Crop and Pest Management Guidelines

A Cornell Cooperative Extension Publication

7.1 Preparing the Airblast Sprayer for Work


7.1.1 Checking the Sprayer

Surveys have shown that many farmers are using inaccurate sprayers. Faulty sprayers contribute to increased drift levels and waste money through inefficiency and overuse of chemicals. For example, the cost of replacing a faulty pressure gauge that has been indicating at 15% below the actual pressure is recouped in around two hours' operation.

Maintenance measures such as fitting a new set of nozzles at the beginning of each season also save money. Even when overdosing occurs by as little as 5%, the cost of a new set of nozzles would be recovered in less than a day's work.

Sprayers must be checked over regularly to ensure that proper maintenance has been carried out and that no outstanding repairs need to be done. Before attempting any work on a machine, make sure that it is fully supported on stands and that all necessary protective clothing is on hand.


7.1.2 Fitting the Sprayer to the Tractor

The selected tractor must always be powerful enough to operate the sprayer efficiently under the working conditions that will be encountered. All its external services - hydraulic, electrical, and pneumatic - must be clean and in working order. Tractors fitting with cabs must have efficient air filtration systems. All protective guards must be in place. Trailed sprayers are often close-coupled to the tractor, so it is essential that the drawbar and the PTO shaft are correctly adjusted for turning. PTO shafts must be disengaged when making very tight turns.



7.1.3 Checking the Operation of the Sprayer

Partially fill the tank with clean water and move the sprayer to uncropped waste ground. Remove the nozzles. Although you are not using any chemical at this point, get into the habit of wearing a coverall, gloves and a face visor when working with the sprayer. Engage the PTO and gently turn the shaft, increasing speed slowly to operating revs. Test the on/off and pressure relief valves, and check the agitation system. Flush through the spray lines, and then switch off the tractor. Refit the nozzles and check the liquid system again for leaks.

It is a valuable exercise to assess the spray deposits at various points in the canopy and on upper and lower leaf surfaces of the vines to be sprayed. This is particularly important if the foliage is dense or if the vines are grown in beds of three or more rows. Water-sensitive papers or fluorescent tracers are available for this purpose. An increase in spray volume or adjustment of the nozzles and their locations may be necessary in order to achieve the correct deposits.


7.1.4 Pre-season Maintenance

Use the following checklists before you begin spraying:



Replace damaged hoses.



Replace any damaged or blocked filters.



See the supplier/manufacturer now about fractures and any other repairs.



Replace leaky valves, which waste money and are potentially dangerous to operators and the environment.


Pressure Gauge



Always ensure the correct nozzles and operating pressure are selected before use. Have two or three sets of nozzles in stock to meet different spray qualities at different volume rates. Inspect nozzles throughout the season to avoid faults which could prove both costly and damaging to the environment if they develop unchecked.


If your sprayer has automatic controllers to monitor the speed of the sprayer and the flow, pressure and area sprayed, check:


See "Sprayer Calibration" for detailed information on how to calibrate your sprayer.

Routine maintenance

Lubricate the sprayer at the time intervals specified by the manufacturer. The following components must be checked daily when a sprayer is in use:

In addition, the following checks should be carried out routinely:


7.1.5 Nozzles on the Net

This web page contains product information on agricultural and industrial nozzles. Albuz offer a variety of nozzles and whirl plates for application systems. There are also a number of educational fact sheets about Albuz nozzles located on the webpage: Albuz nozzles are distributed throughout America by this company. Also on the web page they offer technical training and information about the use of each nozzle.

This web page contains product information on nozzles, nozzle accessories, sprayer accessories, high pressure guns/nozzles, pumps and high pressure washers. They offer educational material on calibration of nozzles and sprayers. They also have a nozzle type selection guide that is very useful to help select the right nozzle for your specific application. There are conversion factors for broadcast nozzle spacing and metric and imperial gallon conversion.

This web page contains product information on sprayers for all crops, nozzles, pumps and electronic controllers. They feature new products in the marketplace and educational materials which provide knowledge on servicing your sprayer. Also there is an online nozzle selection guide that is very useful in selecting the correct nozzle for your specific application.

This web page contains product information on Ag pumps, boom and sprayer components, nozzle bodies, pressure washer pumps, and spray tips. They also list educational guides that help you select the correct nozzle for your specific application. They are the distributor for Albuz nozzles in US.

This web page contains product information on nozzles and sprayer components. They offer many educational resources including a conversion program for sprayers and other aids to assist you in nozzle selection and sprayer use. They have catalogs you can download about their nozzles and other sprayer components such as nozzle bodies. They have a section that features all their new products, you can also shop online for spray nozzles and parts.

This web page contains product information on all different types of nozzles, spray guns, valves, manifolds, boom components, electronic controls and guidance systems. They provide educational support with the use of a spray calibration calculator. They also have a nozzle selection guide you can download to help you in making a decision on which nozzle is good for your application.

This web page contains product information on nozzles for turf, vegetables and other crops. The featured products are the turbodrop, spraymax and airmix nozzles. There is a nozzle guide to assist you in locating a nozzle for your application. There are educational materials such as droplet size data, independent test data and news articles you can look through.

This web page contains product information on various sprayer parts and nozzles. Some of their featured products include tips, caps, strainers, nozzle bodies and flow indicators. Their web page also has a nozzle selection calculator called tip wizard which helps you locate the correct nozzle for your application. Tipnology is another link on the web page which explains everything about each nozzle.

This webpage contains information on various types of sprayers (air-blast, boom and knapsack etc). There are links to most of the manufacturers of orchard, vineyard, turf and vegetable spraying equipment. The website contains useful information on sprayer calibration, nozzles, sprayer manufacturers and agricultural links for that particular crop. In each one of the specific crop spraying sections also there are extension publications and research publications covering research projects conducted on sprayers in the northeast.

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