No-tillers seeking more precise chemical placement have new tools that not only makes application easier and more precise, they save money in the process.
Off-target chemical application is costly and time consuming. Skips, unintentional application, rate errors and application to environmentally sensitive areas not only increases the amount of chemicals being used, but it’s costly. The move to larger, wider spray booms can also contribute to an increase in application errors.
If you can eliminate off-target spraying, you will improve environmental quality and boost your profitability, says Scott Shearer, professor and chair of biosystems and agricultural engineering at the University of Kentucky.
With large booms, application errors frequently occur at the ends of fields, and when passes are made where unsprayed areas are narrower than the booms. No-tillers, Shearer says, can leave a portion of the field untreated or treat a portion of the field twice.
Another concern is the elimination of grassed waterways, which have been “sprayed-out” when applicators apply burndown herbicides in no-till production. The loss of waterways and riparian buffers significantly increases the potential for off-site movement of chemicals, resulting in the contamination of surface waters.
“One of the benefits we noted for no-till farming is that today’s technology does help you avoid spraying on areas you would normally leave as-is,” Shearer says. “Using boundary maps, you can identify areas where you plant and areas that must be set aside.”
For producers who rent from several landlords, each with varying degrees of vegetative buffers and…