Spring 2012 Side-dress Time Winds Down / Side-dressing Equipment

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

Spring sidedress time is wrapping up.  Urea supply in the Twin Cities is pretty much all used up, and it will be some time until we determine summer fill program numbers.  28% through irrigators will continue through the summer.  Supplies are good, and prices are stable. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Side-dressing Equipment

I have been getting a lot of calls this week about side dressing equipment.  If you have not applied any N yet this season, if you are afraid you have lost your N to leaching because of excessive rains, or if you are simply looking for a way to take advantage of our ample moisture to try to punch your yields to the next level, side dressing might be for you. Many of the companies that build side dressing equipment still have some units for sale.  You can expect to pay from just under $20,000 to around $30,000 for a 12-row and $30,000 to $40,000 for a 16-row. If you are looking to build something on the cheap or for one-time use, that old row crop cultivator sitting out in the trees may make itself useful again.  By stripping it down and only using 1 or 2 shanks per row or replacing the shanks with coulters and pairing it with a saddle tank, a front mount tank, or a tow behind caddy, you can build your own applicator for half the cost of a production model. Also, some companies have started offering special attachments for sprayers to drop fertilizer in between the rows or right next to the row.  This method can work if you get a timely rain and don’t over-apply. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
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Nitrogen Fertilizer Prices Begin Steady Decline / Causes of Spray Drift

Fertilizer Update by Rob Fritz

Rob Fritz - rob.f@heftyseed.com

28% and urea prices are coming down.  Urea out of the Twin Cities is now priced less than $700/ton.  The price of both forms of nitrogen is expected to drop slowly over the next few weeks. Call us for more information at 1-800-274-3389. Click here to send Rob an e-mail.      

Equipment Tips by Jim Goodale

Jim Goodale - jim.g@heftyseed.com

Causes of Spray Drift

I know that with the wide use of Round-Up ready crops you probably don’t consider spray drift to be an important issue anymore, but with all the extra helpers we put with our glyphosate anymore drift is becoming an issue again.  There are a lot of variables that contribute to spray drift.  Although most people consider wind to be a major cause, your spray equipment and method are also contributors.  Here are a few things to keep in mind about your application methods.
Droplet Size
Droplet size is the most influential factor and one of the most controllable factors.  The smaller the nozzle size or the greater the operating pressure, the smaller the droplets and the greater potential for drift.  This can be minimized even with the smallest nozzle sizes by selecting the appropriate nozzle type.  An air induction or pre-orifice style nozzle will increase your droplet size compared to traditional flat fan nozzles at the same operating pressures and volumes.
Spray Tip Height
As the distance between your spray tip and your target increase so does the potential for drift.  Newer spray tips offer a wider angled pattern.  This allows you to reduce the distance between your spray tip and your target.  When I say spray target I am talking about growing point of the weed or the location of the insect you are trying to kill.  Or the ground or plant foliage you are trying to cover.  You should move your sprayer boom in relation to your target.
Operating Speed
Faster operating speeds can cause spray to be diverted into wind currents and vortexes caused by your sprayer moving through the field which will trap smaller droplets and contribute to drift.  As wind velocities increase, your operating speed should decrease.
Spray Volume, Wind Velocity, Air Temperature and Humidity
Of all the weather variables we deal with when spraying, wind velocity has the greatest impact.  As wind velocity increases, spray pressure should be reduced and spray volume should be increased.  Similarly as the ambient temperature increases or relative humidity decreases you should decrease your spray pressure and increase spray volume to reduce evaporation. I wish I could tell you about a new spray tip that would work for every application and every weather variable, but there isn’t.  So the best thing you can do is evaluate your situation, habits, and practices and have a couple different types or sizes of spray tips on your sprayer or in your toolbox, in order to be prepared. Give me a call at 1-800-274-3389 if you have any questions. Click here to send Jim an e-mail. [table “1” not found /]
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