Now that fall harvest is complete and wheat is planted, it’s time to get your sprayer ready for next season before you put it in the shed. In this article, we give you an easy-to-use method for calibrating your sprayer. But before you begin, it’s important to start with clean, properly working parts to make sure your calibration is accurate. Here’s a checklist of things to do before calibrating your sprayer.
- Make sure the tank is clean. Flush the boom, nozzles and strainers. Use a good strong detergent or tank cleaner. Take a look at your agitation and make sure it’s working properly.
- Do a walk-around inspection, taking a close look at hoses, fittings, pipes, elbow fittings, screens, strainers, nozzle bodies and nozzles to see if there are any leaks. Make sure hoses, including hydraulic hoses, are tightly connected and free from sharp bends or cracks. Damaged hoses must be replaced not repaired. Also, look for any physical damage to the machine itself.
- Take out all your nozzles and inspect them. Soak them in warm soapy water. If you used many dry formulated products last season and you used spray grade fertilizers, consider replacing the nozzles before next year. After calibration (see chart below), if you find that a nozzle has an output error of 10% or more, you really need to replace it. Nozzles approaching a 10% error can cost you between $5 and $20 per acre in chemical costs. This savings offsets the cost of the nozzle.
- Make sure all controls are fully functional, all gauges are in proper working order and pumps are working.
- While in the cab, make sure all wires are routed properly, have proper connections, are secured to the frame and are not lose or in places where they can rub. Clean the dust off of all electronics including screens, gauges, computers and controllers.
- Check your tires for proper inflation and secure lug nuts.
- Get the grease gun out and grease the entire machine. If grease fittings are missing, replace them.
- Check all safety items including bulbs, headlights, signage, loose steps, ladders and hand rails. Replace decals and placards if necessary.
- Stop rust with a can of the appropriate green, red, orange or white paint.
- Order parts that need to be replaced. Remember the mechanical problems you had during last season, and be proactive about maintenance for next season.
When all sprayer parts are clean and in good condition, you are ready to calibrate your sprayer using the chart below. A good rule of thumb is to calibrate your sprayer at least 3 times during the year. First, calibrate before the season starts, then double check the calibration 2-3 weeks later and again midseason.
To enlarge this chart, click on the image.
For a printable version of this chart, click here.
Information provided by Coastal AgroBusiness, Inc.