Winter Sprayer Preparation Allows Farmers to ‘Spring’ Into Action

It might not seem like it as much of North America braces for the cold temperatures, snow and ice that comes with winter, but spring is coming. And with it, the start of crop season.

Senior application specialist at Equipment Technologies, Jeremy Hurt, advises farmers with self-propelled sprayers to inspect and perform necessary maintenance on their machines before pulling them out of the barn and heading to the field to apply pesticides.

“Many farmers will spend a few weeks preparing their planter for the spring,” Hurt said. “They also need to invest some time going over their sprayer. It’s too important a piece of machinery to ignore.”

Agricultural Sprayer Inspection

Most sprayer preparation can be completed in 8-10 hours. The inspection/service checklist should include engine, hydraulic and dropbox oils, air intakes, lights, accumulators, tire pressures, air conditioners and cab filters, chemical tanks, booms and spray nozzles, and on-board field computers.

Owner’s guides such as the Apache Operator’s Manual provide servicing recommendations and specifications for parts and fluids. Farmers should follow the owner’s manual when maintaining their sprayers.

“By reading the owner’s manual you’ll use the correct oils and at the correct levels, for example,” Hurt said. “You wouldn’t want to use regular oil when the manual calls for 80/90 weight.”

Left unchecked, air intakes can come with surprises: small animals, which use the tubes for winter shelter. “It’s easy to pull off the air cleaner and make sure there’s not a mouse or big bird’s nest. I’ve seen it happen several times,” Hurt said.

Sprayers equipped with accumulators – devices that cushion booms and the sprayer’s suspension as the machine rides over rough terrain – must be fully charged to operate at peak efficiency. Sprayer dealers are best equipped to test and service accumulators, Hurt said.

No farmer wants to find the air conditioner on his or her sprayer isn’t working on a hot day. Turn the system on to ensure the system is blowing cool air and have it serviced or repaired if it is not.

“When it comes to the wet system, you’ll want to check the product tank straps and make sure they are tight because they could have stretched over time,” Hurt said. “Also, check all your boom plumbing for leaks and cracks, and the clamps for tightness. That’s especially true if your machine is four or five years old.”

Booms also should be inspected for wear and tested for unfolding and folding, and adjusted for proper height. Again, refer to the machine’s owner’s manual.

“One of the last things you’ll want to do is verify your field computer’s operation,” Hurt said. “Get them out of the cold machine and into a warm shop or your house, plug them in and see if they’re working. You wouldn’t want to get caught on that first application run with a system that cannot collect field data.”

For more information and helpful tips, visit our Ask the Application Specialists and E-Help sections of our blog. You can also find a wealth of information on our Apache Sprayers Literature page.


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