Graduate Student project identifies effective sprayer cleanout procedures
While new agronomic traits such as dicamba-tolerant soybeans bring benefits to growers, they also bring new challenges in judicious care.
One such challenge is making sure that sprayers used to apply dicamba to tolerant crops can also be used on other fields without causing damage to nontolerant plants. With that concern in mind, Jason Weirich, MFA Incorporated director of agronomy, teamed up with University of Missouri’s Reid Smeda, professor of weed science, and graduate student Andy Luke to determine the most effective procedure for cleaning out sprayer tanks between applications.
“With MFA’s footprint, we have several hundred sprayers covering over a million acres across our geography,” Weirich said. “Just a small amount of dicamba left in the tank can cause damage to nontolerant crops. We needed assurance we were doing proper tank cleanout procedures for our custom application rigs.”
The two-year project confirmed that the commonly recommended practice of triple-rinsing a sprayer is critical and that using a commercial cleaning agent such as Cleanse or Erase resulted in the least amount of dicamba left in the tank.
“Based on the data, we approve of this procedure: After spraying, rinse with water and a commercial cleaner, properly circulate it through the system and let it sit one hour,” Smeda said. “Then perform two additional rinses with water. If you do this, we believe you have a sprayer that’s been properly prepared to go spray other fields. What we’ve been saying is that ‘dilution is the solution’ to avoiding potential problems.”
Weirich said this recommendation will now be standard procedure for MFA.
“I’m happy with the results of the study, although I was hoping for an easier process,” he said. “The main thing is that we are doing a good thing for our customers.”
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