes, nozzle types and nozzle brands.

So the researchers were able to determine what proportion of the total spray applied to the canopy landed on the different places within the canopy, for each application method.

Preliminary findings
Wolf is now analyzing the data from the lab study. Based on his initial look at the data, he makes several observations.

“The first observation is something we’ve known from other studies, which is that it is very difficult to get much of the spray beyond the top third of the canopy [no matter which application practices are used].
“In the wheat canopy, about 65 per cent of the spray that we applied was intercepted by the wheat head, which is a pretty high percentage. But at the bottom of the canopy, only about 25 per cent of the spray was intercepted.

“In the broadleaf canopy, the picture was bleaker. Typically about 50 per cent was intercepted near the top of the canopy and only about 20 per cent near the bottom.”

Wolf’s second observation is that the answer to the question “Which application practices are most effective?” really depends on where in the canopy the spray needs to go.

“The first and absolutely the most important question to be answered by the applicator is: ‘Where does the spray have to end up?’ The applicator has to know that to make the correct application decision,” he says.

For example, the lab study showed that if the wheat head is the spray target, then the best option is to use an angled spray, a boom height that is relatively close to the wheat head and a relatively fast travel speed. If the target is deeper into the canopy, then the best option is to travel a little slower, spray vertically and keep the boom low.

Determining the best application methods for the broadleaf canopy is a bigger challenge for the researchers. “It was very difficult to find one application method that was much better than another one. For spraying the top of the canopy, all the treatments were pretty similar. And we always found very little at the bottom of the canopy, no matter how we sprayed it,” notes Wolf.

“So we’re not comfortable yet saying what growers ought to be doing when spraying broadleaf canopies. The general recommendations about travelling a little slower, using a higher water volume and keeping the boom as low to the canopy as possible are probably true, but the overall benefits of doing it that way over doing it a different way were not as big as we expected.”

Next steps
The researchers will be releasing their final results from the lab study in the coming months.
They will also be working with some chemical companies, manufacturers, dealers and agronomists to find crop growers who are willing to collaborate in on-farm research trials. They are looking for Saskatchewan field sites because all three researchers are based in that province.

“We want to work with producers who have sprayers and fields that need to be sprayed,” notes Wolf. “It’s a real opportunity for us to speak directly with the applicator and get a very good sense of how they do things. And it could be an opportunity for the applicator to learn, too. For instance, they might already have two or three different nozzles for their sprayer and may not be sure which would be best to use in a specific situation, so we could approach their field trial from that angle. Farmers love to learn, so if we can help them do that learning, usually they can meet us half way.”

The researchers will probably do just two treatments at a site because each site will have to include space for the treatments to be replicated to ensure statistically valid results. So, for instance, they might compare two different nozzles on one farm, and two different travel speeds on another farm.
Kutcher and Gossen will assess the level of crop disease in the different treatments. And crop yield data will be collected for the treatments. Then the researchers will analyze the data to determine which application methods are the most effective for controlling disease under real-life conditions.

Some principles and tips
Understanding the principles of spray management can help with decision-making on fungicide applications. Although it’s too early to formalize such principles for spraying broadleaf canopies, Wolf outlines some principles for spraying grass canopies.

He identifies four principles to use when applicators are aiming for exposed vertical targets, like wheat heads. “The first principle is to use an angled spray to hit the vertical target from the side. If you have a vertical droplet direction, one that just goes straight down to the ground, it is unlikely to hit a wheat head that is also vertical.”

The second principle is to use slightly larger spray droplets. “That angled spray needs to make it all the way from the nozzle to the wheat head, without losing momentum from air resistance and so on, and eventually falling vertically with gravity. So you want to make the droplets bigger to ensure they retain their initial angled direction for as long as possible.”

The third principle is to keep the boom as close to the canopy as the nozzle allows. “There are minimum boom heights that make sure you have good spray patterns, but you want to be as close to those minimum heights as possible. That minimizes the amount of time that a droplet has to travel, so the droplet will likely still be moving at its initial angle [when it gets to the target].”

And the fourth principle is to enhance the horizontal momentum of the spray. “Typically it’s better to have the nozzle pointed forward and not backward. Also, faster travel speeds for the sprayer are usually better in this particular case. Those two practices combined impart greater horizontal velocity to the droplet.”
In contrast, when applicators are aiming for the leaves in the middle of the canopy, the spray droplets should fall directly downward. So, almost the opposite application methods are needed – the applicator should use a vertically oriented spray and travel a little slower, while keeping the boom height as close as possible to the minimum.

