Probably one of the most frustrating things while boom spraying is your chemical drifting. Stopping the spray drift in windy conditions is often easier said than done. However, there are things you can do that reduce the drift on those windy days you are trying to finish a field, before it rains. Although there are times when it is too windy, in this article you will find 8 effective ways to reduce the spray drift as much as possible.
Dangers of Spray Drift While Boom Spraying
There are dangers of chemical drifting that you should be aware of when you are boom spraying. If you've ever had the experience of accidently spraying your neighbors sensitive crop, you will know exactly what I mean. To cover some of the main dangers, I have made a quick list to help you understand.
- If people are standing by, chemical could harm them. Especially children.
- Sensitive crops will be killed when they are sprayed with the wrong chemical.
- Pets and wildlife can be injured when they come in touch with pesticides.
To read more about the dangers of spray drift, I would suggest you click here to read a very helpful article from Scientific American®.
8 Effective Ways To Reduce Spray Drift
- Lower Your Boom - The lower your boom is to the ground, the faster the liquid will land and therefore be in the air for less time.
Pro tip: When spraying close to the ground, use wide angle nozzles so you can still get appropriate coverage. Wide angle nozzles spray at a 110° angle.
- Avoid High Wind - Spraying when it is too windy is pointless. No matter how close your boom is to the ground or what type of nozzles you have, strong winds will still create drift.
- Reduce Ground Speed - The faster you are driving while spraying, the more your spray will drift.
- Reduce Your Output Pressure - The purpose of reducing the output pressure is to increase the size of the water droplets. The smaller the droplets of water are, the easier they will get carried by an air draft. If they are larger they will be a lot heavier.
- Use Shielded Booms - Attach a shield on your boom that extends beyond where the nozzles are. This will help the spray be more direct by blocking air movement towards it.
- Use Spray Thickeners/Drift Retardants - These types of solutions when added to your liquid can make it thicker. This will dramatically change the flow rate and droplet size for more effective spraying.
Pro tip: I would not recommend using spray thickeners or drift retardants at the same time as air induction nozzles as this can create clogging.
- Use a Hi-tech Pulse Modulation Sprayer - Some newer sprayers have pulsing systems that helps with better accuracy. With advanced programs that are integrated with the sprayer, the liquid is only released when it needs to be. this is often referred to as 'digital spraying'. Unlike older sprayer technology the pressure is directly affected by the speed of your application vehicle. This technology allows you to use pressure and flow as control metrics, which gives you a larger operating speed range during application. This is all done while maintaining consistent droplet size.
- Use Air Assisted Nozzles - Nozzles that use Air-Assist technology have improved atomization, transportation, and penetration by using air induction into the nozzle.
Pro tip: Because air induction nozzles make the droplets bigger, they don't have the spray coverage smaller droplets do. When it is not windy, we recommend you change back to standard nozzles.
Some of the ideas above will definitely work better than others. Although there are many other tactics to try, it is obvious that spraying on a windy day can be dangerous. If you have any ideas that you have proved, add your comment below. We would love to share what has worked for you.