Agronomy •  2024-03-19

Is your sprayer ready for spring?

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sprayer in field in spring

Getting sprayers into field-ready condition is essential to minimize unnecessary breakdowns or equipment problems, make the most of application windows and ensure proper and accurate product application. And when you consider the investment you make in the products running through your sprayer, it makes sense to ensure equipment is operating properly and products are accurately applied.

Since sprayers are one of the first machines to head to the field each spring (ready with a burndown application to stay ahead of weeds) getting your sprayer into field-ready condition should be a priority. Here are six tips to help get your sprayer field-ready this spring:

1. Circle check

Assuming you’ve followed a fall maintenance regime, servicing the machine before putting it away for the winter, your sprayer should be in good working order. Start with a visual inspection and give it a general walk around with a screw driver to make sure all clamps are tight.

2. Start up the sprayer

Carefully inspect for cracked hoses or leaks by starting up the sprayer and spraying out any ethanol antifreeze that may be in the hoses and checking the pressure. Watch carefully for any drips or leaks, paying close attention to broken or malfunctioning sprayer tips and replace if necessary. Rinse the sprayer with water, checking for any materials that may be stuck inside the booms. Be sure to remove and clean the filter before heading to the field with your first application to avoid any restrictions or buildup.

3. Calibrate for spray volume and accuracy

Proper calibration will set your sprayer (and your fields) up for success. Re-calibrating your sprayer each season can save time and money, and only takes minutes to check for the right application rate and GPS accuracy. Consult your owner’s manual for proper instructions for calibrating the liquid flow to achieve the right rate and make adjustments as necessary. Re-calibrating your system’s GPS at the same time can prevent any unnecessary overlaps or application inaccuracies too. is an excellent Canadian online resource for best practices in safe, efficient and effective spraying, including tips on sprayer rates and calibration.

4. Check the fence row nozzle

Often overlooked, fence row nozzles endure extra wear and tear with exposure to fence rows. Start by checking for any broken, plugged or cracked nozzles, and pay attention to any leaks or drips from these nozzles when inspecting booms.

5. Read (and follow) the label

There’s a reason advisors say ‘always read and follow the label’. An accurate and effective product application relies on a smooth operating sprayer AND following the product label. Be sure to consult product labels for information including rates, boom heights, nozzle-tip patterns and application tips. Following product labels is especially important when managing herbicide tolerant systems, like the Enlist™ Weed Control System where you need to be mindful of products (spraying the right herbicide for the right system) and using the appropriate combination of nozzles and tips. For additional sprayer application information for the Enlist Weed Control System, read the full Product Use Guide.

6. Thoroughly clean between herbicides

Start spring with a clean tank. Herbicides can come into contact with many parts of the sprayer and transfer equipment, so be sure to clean the entire spraying system to prevent potential damage to the next crop. This is especially important for cleaning any dicamba herbicide residue out of a tank before moving into a field with Enlist E3™ soybeans. Enlist E3 soybeans are not tolerant to dicamba herbicide, and severe crop injury can occur.

When it comes to in-season spraying, it’s helpful to remember the importance of daily tank cleanout and equipment maintenance. Cleaning sprayers thoroughly, as soon as possible after spraying, is a good practice to reduce herbicide residue build up in the equipment.

For more information about the importance of proper sprayer cleanout to avoid crop injury, watch this new video featuring Tom Wolf of The video explains why sprayer cleanout is a fundamental part of good spray practice, highlighting areas that are commonly overlooked and how to reduce crop damage with cleanout tips and best practices.

Read Your Tank Cleanout Checklist to Avoid Crop Injury for more tank cleanout tips.

Editor’s note – this article has been updated to include tip 6 -Thoroughly clean between herbicides.