Wolf understands why growers are often reluctant to follow advice to go slower and use lower boom heights, so he offers some tips to help make these recommendations more practical.

“At the research end, we are responding to some very powerful market trends. Those trends are that sprayers are bigger and sprayers travel faster, and because of those two factors, sprayer boom heights are generally a little higher than we would like. Farmers are buying these sprayers because they need to do more acres per hour so they can spray everything on time, which is a very important priority. So when we say, ‘To get maximum benefit from this spray, you should slow down, lower your boom and add more water,’ it contradicts some of the productivity gains they are trying to achieve,” he explains.

“Therefore, I think we have to find other ways of achieving efficiencies in the spraying world. One approach is to reduce your downtime, so you can maximize the amount of time you spend actually spraying, which allows you time to do a slightly better job while spraying.”

According to Wolf, examples of ways to reduce downtime include things like using a larger spray tank and/or a higher capacity transfer pump with larger diameter plumbing to allow faster tank filling. Table 1 compares several ways to increase the number of acres sprayed per hour.

“Another time-consuming activity is tank cleanout and waste disposal, which can take as much time as it takes to spray an entire field. By investing in more efficient cleaning equipment like a clean water saddle tank, a wash-down nozzle or boom-end rinse valves…an applicator can win some time back.”

The decision on whether to spray or not can be a difficult one for producers, says an Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) specialist, and the wrong decision can have serious financial consequences.

"Today's farm business managers wear many different hats, and mycology and entomology may not be their area of expertise," says Nevin Rosaasen, research economist, ARD, Edmonton. "The decision to spray a fungicide or insecticide can be complex, and last minute choices at spraying time stand a good chance of missing the mark."

Determining the economic threshold when it pays to spray is not as cut and dried as a simple insect count, a specified severity of infection rate or basing the decision solely on the weather forecast, said Rosaasen. While all of these variables are important in making the most informed decision, he says the decision should ultimately be made based on profitability, and the best way to determine that is by using a partial budget.

"First, determine your farm specific economic cost of spraying the pest that you are trying to control. Determining your costs is the left hand side of the ledger of a partial budget and should include not only the cost of the pesticide, but all variable costs including fuel, time, labour of both the sprayer operator and water hauler. Fixed costs include depreciation on the sprayer, chemical handler, water truck, tanks, etc. Divide these by all the acres that you spray over the estimated lifetime of these assets to give you a rough fixed cost per acre. Knowing what it costs you to spray is essential before evaluating the potential benefit, loading up the sprayer and hitting the field."

On the direct benefit side of the partial budget, evaluate how the decision to spray may affect yield. "Factors to consider include the expected yield savings and price of the crop you are protecting (use realistic yield estimates and conservative estimates for price). You may also want to net off the crop lost from compaction and tramping - roughly two per cent crop loss on 100 foot booms. The net of these gives insight into the 'direct' profitability of spraying pests. If it is negative, here is where you stop. If you have defined a threshold, you would know where you would start."

However, Rosaasen said that even when the numbers are right, there are other considerations.

"Understanding that your field is a complex ecosystem, that, when shocked with a fungicide or insecticide, may have unintended consequences on beneficial insects or fungi and subsequent infestation levels, is key. When infestation rates and benefits of spraying outweigh the costs, producers need to act to protect their profitability. However, when you find that deciding to spray or not to spray is based on costs and benefits being nearly even, letting nature run its course may have longer-term net benefits for your integrated pest management and ultimately, your longer-term profitability."



Aug. 5, 2014, Ontario – Twenty-eight per cent has become the preferred nitrogen source on winter wheat in Ontario. Application is perfectly uniform, something that seems difficult to achieve with most urea applications. However, leaf burn is one of the main problems with 28 per cent applications, particularly at later stages of growth. Peter Johnson offers tips on mitigating leaf burn on FieldCropNews.com. | READ MORE

June 4, 2014 - John Deere has introduced the R4045 Sprayer, which replaces the company's 4940 Sprayer. The new R4045 Sprayer features a 346 horsepower Final Tier 4 PowerTech™ PSS 9.0L engine with four-wheel hydrostatic drive that can operate at 25 MPH spraying/spreading and 35 MPH in transport. For liquid applications, it comes with a 1,200-gallon solution tank and option of 90, 100 or 120-foot dual swing-link suspension, flat-fold booms that can apply up to 230 gallons per minute with a high-flow pump and dual flow meter.

The sprayer can be converted to a dry nutrient applicator by installing a high-capacity 200 or 300-cubic foot New Leader dry spinner spreader.

