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How High Should a Boom Sprayer Be Off the Ground? & Other Boom Sprayer FAQs Answered

If you’ve ever worked in an agricultural setting, you’ll know how essential boom sprayers are when it comes to distributing chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers across vast expanses of land to ensure your crop yields are plentiful.

With, shopping for boom sprayers isn’t always a straightforward task. Undoubtedly, you’ll have lots of questions that you’ll want to be answered, so you can rest easy knowing you’ve made an informed decision. Worry not, though, because help is at hand. In this post, we’ll provide a helpful guide that will give some important insights into the world of boom sprayers and answer the most frequently asked questions. With this information, you will be in a better position to make the right choice for your agricultural enterprise. 

Understanding the Basics: Get to Know Your Boom Sprayer

Wondering what is the function of the boom sprayer? Boom sprayers are a common feature in agricultural settings and are often used when it comes to administering chemicals on a large-scale farm. Boom sprayers are distinctive with their large arms, known as booms, with nozzles that allow the machine to spray chemicals efficiently over vast expanses of land. 

If you are in two minds about whether investing in a boom sprayer is the right choice for your enterprise, let’s discuss some of the benefits to help you with that decision. When it comes to spraying chemicals, fertiliser and herbicide on a larger scale, there are several reasons farmers opt to use a boom sprayer over more traditional spraying methods. 

You Get Superior Coverage

Let’s begin by stating the obvious. When you are working across large expanses of land, it is vital to use a sprayer that works efficiently. Because boom sprayers operate closer to the ground, it is easier to keep track of the areas that have been sprayed and which areas still need to be tended to. Moreover, it is thanks to the nozzles on the boom sprayer that it can cover a larger area in a shorter space of time.

You Deal With Less Crop Damage

As a farmer, you’ll know that over spraying crops lead to damage. However, when you use a boom sprayer, you’ll be working more efficiently and not spraying the same area twice, thereby reducing the chances of crop damage. Remember that over spraying crops can significantly reduce your yield, which negatively impacts your bottom line. It isn’t just the cash crops that farmers need to worry about, though. Over spraying grass waterways can lead to significant soil erosion, which is not good for future yields either.

 

You Lower Your Chemical Costs

As we’ve already said, conventional spraying is commonly associated with the overapplication of chemicals. In addition to potential crop damage, overapplication is simply a waste of chemical products, which don’t come cheap. This has negative financial consequences for your enterprise’s profits. However, a good-quality boom sprayer will have an automatic section control feature that allows you to address this problem by turning off sections of the boom or individual nozzles when you are working on a part of the field that has already been sprayed. At the end of the day, this minor detail can provide a great return on investment for farmers. 

 

You Get Better Wind Resistance

Boom sprayers are designed to work efficiently, even in adverse weather conditions when winds are strong. They are positioned close to the ground, which means that the presence of the wind has less of an impact on their operations compared to other options, and the chances of chemical drift are lowered. 

Your Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About Boom Sprayers

Having discussed the benefits of boom sprayers over more conventional boomless sprayers, hopefully you are a little closer to deciding on whether investing in this piece of machinery makes sense for your business.

However, you still have a few questions, so let’s look at the most frequently asked questions about boom sprayers to clear things up a little. 

How Do I Use a Boom Sprayer? 

Before you get started with your boom sprayer, read the user manual, as each machine has its own nuances. Though, when using a boom sprayer, you should aim to spray 50 cm (20 inches) above the ground. The space between the nozzles should be about 50 cm (20 inches) as well. A good rule of thumb to follow is having a 1:1 ratio for nozzle placement and spray distribution height. The nozzles should be at an angle of between 30–45 degrees from the vertical; this ensures uniform spray distribution and reduces the chances of spray overlap.

How Do You Calibrate a Boom Sprayer?

To get the most out of your boom sprayer, you’ll need to make sure it is calibrated correctly. Calibrating a boom sprayer is easier than it sounds and usually takes no longer than 30 minutes. There are several ways to calibrate a boom sprayer, so you can choose whichever suits you best.

