Top Considerations When Choosing Agricultural Sprayers
1. What type of agricultural knapsack sprayer crop are you spraying?
The types of crops you are treating will influence your choice. Corn and soybeans, for example, have different characteristics than sunflowers or soybeans.
Let's say you are spraying small fruit crops like strawberries. OR, low vegetables like pumpkins, broccoli, or potatoes. You will need a high volume, high-pressure sprayer. You'll need this much to penetrate beneath the overlying leaf canopy as well as the undersides of the leaves.
The above is just one example. Products made for crop protection differ because crops have different needs. Pests and potential diseases are all factors. So, a sprayer needs to be precise in order to target the right areas.
2. What type of machine(s) do you need?
In some cases, certain types of sprayers can have alternate uses. For example, are you looking for a large sprayer unit, as well as an additional tractor for other tasks?
If so, it may be more cost-effective to go with that, or any other equipment combination that fits more than one need.
There are two basic types of agricultural sprayers, which are hydraulic and low-volume. Of course, each type has variations available that target particular types of crops or spraying methods.
Hydraulic Agricultural Sprayers
With a hydraulic sprayer, a pump supplies the energy that takes spray material to its target crop. Water acts as the carrier. The pump generates pressure at about 40-1000 psi. You typically apply the spray to "drip" or "wet." The nozzles attached to the boom or gun separate the spray into droplets.
Low-Volume Agricultural Sprayers
A low-volume (LV) sprayer has a fan, compressor, or blower that injects spray material (in a water or oil base) into a high-speed air stream.
For most LV sprayers, a small pump injects a concentrate solution into the air stream. The air stream's speed can be up to 200 mph.
Droplet size for LV sprayers is much smaller, so you can get good coverage for fewer chemicals.
3. How do the weather conditions in your area affect your crops?
You use sprayers to protect your crop and encourage it to grow. Though, you only want to treat your intended area. That means shielding nearby areas from your sprayers.
Because of this, moisture levels, temperature, and even wind speed are things to consider as you prepare to spray. You will need to make an educated guess as to how far your liquid mix will travel. You will also want to estimate drying time.
The sprayer you choose must distribute your mixture in the necessary amount.
4. What type of nozzle do you need for your agricultural sprayers?
You want your application to be as precise as possible. For this, choose a nozzle that can control droplet size. This also affects the speed at which you can dispense the liquid.
Control the Amount of Liquid
Nozzles are one of the least expensive parts of agricultural sprayers. But, they are critical to sprayer performance. The nozzle controls the amount of liquid that you spray per unit area.
Rate of Application
The nozzle also controls the rate of application. It controls the variability of spray over the width of the sprayer's boom. Finally, the nozzle affects droplet size, which affects target coverage and sprays drift.
Choose for the Job at Hand
The nozzle you choose should be the best for the job at hand. It should be the most efficient. It should minimize spray drift, and comply with any requirements for the liquid products you are using.
This includes application rate and droplet size. Selecting the best nozzle requires careful consideration of all the factors listed below:
5. What size area are you spraying?
Your choice of agricultural sprayers largely depends on the size of the crop. For example, a hand sprayer with a one-liter capacity will do for a smaller area.
A larger area may require a four-gallon backpack sprayer that can keep going for up to ten hours.
Finally, an extra-large job may require a full three-point agricultural sprayer that is connected to an ATV or a tractor.
6. What is the current condition of your equipment?
You may already know the answers to the above questions. Before you begin a new spraying job, take inventory of your equipment. That includes the sprayer and its individual parts.
Test to be sure that everything is in working order. Check your sprayer seal for possible leakage. While you are there, check the pressure also.
If needed, replace any worn-out parts. This is also the opportune time to upgrade your equipment if the job calls for it.
7. Compare the time and effort with your budget.
If you are in need of new equipment, take time to balance the costs and benefits of your investment against your budget.
Time Constraints for Smaller Sprayers
A smaller sprayer is cheaper. And a small manual sprayer is most likely the cheapest. But, you will also spend more time and physical effort using it.
Even if you are spraying a small crop, you may be better off choosing the highest quality small sprayer so that you can do the job well and quickly.
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