Tip •  2024-04-08

The importance of sprayer hygiene

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sprayer at night

Sprayer cleanout cannot be avoided or ignored. It’s a fundamental part of good spray practice and protects crops from damage. A clean sprayer also contributes to yield, providing crops with their best chance to emerge, grow, mature, and produce.

Good sprayer hygiene is especially important when managing trait systems, like Enlist E3™ soybeans and moving from herbicides containing dicamba to spraying Enlist E3 soybeans.

Looking for more information about how tank contamination can affect crop injury in Enlist E3 soybeans? Watch this short video:
Tank Contamination and Symptomology ID

Enlist E3 soybeans are not tolerant to dicamba, and severe crop injury will occur. Even the smallest quantities of dicamba can affect Enlist E3 soybeans – in fact, exposure to dicamba can cause 5-10% crop yield loss. That’s why Corteva Agriscience has compiled a list of sprayer cleanout procedure tips every farmer should follow.

Start clean, stay clean

Starting with a clean sprayer will reduce the risk of crop injury and the resulting impact on yield. Sprayer cleanout should be conducted as soon as spraying is done. Procrastination or prioritizing other jobs during such a busy season is easy to do, but the longer a sprayer sits before cleanout the higher the chances residues can settle into hard-to-clean places.

Aim to start each application with a clean sprayer. It’s the best chance farmers can give their crops to help them stay clean too.

Eliminate residues

Successful sprayer cleaning starts early with proper mixing of all the ingredients. It’s easy to make mistakes that can cause product to come out of formulation and stick to components of the sprayer. Spray residues can easily stick to plastic and rubber components compared to stainless steel.

Residues or liquid that are suspended in water are easier to remove. Always spray the tank empty when finishing a field and avoid storing liquid overnight in a tank. If a spray stoppage is unavoidable, clear the liquid that remains in the boom out using air purge or pump water through the boom.

Rinse and repeat

Don’t forget to rinse every part of the sprayer, including areas that the spray cleaning solution doesn't reach easily.  These areas can include boom ends that should be flushed, filter housings that should be opened, and filters that need to be cleaned. Don’t forget nozzle screens, nozzle bodies, and even sight gauges.

Pesticides can accumulate in every part of a sprayer, no matter how small. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly clean sprayers to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Tom Wolfe of Sprayers101.com provides more in-depth information on all of these sprayer hygiene points and more in this short video: Importance of sprayer clean out.

Territory Managers Grace Jones and Chris Robson demonstrate both proper and improper tank mixing procedures. See the results!