The R4045 shares a similar frame and chassis design, as well as the standard and premium CommandView™ II plus cab options, as its R4030 and R4038 family members. This includes a more spacious cab with more glass for greater visibility, the high-backed ComfortCommand™ Seat and redesigned CommandARM™ with integrated GreenStar™ 3 CommandCenter™ display for finger-tip control of all machine operations. The cruise control feature allows the system to automatically control the vehicle to the operator's target speed when the operator sets the engine speed and hydro handle at maximum positions.

The Load Command™ system can fill the 1,200-gallon tank in as little as three minutes, and the factory-installed front fill option makes loading the machines much easier and convenient with 3-inch Quick Fill couplings.

The R4045 Sprayer equipped with the Solution Command System comes with the Target Fill feature, allowing the operator to input the desired fill level (min. 150 gallons) using the numeric keypad. Target Fill consists of a tank level sensor inside the tank, the appropriate software and a micro display that shows the actual volume in the solution tank during the filling process.

Optional features of the R4045 include the Direct Injection system, standard end cap aspirators at the end of each spray section to reduce nozzle turn-off time, and the boom air purge system to help purge out additional product during change over. The new tri-directional breakaway tip sections and full-boom breakaway features help protect the booms, and the number of boom sections has been increased to improve spray resolution by up to 33 per cent.

The GreenStar™ 3 2630 Display features increased memory, a touch-screen interface, video capabilities and is ISOBUS compatible. It comes loaded with Field Documentation, Map-Based Prescriptions, On-Screen Mapping and other applications.

Other integrated technologies that further enhance productivity include AutoTrac™, John Deere Section Control, John Deere Mobile Weather and AgLogic™. JDLink™ is available and enables Remote Display Access, Service ADVISOR™ Remote and Wireless Data Transfer. These are all part of the John Deere FarmSight™ experience available through local dealers to help customers more efficiently utilize their machines.

For more information on the new John Deere R4045 and other 4 Series Sprayers, visit www.JohnDeere.com or see your local John Deere dealer for details.


May 12, 2014, Ontario – Pesticide spray drift is the aerial movement and unintentional deposit of pesticide outside the target area. Drift cannot be entirely eliminated, but spray operators can greatly reduce the potential for pesticide drift. | READ MORE


Aug. 20, 2013 - This weekend, BASF teams up with The Olde Tyme Harvest for Hunger in Langenburg, Saskatchewan to raise money for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to provide food for less fortunate people who are struggling with famine and hunger.

This year's event will be a world record attempt for the 'Most Antique Threshing Machines Operating Simultaneously.' The current record is held by a threshing club in Rock River, Wisconsin in 2008 with 29 threshing machines operating at one time. This year, an expected 40 threshing machines will take part harvesting a 35-acre field of winter wheat. The harvested wheat will be donated to the Canadian Foodgrains Bank along with the net profit from the day.

As a major sponsor and long-time supporter of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, BASF has donated $10,000 to the Harvest for Hunger program, playing a key role in achieving fundraising goals.

Harvest for Hunger has a goal of raising $20,000 for hunger relief projects through its partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

As a business, farming is all about efficiencies. The more efficient the operation, the stronger the bottom line – not to mention other benefits of efficiencies like labour, yield, equipment usage or feed conversion in livestock. Tom Wolf, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, spends his days researching efficiencies in spray technology. His theory is the more efficient the spray application of pesticides, the better they will work.

Fusarium is an old pest in Manitoba’s Red River Valley but it is becoming a big new pest about 500 kilometres northwest, in the Swan River Valley. To get ahead of the disease game, seed grower Wayne Alford went shopping for nozzles to provide better coverage.  

“I wanted to improve my application of fungicides. I did some research, and saw an article that mentioned asymmetrical TurboDrop nozzles,” says Alford. “Two seasons later, I’m a happy customer.”

TeeJet Technologies and Greenleaf Technologies each have recently added a new type of dual fan nozzle that’s particularly well suited for applications of fungicides with high-clearance sprayers, says Tom Wolf, research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at Saskatoon.  

TeeJet has 25 types of sprayer tips available for broadcast applications with boom-type sprayers. The TeeJet AI3070 produces two wide-angle, flat spray patterns. To maximize coverage, the lead nozzle is tilted 30 degrees forward to hit vertical, exposed targets such as wheat heads. The back nozzle, tilted 70 degrees to the rear, applies a heavier rate against the back of the retreating heads. Drift-resistant drops are produced with the use of a venturi design.

