12 steps to fine-tuning your sprayer
Published 24/02/2016 | 02:30
The foundations for getting through the sprayer NCT are really laid on the final day of operation during the last season. Here's Neil Butterly's 12-step guide to keeping your sprayer fit for any test.
1 On the last day of spraying in any year, everything should be rinsed out really well using an ammonia-based product such as All Clear Extra.
This is required to remove all traces of hormone-type sprays that could contaminate subsequent mixes.
Every part of the sprayer, including the induction bowl, pictured, should be immaculate when you are finished.
2 Drop off every nozzle into a bucket of hot water. Give them a good wash, paying particular attention to o-rings to make sure that they aren't perished. A little bit of grease on each of these also helps prevent the rubber from corroding, which can lead to air suction.
3 Take out all your filters and clean. This includes the filters in the nozzles, the high-pressure filter, the suction filter, and the in-line filters along the boom.
4 Pump antifreeze through all the lines to protect the machine from frost.
5 If it has any computer boxes, take them out and put them in a warm, dry place. The same goes for pressure gauges, or wrap them in a rag to protect them from the cold.
6 Disconnect any electronic pressure-guage sensor from lines that contain water. These can cost €500 to replace, and if they are in contact with water that is prone to freezing, they can become damaged.
7 Grease all grease nipples, and put copper grease on all hinges. The latter is better than ordinary grease since it sticks better.
8 Check that your basket filter is in place. Some farmers like to take this out, but it is required for the test.
9 Check all pipes along the boom for damage. Even a kinked pipe will fail a test, because kinking damages the body of the pipe, leading to leaks.
10 Check hydraulic pipes for leaks.
11 Check your boom for corrosion. This all comes down to the paint job that the frame got day one in the factory. Some brands, like Amazone have a very good name for this, and actually guarantee a rust free frame for a number of years.
12 Check your PTO cover for damage.
GPS technology taking over
“Nearly 50PC of the sprayers that I sell are fitted with GPS technology now,” said Neil Butterly, who is an Amazone dealer based in the heartland of north County Dublin’s vegetable growing area.
“It’s still something that appeals to the large guys and the veg men, but I can see a day not too far away when it’ll be a standard request on every sprayer I sell.
“It adds about €3,500 to the overall cost, but it should result in savings on product use of about 5pc. Most of that comes from more accurate shutting off of sections at the headlands and in short ground.
In the case of high value crops, eliminating double-dosing plants can be an important consideration too.”
A 1,500 litre mounted Amazone sprayer, with a 24m boom and GPS is listed at €46,000.