You need three pieces of equipment to calibrate your boom sprayer; namely, a timing device such as a watch or timer app on your phone, a measuring tape and a jar with mL markings displayed. 

The most straightforward calibration method for the broadest application is as follows. 

  • Fill the sprayer tank with water until it is at least half full.
  • Ensure everything is working correctly and look for any leaks on the boom sprayer.
  • Measure the distance between the nozzles on the boom.
  • Measure the appropriate travel distance in the field based on the nozzle spacing on the boom. The reasonable distances for the different nozzles are roughly:
  • 25 cm spacing — 125 m travel distance
  • 40 cm spacing — 80 m travel distance
  • 50 cm spacing — 60 m travel distance
  • 75 cm spacing — 40 m travel distance

You’ll then need to drive through the measured distance in the field at your average spraying speed, taking note of the travel time in seconds. To ensure you get this correct, repeat the procedure and take an average of the two measurements.

Once you park the boom sprayer, run it at the same pressure level and catch the output from each nozzle in a measuring jar for the travel time required. Then calculate the average nozzle output by adding together the individual works and dividing it by the number of nozzles evaluated. This will give you the final average output in mL equal to the rate of application.

Finally, compare the application rate you’ve calculated with the recommended rate. If the actual rate is 5% above or below the recommended figure, you’ll need to adjust in either spray pressure or travel speed to address this discrepancy.

How High Should a Boom Sprayer Be Off the Ground?

How far off the ground your boom sprayer should be depends on the nozzle fan angle and the type of sprayer you are using. It is essential to make sure the height of the boom sprayer is optimised for the best overlap patterns. With, you also need to think about the risk of chemical drift, which increases with boom sprayer height — the higher the clearance on your sprayer, the greater the risk of drift. If you do have a high-set boom, consider how this may undermine the benefits of certain types of nozzle design. Also, if you have low-drift nozzles on the boom sprayer, you will need to ensure 100% overlap.

How to Clean a Boom Sprayer?

Keeping your boom sprayer clean using the right products plays a significant role when it comes to increasing the longevity of your investment. You should always consult the user manual of your specific boom sprayer, but here is some general advice worth taking note of:

  • Thoroughly drain the sprayer tank and rinse using a pressure washing or garden hose. 
  • Fill the sprayer tank with clean water.
  • Add in the recommended cleaning solution; this is especially important if you are swapping chemicals.
  • If you have an agitator inside your sprayer, operate it for 5–10 minutes to mix the cleaning solution with your water.
  • Let the boom sprayer sit for 8 hours to allow the cleaning solution to remove any residue inside the tank. 
  • In the meantime, clean your nozzles, screens, and strainers by putting them in a bucket of cleaning agents. 
  • Turn your pump on and flush the cleaning solution through your boom and hand wand.
  • Finally, rinse the entire system. When you have put all nozzles back into place, give the entire system a complete rinse to ensure all cleaning solution is flushed through.

How Much Does A Boom Sprayer Cost?

Boom sprayers don’t come cheap, and prices can reach up to $8000 AUD. It is also wise to consider additional expenses that will occur over the lifespan of this piece of equipment, such as maintenance costs, cleaning costs and the costs of replacing parts such as the nozzles. 

Ready to Get Your Boom Sprayer?

Now that we’ve provided you with some insights into boom sprayers, the benefits of using boom sprayers in large-scale agricultural settings and addressed some FAQs, you should be ready to revolutionise the way you apply chemicals to your crops. So, if you’re prepared to take the plunge and buy a boom sprayer, we suggest you head down to Bunyip Equipment. 

The team at Bunyip Equipment are on hand to answer all those critical issues you have and help you find the best boom sprayer and accessories for you. As an Australian family-owned and operated business with a long history in the earthmoving equipment industry, these guys know what they are talking about when it comes to boom sprayers. Moreover, they stock a vast range of top-quality boom sprayers, as well as spare parts and accessories. 

So, what are you waiting for? Shop at Bunyip Equipment today!

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