Spray Nozzle ‘Sweet Spots’ Help Reduce Drift Potential

Despite mounting drift-control concerns, sprayer nozzle designs and pressures should be maximized for efficient weed and insect control.

Pictured Above: BEING ON TARGET. Control of target species is the number one goal of on-farm spray applications. The right nozzle selection and operating pressure can help attain a "sweet spot" of performance to maximize control and reduce drift potential. Photo: AGCO Corp

Application industry consultant Bob Wolf says there’s no “magic-bullet nozzle” that solves all of an applicator’s problems. Today’s available nozzle designs are useful for different jobs and each one has a pressure “sweet spot” where it performs optimally.

“Unfortunately, that sweet spot doesn’t always correspond to the manufacturer’s recommendations,” Wolf told attendees at the 2018 National No-Tillage Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Wolf, who spent the last 30 years studying nozzle design and performance at the University of Illinois and Kansas State University, says weed or pest control must be the No. 1 goal of an applicator, regardless of the drumbeat against drift and penalties for misapplication.

“Whether it’s diseases, insects or resistant weeds, your ultimate goal is effectively controlling the targeted species,” he says.

Wolf says many products, such as contact insecticides and fungicides, may require more coverage and have less concern about the drift control. Finding the nozzle’s sweet spot to provide that coverage with acceptable drift control can be tricky.

“Remember, regardless the color, size or cost of a sprayer, the nozzle’s basic function is to take the solution in the tank, atomize it and distribute it in a uniform manner over the target — and the nozzle is the last part of the sprayer…

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