Picture in your mind a beautiful morning on the farm. The sun is peeking over the horizon, the temperature is pleasantly mild and there is no wind to speak of as you stride toward your tractor to start the workday. After hooking up your sprayer, you’re off to spend the rest of your morning applying herbicides to 300 acres of corn you planted in a rutless, endlessly level plot of land.
For those of you that don’t live in this dream world, applying pesticides is more often a nightmare. Spray drift has been a problem for nearly every no-tiller at one time or another, and sometimes even the best preparation prior to spraying still results in poor coverage.
Since weather conditions play a major role in pesticide application, problems with drift may never go away. But some new advances in nozzle, boom and sprayer technologies are starting to bridge the gap, allowing farmers more control over specific field conditions.
Australian no-tiller Jeff Esdaile knows these new sprayer innovations better than most. Due to stricter pesticide application laws in Australia, the University of Sydney farm manager has spent the last few years conducting extensive testing of new nozzle and sprayer technology.
“Technology should be able to help us get pesticides 20 inches from the bottom of a sprayer down to the target without it drifting off into never-never land or our neighbors fields,” says Esdaile, who operates the farm near Moree in New South Wales. “The days of the conventional spray…