Spraying Equipment Upgrades

Spray Set-Ups for Viticulture

When it comes to spraying, grape growers must defend their vines on two main fronts. Pests and diseases abound and are fought with a variety of pesticides. Weeds are the other enemy and must be countered with herbicides.

Universal vineyard pests include a large range of mites, moths, borers and weevils, while some common diseases found in grape vines include black rot, powdery mildew and cane and leaf spot.

Common set-ups for canopy spraying of pesticides in vineyards include air blast sprayers (either low profile or tower), air shear sprayers and rotary atomiser sprayers.

Air blast sprayers apply low to medium volumes, using droplets sized between 30 and 350 microns. These droplets are directed by the fan’s air stream onto the plant. Air blast sprayers displace the air around the plant with the air from the sprayer.

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How to Upgrade Your Current Spraying Equipment

There have been some major advances in spraying technology in the last few years and if your current gear is looking a bit ‘yesterday’, here are some ways you can upgrade to the latest and greatest spraying innovations.

An automatic rate controller controls your application rate for you by continually monitoring your flow meter and speed sensor and opening your control valve to the required level. That means no wastage.

As its name suggests, an automatic boom height leveller constantly adjusts the height of your spray boom. It utilises either gauge wheels that skip across the ground and relay pressure readings, to which the boom adjusts, or uses ultrasonic sensors, which keep the boom at a preset height regardless of the terrain. This technology has led to a reduction in costly boom damage and also reduces operator fatigue.

The development of the GPS guidance system is probably the biggest advance in spray technology to date. It uses real time data from satellite technology to show you exactly where you have sprayed in a field, thus reducing wasted time and materials. It also allows you to spray in conditions of poor visibility such as dust or low light.

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