Is there anything to help with sprayer calibration and filling?

A: According to a straw poll at a recent Syngenta and Everris Turf Science Live event, these two tasks are the most disliked. Alarmingly, it is also estimated that fewer than one in 10 operators checks the water volume application rate before each treatment, with many only checking for nozzle wear and consistency less than once a season. That is irresponsible behaviour.

Sprayer manufacturers are constantly looking for new ways to make the use of application equipment safer and easier to set up and use. At Turf Science Live, Syngenta application specialist Tom Robinson suggested using the company's sprayer calibration checker.

"It is essential operators know precisely the water volume being applied and to check the output regularly," he said. "Once you know your spraying speed, the pre-calibrated checker measuring cylinder means operators simply collect the output from one nozzle for the predetermined time, and it instantly shows precisely what the water volume application will be." The process takes less than a minute.

A simple-to-follow calibration process is detailed on a downloadable technical update on the GreenCast website, while the GreenCast Application Zone provides an online calculator for operators to work out the required combination of speed and pressure for any required application rate.

The Syngenta calibration checker can also be used to assess nozzles for wear and consistency of output across the boom. Simply collect output from each nozzle for 30 seconds and compare the volumes collected.

If more abrasive trace elements, fertilisers or low-quality formulation products are used, wear rates could be high. And once a nozzle starts to wear, the spray pattern and accuracy can quickly deteriorate.

Robinson's top tips for accurate application:

- Measure the area to know the target area.

- Calibrate the sprayer regularly and check for nozzle wear.

- Fit Syngenta turf nozzles.

- Have sprayers tested as part of the National Sprayer Testing Scheme.

- Review latest application techniques and tools on the GreenCast website.

- Set nozzle height to 50cm above the ground, using the Syngenta Nozzle Height Indicator.

Sally Drury has been reporting on product developments and testing kit for 29 years. The advice given in this helpline is independent.

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