Speed + Spraying — What Growers Need to Know

Apache Sprayers Spray Speed

The faster you drive your Apache sprayer, the bigger target area you cover — right? Today’s self-propelled sprayers allow growers to apply agriculture chemicals faster than ever before, but is there a limit? Equipment Technologies Senior Application Specialist, Jeremy Hurt says yes. “Even with the continuous innovations in sprayer technology, it’s still important for growers to pay special attention to the relationship between travel speed, pressure, nozzle choice and the desired output per acre,” Hurt said.

So, what happens when we speed up? This is important to know, because your choice of speed travel requires an understanding of how the chemicals are delivered to the target.

Fast-moving air does three things to the spray distribution:

  1. It shears the spray, making it a finer mist.
  2. It scrubs small droplets from the spray pattern.
  3. It creates negative pressure behind the pattern sucking fine spray droplets into the sprayer’s wake.

All three effects combined create the dreaded spray plume hanging behind the spray boom. The faster the movement, the larger portion of your spray pattern will end up in plume — and ultimately, in the wind. While nozzle choice and boom height can counteract some of these effects, it’s much easier to just slow down.

“How do you know when you’re going too fast?” Hurt said. “If you’re uncomfortable in the cab riding across a field, your machine is probably uncomfortable as well. If you’re bouncing around in the cab you probably need to slow down a little bit.”

In terms of miles per hour, the most common application speed ranges between 10-16 mph for self-propelled sprayers. Any faster and a grower risks not achieving uniform coverage, or creating spray drift.

“Look at your boom wings as you’re traveling across a field,” Hurt said. “Are they really active and moving around? If they are, that could indicate the speed you’re going is too fast for the field you’re driving across. Apache Sprayers have very stable booms that keep movement to a minimum.”

Bottom line: Don’t rely on the rate-controller for every speed adjustment—be mindful of that speed!

 

 

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