4 Ways to Minimize Spray Drift

FBN Network

Jun 01, 2023

When spraying, farmers have a responsibility to ensure chemicals remain in the target area for which they’re intended rather than drifting over to other farmers’ fields nearby. Luckily, there are a few strategies you can employ to minimize spray drift, improve crop yield and keep your neighbours happy. 

1. Follow Label Instructions 

It is critical to read and adhere to label instructions for all chemicals you plan to spray. Confirm all spray applicators with whom you’re working are fully trained and accredited to ensure safety compliance. 

[RELATED: Do This Before You Step Foot in the Sprayer]

2. Monitor Weather Conditions 

Monitor weather forecasts before, during and after spraying to ensure proper conditions for chemical spray application. 

High temperatures can cause the spray to evaporate too quickly, while low temperatures can cause the spray to dry more slowly, leading to reduced efficacy. 

High humidity levels can lead spray droplets to absorb moisture from the air, which can cause them to enlarge and grow heavier, thus reducing coverage and increasing drift. Conversely, low humidity levels make spray droplets evaporate too quickly, reducing the amount of active ingredient that successfully reaches the crop target. 

Finally, high winds can cause spray droplets to drift away from the target area, leading to reduced coverage and increased risk of off-target damage, while low winds can cause the spray to fall short of the target area, leading to reduced efficacy. 

Weather conditions should be consistent to ensure maximum efficacy; avoiding extreme winds, temperatures, or humidity levels can reduce drift and improve application efficacy. 

[RELATED: 6 Tips for Spraying in Warm Weather]

3. Use the Right Spray Nozzles

Before spraying, check to ensure your selected nozzles meet your ag chem label requirements. Simply changing nozzles can be an easy way to reduce drift and improve spray results. Before making your nozzle selection, ask yourself: 

  • Will these nozzles handle the desired water rate?

  • Will these nozzles produce desired spray quality at the intended speed and pressure?

  • Is the spray quality produced appropriate for my selected ag chem product’s mode of action? 

Keep in mind that bigger drops are less moveable through the air and less likely to evaporate. 

4. Consider Your Speed

Intentionally and thoughtfully setting your sprayer speed can dramatically improve your spraying efficiency and impact. 

Moving too slowly can cause over-application of the spray, leading to increased ag chem product crop damage risk. Slow spraying can also cause the spray to drip, resulting in uneven spray coverage and reduced efficacy with your crop. 

Moving too quickly, on the other hand, can cause an erratic spray pattern and reduce spraying efficiency. Higher speed spraying can also make it difficult to maintain proper boom height, which can lead to spray droplets drifting off-target.

[RELATED: Why Canadian Growers Should Spray Herbicide When Late Seeding Occurs]

How to Spray in Challenging Conditions 

When conditions are less than ideal but you still need to move forward with spraying, several products are available to help mitigate an otherwise challenging spray situation.

Falcon® is a penetrating surfactant similar to LI700®. A non-ionic surfactant, pH adjuster, and deposition aid, Falcon® helps reduce spray drift and ensures product is more effectively applied on target. Often used with Smoke® 540 to optimize glyphosate application, Falcon® concentrates the droplets into a less driftable, more uniform droplet size, thus enhancing on target retention. By acting as a spreader sticker, it helps maximize herbicide performance. It is also registered as a non-ionic surfactant that can be used with FBN Diquat 240 SN, or Elegant 10% EC Herbicide.

Accu-Spray® is a drift control and deposition aid similar to Valid® or Interlock®. Accu-Spray® also includes an anti-foaming agent to aid in tank mixing. By creating more uniform, less driftable droplets, it reduces off target spray drift and improves retention for more effective weed control. Accu-Spray® is well suited for use with FBN Glufosinate Ammonium, but can be used with any herbicides that do not require a surfactant to be added.

By enhancing herbicide efficacy as well as reducing spray drift, these products help make herbicide application more manageable.

Stock Up for Spraying Season with FBN Direct®

FBN Direct offers a wide range of products to support your upcoming spraying needs. Learn more by exploring the crop protection section or use the interactive Acre Pack tool to customize your ag chem product volumes to your specific needs. 

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FBN Network

Jun 01, 2023