In a year of skyrocketing input prices, producers are looking for ways to cut expenses where they can to maximize profits.
When it comes to pesticides, is it possible to stretch or keep the product without sacrificing performance and efficacy? In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Canola School, researcher and sprayer guru Tom Wolf shares tips on how growers can conserve pesticides and get the best return on their crop protection investment.
For Wolf, owner of Agrimetrix Research & Training, there are three main ways farmers can conserve pesticides, one being to make sure the sprayer’s plumbing is working properly. This ensures maximum efficiency, reducing any possibility of product loss while it is simply passing through the sprayer.
The second way to conserve spray is for growers to pay close attention to how much product they put in the tank. Do they fill it to the top just to fill the tank? If there is product left over, can it be reused or will valuable chemicals be thrown away and money lost? (The story continues after the video.)
From Wolf’s perspective, effective spraying really comes down to taking the extra time to make sure the proper maintenance is done on the sprayer and also making sure that flow rates are dialed in and refills are governed accordingly. .
Lowering rates is also an option, but Wolf notes that this usually forces growers to invest more time if they want to maintain an effective level of control. For example, the use of lower doses places greater emphasis on accurate scouting and the growth stage of cultures.
Ultimately, pesticide choices must be made on a farm-by-farm basis. While there are guidelines, Wolf says it all boils down to what producers are willing to do, how much time can they afford to spend on the extra steps and calculations, and whether it’s a fair compromise on the dollars they will save. The answers to these questions will be different for each farm and may even change from year to year on the same farm.
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