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We all know too well how important it is to make sure all our rates are correct when seeding or spraying but sometimes we get so busy we will let a few things slide; this is never a good idea as it will always come back to bite us. Improper application rates will cost us money!!! Sometimes to double and triple check things is never a bad idea, it will pay dividends in the long run.
A few tips for this spring.
1- Check every run, whether on a seeder or a sprayer, it is always good to check and calibrate every run (or tip) at least once a year to make sure something is not out of wack. Even one run not seeding the correct rate or not putting out the correct amount of fertilizer can cost you lots!! Buy 100 plastic cups and put one under each run to check to make sure they are all putting out the same amount, once you know they are all putting out the same you can calibrate using just one or two runs. A gram scale is a good way to weigh the product from each run for both dry and liquid products. It is always a good idea to weigh the empty cups before you start to make sure they weigh exactly the same amount.
2- If mixing different products together always make sure they get mixed well (even distribution) and stay mixed well when using. Whether blending dry or liquid products together they must be blended evenly to make sure we are applying the correct rate at all times. If you are adding micros to your ALPINE you must make sure they are mixed well together, I recommend having good agitation (mixing pump) in your ALPINE tank to make sure all micros mix and are kept mixed evenly. A sprayer tank needs good agitation and so does an ALPINE tank when mixing products together.
3- When mixing any products together (whether you are using an injection system or mixing in the same tank) you need to make sure that the products are compatible!!! First check with the manufacturers to make sure they are compatible then do a simple test by mixing a small amount together to make sure there is no compatibility issues. When mixing liquid products, you can do a simple jar test, just add the correct percent of each product then give the jar a shake, then let sit to see what happens. If all looks good in the jar in a few hours you should be good, if you see some separation or jelling there may be a problem.
4- Make sure you use good filters and keep them clean!! It is very important to use the proper mesh filter for the orifice size you are using. If you do not use the proper mesh filter it can let small particles through and plug your orifice or partially plug your orifice. A good filter from your nurse tank to your seeder tank is also a good idea. Make sure you do not have any algae in your tanks, algae and fertilizer is a bad mix!! I also like to use the small screen just in front of the orifice as another line of defence. I can’t stress how important good filtration is, it will save a lot of headaches!!
5- With liquid fertilizers you need to make sure there has been no separation over winter or when product has been stored for long periods of time. Sometimes with extreme cold some fertilizers can have some separation and they will need to be mixed prior to using. This is very important, if you do not do this you can have different parts of your tank having different concentrations of product, therefore very different application rates even if your equipment is calibrated properly. You can pump the product around the tank to mix or you can apply low pressure air to bubble the product to mix. Both are effective but the air bubbling seems to be quicker and do a better job.
Just a few tips to help you this spring. I hope you all have a great season in 2016.