UACES Facebook Keeping herbicide sprayers ready during winter time
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Keeping herbicide sprayers ready during winter time

By Emily Thompson

FastFacts:

  • Herbicide sprayers can be costly, but a good investment
  • Rinse and drain tank and booms after each use
  • Replacement parts can help with better herbicide application

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Good winter maintenance practices for herbicide sprayers help protect hefty investments and make sure the equipment is ready for spring.

Nozzles on boom sprayer
MAINTENANCE -- Replace worn sprayer nozzles to ensure efficient herbicide applications. (UA System Division of Agriculture photo by Dirk Philipp)

Herbicide sprayers help keep weeds at bay and pastures healthy, making them one of the most powerful tools in a livestock producer’s arsenal. 

They can come with a hefty price tag, but herbicide sprayers are a good investment, said Dirk Philipp, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture associate professor of forages.

“A pulled sprayer with a roughly 300-gallon capacity may cost around $5,000, but this is money well invested given its versatility,” Philipp said. “This type of sprayer can be equipped differently.

“Typically, these sprayers come with booms to either side that have nozzles in addition to a single center nozzle for broadcast spraying,” Philipp said, “Sprayers at this price range do not come with GPS, but a foam marker setup can be purchased and fitted on to the sprayer.”

Sprayers are used only a few times a year when herbicides are needed, and these herbicides require a lot of liquid during application. This can have adverse effects on sprayers if they are not properly maintained, Philipp said.

Philipp gives his advice below on how to properly care for herbicide sprayers to protect your investment.

  • Rinse and drain tank and booms after each use.“Don’t leave any chemicals in it for extended periods of time,” Philipp said. “Many chemicals are corrosive, so rinsing the entire tank, system and pumps after each usage is mandatory.” Find a part of your property where it is safe to clean the sprayer and rinse and drain the tank and booms.
  • Be cautious when mixing herbicides.What each herbicide can be mixed with is specified on the label, Philipp said. Thoroughly rinsing the sprayer will also ensure that dangerous or incompatible chemicals are not accidently mixed the next time it is used.
  • Check to see if repairs are needed.Before using the sprayer, be sure to check for leaks and broken nozzles that need to be replaced. Also, check to see if replacing original parts with newer or higher quality ones will help provide better herbicide application. “There are nozzles on the market that minimize drift,” Philipp said. “It pays off to experiment a bit with replacement parts that are not too expensive.”
  • Prepare your sprayer for the winter.Sprayers are most often used during spring and fall, when weeds are a bigger problem, and go unused during winter. Preparing the sprayer for winter is key in making sure it’s ready to go again come spring. “Be extra cautious with remaining liquid,” Philipp said. “Rinse and drain everything before storing the sprayer away.” Maintain tire pressure at all times to keep the tires in working order and prevent the rubber from cracking. Be sure to pay attention to all plastic parts on the sprayer as they can burst quickly from even a light frost, Philipp said.

For more information about herbicide sprayers and maintenance in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu. Follow us on Twitter at @UAEX_edu.

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. 

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact 479-575-4607 as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2126
mhightower@uaex.edu

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