Sprayer Calibration & Maintenance for a Successful Season

Regular cleaning, upkeep & calibration catch issues early to save time in the field

As no-tillers rely on smaller amounts of active ingredients per acre of crop protection product, correct sprayer maintenance and calibration are critical components of any no-till operation, affecting performance and profitability

Many wear issues are due to general abuse in the field, according to John Cooper, precision solutions sales manager with New Holland dealer Swiderski Equipment. While the boom, nozzle tips and other parts that come into contact with herbicide are less likely to break, it's a good idea to do a visual inspection before each use to check for corrosion or damage. 

“Other common issues include flow meters getting gummed up and control valves sticking,” says Andy Sorenson, planter and combine specialist with John Deere dealer Riesterer & Schnell. “In that case, we would have to make a physical adjustment — like cleaning — on the machine.” 

Daily maintenance can help catch these issues quicker, and both Cooper and Sorenson recommend rinsing out product lines on sprayers daily. With John Deere equipment, Sorenson wants to keep it as clean as possible because of the cost to replace damaged components. 

“It doesn't matter what model sprayer it is, it always needs to be calibrated...” 

“Especially with pulse width modulation nozzles, you have to make sure they’re operating at peak because if they don’t open all the way and do what they’re supposed to, it’s going to throw off everything else,” says Cooper. 

Complete blockages in nozzles or partial chemical residue left behind can affect flow rate and spray pattern, preventing…

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Maclaren Krueger

Maclaren Krueger was an editorial intern for No-Till FarmerStrip-Till FarmerCover Crop Strategies and other Lessiter Media publications. They have a background in photography and graduated with a degree in English, Creative Writing and Publishing from the University of Iowa. 

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