Mixing Up a Sprayer Solution for an Effective Herbicide Kill

Accurate measurements, water pH and hardness, and the use of adjuvants are all key to ensuring every spray droplet makes it into the weed or cover crop.

Herbicides are one of the most critical tools used on no-till operations. But you may not be utilizing these chemicals as effectively as you could, which can result in increased herbicide resistance or another pass across the field to clean up any yield-robbing weeds or cover crops.

Fred Whitford, director of Purdue University’s Purdue Pesticide Programs, shares key practices and products to help growers get the most out of their herbicides and achieve an effective kill when their sprayers start rolling this year.

Measure Correctly

Have you ever measured your sprayer tanks to know if you have the volume it says? Whitford says it’s best to double check to avoid hurting your herbicide performance.

For example, if a no-tiller is making an application with a tank that he thinks is 750 gallons, but it’s actually 900 gallons, then he’s diluted the herbicide.

No-tillers can find out how accurate their sprayer tanks are by weighing them. Whitford recommends they drive their empty sprayers over scales and then fill them up with water. A gallon of water weighs 8.345 pounds, so if a tank is filled up to the 1,000-gallon mark, its empty weight should increase by 8,345 pounds. If it doesn’t, then the grower will learn that the tank measurement is inaccurate.

“You’re going to find a lot of your sprayers are way off, which means you’re either over-applying, or in many cases, under-applying,” he says.

If a sprayer is too wide for the scales, a flow meter might be another…

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Laura Barrera

Laura Barrera is the former managing editor of No-Till Farmer and Conservation Tillage Guide magazines. Prior to joining No-Till Farmer, she served as an assistant editor for a greenhouse publication. Barrera holds a B.A. in magazine journalism from Ball State University.

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