Q. Should we do spraying ourselves or bring in a contractor?
A. It depends on your circumstances, the amount of spraying to be done and the location. If you only have a small amount of weedkilling to do, it is easy to justify the cost of a knapsack or small wheeled sprayer — providing you have a trained and certified operative to undertake the task. Then it is a matter of scale. Larger areas will need larger sprayers and you need regular applications for an expensive ride-on sprayer to pay its way.
You also need to consider the cost of the operative — training and time spraying. Time is also required for risk assessments, COSHH assessments and spray records and the cost of safe storage and disposal of pesticides has to be added into the equation. If you only need to spray large areas once in a while or suffer difficult problems such as Japanese knotweed, it may be better to call in a contractor.
Q. Are there any new wheeled pedestrian sprayers?
A. Last autumn Team Sprayers introduced Team Vixen for greenkeepers and groundsmen requiring low-ground pressure applications. Vixen is a no-fume, no-noise self-propelled pedestrian unit capable of spraying in forward and reverse directions.
This model has zero-turn manoeuvrability and a 24V powered axle with adjustable speeds. The polythene tank holds 120 litres of spray liquid and a six-nozzle 3m boom is supplied as standard. The 24V diaphragm pumping mechanism is backed up by 24V quick-charge batteries.
Also new, the Go-Sprayer from DMMP joins the company's other wheeled sprayer — the EarthWay S25. The battery-powered model is suited for use by sports clubs and amenity professionals.
Q. What's new for large-scale turf applications?
A. John Deere has now introduced the HD200 SelectSpray machine, which is an upgraded version of the 750-litre low-profile sprayer first introduced in 2003 and designed for greater flexibility and convenience.
The new model offers a choice of centrifugal or diaphragm pumps, manual or automatic rate controls and a range of boom options that comes with electro-hydraulic lift and lower as standard. A common wiring harness allows the control system to be changed if required.
The HD200 utilises the John Deere 24hp ProGator load space and has a low centre of gravity for stability and visibility over the back of the tank. The sprayer can be quickly removed without the use of tools.
Q. What are the latest developments in field sprayers?
A. Receiving a new look for 2010, Amazone's entry level UG trailed sprayers now incorporate improved technological advances taken from the company's UX range.
The UG is available in two versions - the UG Special with 250l/min piston diaphragm pump and the UG Super with 370l/min twin pump system. Both models are available in 2,400and 3,200-litre variants.
UG models benefit from an all new operator station to make filling, mixing and cleaning quick and simple and now come with a 60-litre induction hopper with internal rinse and can wash.
At LAMMA last month in Newark, Nottinghamshire, Knight showed its highest-capacity trailed sprayer ever. Previously, the company offered EUA units with capacities from 2,500 to 5,000. With its 6,000-litre stainless tank, the latest machine is a response to demand for maximum productivity in spraying operations.
Q. What's new for filling sprayers and rinsing containers?
A. Sprayer operators can spend less time rinsing pesticide containers following the installation of a new can wash nozzle in the industry's most popular sprayer-filling device.
The ProClean nozzle, produced by Hypro EU at its Longstanton factory near Cambridge, has already won praise from sprayer operators testing early production models for its speed, thoroughness and water economy. Now Watson & Brookman, supplier of most induction hoppers fitted to new British-built sprayers, has decided to install the device as standard.
Hypro EU product manager Roger James explains: "We discovered that some operators can spend a minute or more rinsing out each container. With as many as 20 containers needed to fill a big sprayer, the rinsing process significantly reduces the amount of time available for actually spraying."
Studies to determine the water flow, pressure, distribution and impact needed to clean the inside of a pesticide container faster and more effectively led to the new ProClean design. This purpose-built water-driven rotating nozzle has different shaped outlets around the head to ensure that water is sent into all the nooks and crannies.
"Comparative tests with other nozzles cleaning a five-litre container showed the ProClean doing the job in half the time, using up to half the amount of water," says James. "It also works well on all container sizes, which means that operators can rinse containers thoroughly and spend more time at their spraying."