Don’t start to drift when it comes to good spraying

Leaving a cloud of mist behind the sprayer has never been a good thing and in 2020 it is no longer acceptable.

If that cloud of mist is there the operator is not spraying efficiently and is also leaving a poor impression of agriculture with the public.

Syngenta has always been proactive when it comes to efficient spraying. At a recent briefing held by the company, Tom Gartland described some of the trial work that Syngenta is currently undertaking.

Drift reduction is top of the agenda. Trials were carried out in 2019 on farms and in small plot trials. Tom explained that there are a lot of factors at play but one small change can have a major impact and that’s the use of drift-reducing nozzles.

Leaving the clouds behind

Tom noted that everyone wants to get the best efficacy out of the product they are using and in the past a standard flat-fan nozzle was seen as an appropriate choice to give good leaf coverage from fine spray droplets.

However, those small droplets were adding to the mist behind the sprayer.

Moving to a drift-reducing nozzle means less and bigger droplets; so instead of seeing a leaf which has speckles all over it, the leaf will be well covered, but with larger drops.

In trials carried out on both wheat and barley in 2019 (same spray programmes) examining standard flat-fan nozzles and 90% drift-reducing nozzles, there was no difference found in the level of disease control achieved or the yield of the crop.

“There was no difference on disease control or yield between the standard flat fan nozzles or the 90% drift reducing nozzles,” Tom noted.

He also commented that using the drift-reducing nozzle allows farmers to spray on more days, as they can afford to spray at higher wind speeds.

When it comes to water volume he explained that if you have a good operator there’s no reason why efficacy shouldn’t be as good at 100L/ha.

Commenting on this, Tom stated: “There’s a perception if you have a higher water volume, there’s less drift. It’s not the case.”

He noted that there’s no reason why a good operator – who has speed and pressure right, along with level booms, ensuring even coverage – shouldn’t get good efficacy at 100L/ha.

No reason not to choose drift-reduction

In conclusion, Tom explained if flat-fan nozzles have no benefit to the crop then there is no reason not to choose a drift-reducing nozzle.

He did comment that when spraying some small weeds farmers might change to a 75% drift-reducing nozzle, but there are research trials examining their effectiveness at present.

Tom noted that going forward nozzle type will play an important part in spray recommendations in order to ensure good efficacy and to mind the environment.

We have to make sure that the spray goes where it’s supposed to go.

Coming down the track there is also a Defy nozzle which has 90% drift-reduction capabilities, but also sprays at an angle – every second nozzle sprays back and forward for better coverage.

On the topic of operator safety, Tom noted that Syngenta is part of a project with other companies working on a new method of chemical induction which means the operator doesn’t have to open a can. Click here to find out more