Selecting the proper spray nozzle
This past weekend as I drove home from one of my niece's graduation ceremony in northern Iowa I was passing the time by thinking about quickly things change. It seems like it was just last week that her mother, dad and I took her to her first 4th of July parade. I’ll never forget that the antique tractors, or at least the engine noise of the tractors, interested her more than anything else in the parade. As I drove by someone spraying pre-emergent chemical, I focused my attention on how much things have changed with sprayers and the related technology over that same period of time. Though a common sight today, a machine with a 100' boom and 1200-gallon tank moving across the field at 20+ MPH would have been a newsworthy story not that long ago. Contrast that machine to the first self-propelled sprayer I remember on our family farm. It was a three-wheeled, air-cooled, front-wheel drive with a 30' foot boom. Something my brother and I could easily outrun on our single speed bicycles. Effectively operating these modern machines at high speed would be difficult at best if technologies like GPS, automatic swath control, automated steering, guidance and automatic boom height control were not an integral part of the sprayer. Even with these technologies at our disposal, none of them diminish the importance of proper controller settings and selection of the proper spray nozzle for the application.
The process of selecting a correct nozzle was much easier when machine speeds were slow and relatively consistent and your nozzle choices were limited to brass flat fans …or brass flat fans. Today, when selecting spray nozzles you can still dig through manufacturers’ catalogs with calculator in hand but there are also resources on the internet that are generally much easier to use. I quickly found the following links by searching for “agricultural spray nozzles”; a more intense search could definitely provide more results. Due to lengthy URLs, I've shortened the links to each of these spray nozzle manufacturer's interactive spray nozzle selection tools. Hardi Hypro Global Spray Solutions TeeJet Technologies Wilger Look hard enough and you may even find an app for your smartphone. Hope you find these tools useful. Have a safe and product spring season. Image credit: Images included in this post were obtained using the Image Library from TeeJet Technologies.