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How to correctly set up your boom spray – PART B

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By Wayne Richardson, Potato Specialist at Syngenta

Last month I posted Part A - Working out how to apply your crop protection products evenly and at the recommended rate calculations. Click here to read Part A first.

Properly calibrating your boom is so important – mainly to ensure you are applying your crop protection products evenly and at the recommended rate. I will complete the picture with Part B now, providing you with the tools to work out what the optimal spray coverage is.

PART B – Optimal Spray Coverage

There are a number of ways you can change the water spray rate per hectare. You can change the spray volume by going faster or slower, increasing or decreasing the spray pressure or changing the nozzles on your spray rig.

Generally, most growers slow down or speed up to change volume. That way the droplet spectrum doesn’t change as it does with increasing or decreasing pressure or changing nozzles and you know what you’re going to get.

It’s usually easier to have a faster speed of travel early in the season when the crop is small and slow down as the season progresses and the crop gets bigger.

If I was calibrating a boom spray, I would select my operating speed, nozzles and pressure to achieve optimal spray coverage at a time when control was going to be the most difficult and hardest to achieve. I’d set up the machine to achieve Rolls Royce coverage at the row closure stage as this is a critical time for disease control and crop growth. When I have less canopy I would simply go faster and when the canopy gets bigger I’d go slower.

You are not going to increase your spray penetration a lot into the canopy by increasing your water rate late in the crop growth. It’s critical you get the right product on with the best coverage at row closure. That way you will greatly reduce the disease in the crop during the later stages of growth anyway.