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How to correctly set up your boom spray – PART A

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By Wayne Richardson, Potato Specialist at Syngenta

Properly calibrating your boom is so important – mainly to ensure you are applying your crop protection products evenly and at the recommended rate. I’m going to run through how to properly calibrate your boom to ensure you are applying your crop protection products evenly and at the recommended rate calculations in this article, and then stay tuned for Part B in our next Potato Partners newsletter, where I will run through how to work out what the optimal spray coverage is.



PART A – Working out how to apply your crop protection products evenly and at the recommended rate calculations

Applying too much product may damage your crop and harm the environment, not to mention it is a waste of your hard earned money – so we want to avoid this.

By the same token, applying too little product will also cost you because it will fail to give you the desired level of control. Calibration of boom sprayers is not just a once-a-year activity; you should check it regularly to ensure the correct rate is always maintained.

There are a number of different ways to calibrate a boom spray. To accurately and simply calibrate your spray boom follow the steps below.



Step 1. Start by checking the driving speed. Mark out 100 meters and measure the time taken to travel that distance. Then, use the following driving speed formula:

Driving speed (km/h) = Distance driven (m) X 3.6
                                             Time (sec)

As an example, if it takes 45 seconds to travel 100 meters, then the calculation looks like:

100 multiplied by 3.6, divided by 45 to give a driving speed of 8 km/h.



Step 2. Next, check nozzle output along the boom in L/min. With clean water in the spray tank, place a measuring jug under a nozzle and run the spray for 1 minute at the correct pressure with all nozzles operating. Using the Syngenta 11004 potato nozzle as an example, the output at 3 bar (43.5psi) should be close to 1.58L/min.

Measure how much water is in the jug. Compare this to the output specified by the manufacturer using the correct pressure. If nozzle output varies by more than 10 per cent, you should replace the nozzle, as this sort of variation is too high. Repeat for all nozzles.



Step 3. Calculate the boom application volume (L/ha) using the following formula:

Application volume (L/ha) =          Nozzle output (L/min) x 600
                                             Nozzle spacing (m) x Speed (km/h)


Using the 11004 Syngenta potato nozzle as an example, with driving speed of 8km/h, a nozzle output of 1.58L/min (per nozzle) and nozzle spacing of 0.5m, the application volume calculation of the boom spray would be:

Application volume =  1.58 x 600    = 237 L/ha
                                  0.5 X 8

And there you have it, 3 easy steps to work out how to accurately and simply calibrate your spray boom.



Part B will be posted in the next Potato Partners newsletter, make sure you catch it for the other half of the boom calibration equation!