Greenleaf Technologies manufactures 13 types of nozzles. Greenleaf TurboDrop Asymmetric Dual Fan (TADF) Nozzle is the latest. It has a 10-degree forward spray and a 50-degree rearward spray to overcome the same issues faced by traditional flat fan dual nozzles that have matching forward-rear spray angles.  

In normal operation, the travel speed of the sprayer moves droplets along with it. They tend to deposit in the driving direction. Because of this, the coverage of the backside of the vertical wheat heads tends to be weaker.

Several manufacturers have developed bodies that will support two nozzles (or jets) that spray forward and backward from the vertical, typically at 30-degree angles.  

A limitation of a double nozzle is that as you travel faster, the spray deposit on the forward-pointing nozzle increases while the contribution of the backward-pointing nozzle decreases. As a result, low speeds were advised to take advantage of this design.  

According to Wolf, design engineers decided it wasn’t necessary for the angles to be identical, and that a variation was better for faster speeds. “The asymmetric design is intended to allow these faster travel speeds,” he notes. “To even out the playing field, they said let’s decrease the contribution of the front nozzle and increase the angle of the back nozzle. More help is required to keep drops moving back to hit a target that they are actually moving away from.”

In 2012, Wolf did trials with the TeeJet AI3070 to see if the deposit pattern changed with travel speed and to see if there was an impact from boom height. He predicts that results probably would be similar with the TurboDrop Asymmetric nozzles.

Using a vertical plastic drinking straw target with similar dimensions to a wheat head, they measured results separately for the forward- and backward-pointing nozzles at speeds between eight and 16 kilometres/hour in increments of 2 km/h.

Previously, with a non-asymmetric design, they determined that increasing the travel speed increased the amount of deposit from the forward-facing nozzle.

“While we found that the relative amount on target was usually about 30 percent greater from the forward-pointing nozzle, that did not change with increasing the travel speed,” says Wolf. “And, the amount of deposit from the backward-pointing nozzle didn’t change with speed either. We concluded that the performance of the asymmetric nozzles was speed-independent.”

However, boom height is a factor in coverage. In earlier studies with single nozzles that were angled forward, was there was a significant impact of boom height. The angle of the nozzle was relatively unimportant while the boom was high, and deposits on vertical targets were low. When the boom was closer to the target, the angle became quite important, increasing deposits significantly.

 “With the asymmetric design, we also found that we could increase deposition on the vertical target significantly by keeping the boom low,” notes Wolf. “When you have a high boom, the angle the spray leaves the nozzle at very quickly becomes irrelevant. Air resistance and gravity redirect the spray just to fall vertically, or move with prevailing winds. But when you spray very close to the target, the spray is still moving forward and backward as intended.”

As a result, with asymmetric nozzles, a boom height controller is a very practical option. The operator can keep the boom low, without hitting the ground, and take advantage of the lower boom height.

Coarser spray qualities are also more important with an asymmetric nozzle pattern. A large drop has more momentum, and will travel longer in the intended direction. Therefore, larger droplets support a greater, more aggressive spray angle – especially for a vertical target.

“Our key conclusions from the study are that maintaining a low boom and having the spray reasonably coarse allows the double angle and the asymmetric angle to be beneficial,” says Wolf. “It is most beneficial in the fungicide world, where you are trying to hit a vertical target.”

The new design, however, did not produce any benefits in coverage on horizontal targets such as broadleaf crops and weeds. As a result, benefits are more likely for fungicides than herbicides.

The Swan Valley Seeds owner, Wayne Alford, installed TurboDrop Asymmetric nozzles on his 90-foot John Deere 4710 sprayer. In July 2011 and 2012, he applied anti-fusarium fungicide to protect his wheat.

First, he checked the nozzle performance using water-sensitive paper to reveal the actual spray pattern at head level in his wheat. The spray pattern was different from what he had seen with other nozzles. Drops from the forward nozzles were a little smaller; drops from the rear nozzles were a little larger. As long as it wasn’t windy, they covered both sides of the sprayed paper.  

Alford ran his own pressure test as well, with different speeds. He found the asymmetric spray maintained its pattern across a wide range of nozzle pressures. “The Asymmetric will work at anything from 10 g/ac and 12 m.p.h. up to 20 g/ac and 6 m.p.h. while the spray pattern and droplet size stay relatively consistent,” he says.

“I followed the directions for fusarium control: spray at six or 7 m.p.h. at 15 g/ac of water and recommended pressure. We had very good results. Good coverage. Minimal plugging. My seed crops weren’t perfect, but the fusarium levels on my seed wheat were certainly very much lower than I had in past years. The two years of experience I have had have been very positive.”


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