Source: Erdal Ozkan, Ohio State University

Spraying season is just around the corner. Just take a moment to review some common sense ideas I will mention here to get the most out of those expensive pesticides you will be spraying. The following "Top Ten" list will help you improve the performance of your sprayer and keep it from failing you:

1. Applying chemicals with a sprayer that is not calibrated and operated accurately could cause insufficient weed, insect or disease control which can lead to reduced yields. Check the gallon per acre application rate of the sprayer. This can only be determined by a thorough calibration of the sprayer. Use clean water while calibrating to reduce the risk of contact with chemicals. Read OSU Extension Publication AEX-520 for an easy calibration method (http://ohioline.osu.edu/aex-fact/0520.html).

2. How the chemical is deposited on the target is as important as the amount applied. Know what kind of nozzles are on your sprayer and whether or not their patterns need to be overlapped for complete coverage. Make sure the nozzles are not partially clogged. Clogging will not only change the flow rate, it also changes the spray pattern. Never use a pin, knife or any other metal object to unclog nozzles.

3. In addition to clogging, other things such as nozzle tips with different fan angles on the boom, and uneven boom height are the most common causes of non-uniform spray patterns. They can all cause streaks of untreated areas that result in insufficient pest control and economic loss. 

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