Spraying weeds out of crops was in its infancy 40 years ago when the likes of Goldacres and other local sprayer manufactures started showing us how to control infestations over a wide area. But it has taken this long for chemical makers to start matching their product lines to the machines that deliver the best results.
So it came to pass that the Bayer team in WA has moved to enhance its knowledge of some of the latest spraying systems. The first chemical company we might add to make the connection between spray application and the machines that make that delivery.
The knowledge from this initial team effort will be used to make sure growers are able to deliver the active ingredients at the correct levels, with the aim to achieve maximum results, at a lower cost base.
Craig White, Customer Advisory Representative and the Leader of Integrated Weed Management in Australia for Bayer, said the past two global conferences on the biggest issues in agriculture, herbicide resistance, had raised the need for a machinery component in the agenda and he considered it critical to remain abreast of new spraying technologies.
“At Bayer, we consider ourselves industry leaders in crop protection and seeds, but we also recognise that it’s important to understand new and effective ways of delivering the active ingredients in our products,’’ Craig said.
Jon Bent with McIntosh Distribution took the Bayer team through trial demonstrations and grower experiences with the Miller Spray-Air system, that allows for more targeted chemical applications through air-assist and air-atomisation technology.
Growers have fingertip control of droplet size and speed of air delivery for any spraying application. They can consistently atomise spray droplets in a range from 200-500 millilitres per minute each nozzle – spaced 25cm apart.
Jon said Spray-Air achieved 90% of spray droplets within the target size range, whereas conventional nozzles achieved about 60% within the selected range, hence contributing significantly to spray drift.
He said the use of lower water volumes with Spray-Air was producing the best spraying results for growers. “The optimum water carrier volume range with Spray-Air is 20-60 litres/ha, depending on spraying speed,’’ Jon aid.
Craig said ensuring active ingredients in products were delivered where required and not drifting away was vital and the drift minimisation and precision delivery to the target achieved with Spray-Air was excellent.
“It’s important that when we deploy pesticide products, that we deploy them absolutely as best as possible and not waste a shot, with herbicide resistance increasing, we need to maximise every opportunity to control weeds.’’ Craig said.
Craig said Jon showed work with Spray-Air where, in some cases, it was possibly reducing the number of spray applications required. “Anything that is efficient and very effective at delivering the molecules is a great step forward for helping manage resistance to pesticides. This is part of an integrated approach and is very positive.’’
He said being at the leading edge, Bayer was keen to develop good relationships with forward thinking machinery companies and expertise to look at spray delivery, as well as to incorporate precision agriculture, drone data and other information to aid decisions.
Regional Sales Manager Broadacre West with Bayer, Craig Pensini, who toured the Miller Spray-Air system with his sales team, said interaction with companies like McIntosh Distribution was very beneficial.
“Our sales representatives are never going to be machinery experts, but this sort of ‘cross pollination’ between ag companies is excellent. It will increase the confidence of the WA Bayer sales representatives, especially when interacting with growers, consultants or agronomists, this will enable our team to speak with an enhanced level of confidence when recommending the Bayer range of products and associated spray systems.’’ Craig said.
Have we seen the end of the ill-informed and outdated theory that machines play no part in chemical product choice. Manufacturers that build machines that deliver chemical applications are all willing to extend their expertise to make sure the ingredients compound are the most effective for growers to run through their machines.