Don’t forget sprayer maintenance during spring cleaning

Published 6:29 am Monday, April 2, 2018

Remember to include sprayer maintenance in your spring cleaning tasks. It will ensure that your spray equipment is ready for the planting season, and save you time and money down the road.

Taking care of sprayer maintenance prior to the hectic growing season can prevent time-consuming equipment breakdowns, higher chemical costs, reduced pesticide effectiveness and potential crop damage.

Poorly maintained sprayers can cause variations in pesticide application rates. These variations can lead to ineffective pest control and potential crop injury, resulting in higher chemical costs and reduced profits. Precise pesticide application is even more important with the highly active agricultural chemicals we have on the market today.

Make the following a part of your spray equipment cleaning chore:

· Rinse out the sprayer to remove any dirt that accumulated over the winter.

· Check the pump for excessive wear and to be sure it is operating at full capacity.

· Inspect sprayer lines for leaks.

· Visually inspect nozzles for excessive wear, corrosion or damage.

· Measure the output from each nozzle to ensure uniform application.

· Visually inspect spray from each nozzle to find any inconsistent patterns resulting from wear or damage.

· Clean filter screens and replace worn ones.

· Check the agitator for proper turbulence to ensure specific formulations are well mixed.

· On a driveway or other appropriate site, use water to check spray patterns for proper overlap.

· Inspect electrical connections on sprayer controllers for corroded or loose wires.

For more information on farm maintenance practices, contact your Bell County Cooperative Extension Service.

Stacy White is the Bell County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Educational programs of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin. Source: Tim Stombaugh, UK agricultural engineer.