New Sprayer, Right Boom
I get a lot of questions about sprayers and using a boom.
A while back I visited with Mark, a salesman at S&H Farm Supply in Rogersville, MO and an expert on 3 point boom sprayers. He also used to sell chemical for a living and has all kinds of certifications based on his experience and his training, so I found his input really helpful. We talked about tanks and booms, and I wanted to share the gist of the conversation with you.
According to Mark, there are basically two different options when you’re applying pesticide to the ground: a boomless nozzle or a boom.
Now, with boomless nozzles you don’t have as much control over your drift as you would with a boom sprayer. On the other hand, in tall weeds, tall grasses, and brush you won’t have interference with your boomless nozzles because they are stationary wherever they’re put out.
A boomless three point sprayer follows right behind your tractor and shoots out spray to 34 feet – 17 foot on each side, left and right, and it gives you good coverage.
But If It’s Windy…
The day Mark and I talked about the 3 point sprayer boom, we were standing in what was a 20 mph wind. Mark pointed out that if I had, say, an alfalfa field with alfalfa weevils to spray, a boomless machine wouldn’t be my best choice in that wind. I’d want to have a boom machine where I could lower my booms down close to the ground to have more control. That’s because the spray would be coming out in a fan shape and going down and getting on those plants and killing the insects.
On the other hand, with a boomless sprayer, the spray would be coming from two nozzles going out in two different directions, spraying in a fan shape around you. You wouldn’t have all that boom apparatus that can get tangled up in stuff. And sometimes, you might forget to fold it in and catch it on a fence post or something like that. Fine in calm weather. But it’s not the best choice for a windy day.
Mike Sees Mostly Boomless Sprayers Selling, Though
The bulk of the sprayers I see selling right now, especially to my audience, are boomless, and they’re very forgiving in most areas. But it’s very important to understand your distance of throw – that’s probably one of the most important things. Most boomless sprayers have an adjustment so you can move them up and down a little bit. That means that on a slightly windy day you can pull that boomless apparatus down somewhat. That will help with lessening how much spray you lose to the wind, but it does bring down the distance you’re going to throw your spray. At maximum height, the boomless sprayer is set for the 17 foot each side, 34 foot total coverage. Drop the apparatus down and you will lose some distance.
Is Boom or Boomless Spraying Better for Me?
Well, if you’re a farmer and you’ve got something that’s eating your crops, you have to get out there whenever it’s needed, so you probably have to use booms. But if you’re a guy spraying food plots, you might want to think twice about getting booms, because they cost a lot more money. You can actually equip a sprayer with both if money’s no object. But if you’re the average weekend farmer just spraying food plots, you’re better off just watching the wind really closely and spraying on calmer days.
I grew up on an apple orchard and we had a really good weather vane that my dad watched all the time. There were certain days he just didn’t want to be out there.
Also, when you’re spraying, Mark reminded me, it’s really important to go with the wind, and not against it. If you’re dealing with a crosswind, be sure the spray is being blown away from any type of waterway.
Mother Nature Can Help
One problem, of course, especially with food plots farmers who work in town during the week, is that they want to get out on the weekend and spray their acreage, but sometimes just can’t do it because of wind.
Mark pointed out that using Mother Nature to your benefit, you can know basically the best time to spray: early morning and late evening, times when the wind is generally calmer. Around noon, he said, is when you’ll usually see the highest wind. And if you can spray in the early morning, you’ve also got dew working to your advantage, believe it or not. Wet plants will accept more moisture coming from the spray. Keep this in mind when you’re planning to spray.