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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sprayer Calibration Templates do the Math for You

The Journal of Extension is a publication we use to share ideas for Extension outreach. The Tools of the Trade section in the latest issue contained a report from Ron Patterson, Carbon County Extension Agent with Utah State Cooperative Extension, which I’ve summarized below. Sprayer calibration is a critical step in pesticide application and little math mistakes can make for costly application problems. Let me know if you find these tools useful.
Rick VanVranken

As the 2011 season gets underway, before you know it, you will need to apply pesticides. Sprayer calibration is critical to make sure you are applying the correct amounts of pesticide to the target. Miscalculations can turn a small math problem into a costly misapplication, either in applying too much control material that can potentially damage the crop, or too little chemical that does not provide the needed pest control. Ron Patterson, Carbon County Extension Agent with Utah State Cooperative Extension, created several Excel spreadsheet templates that can do the math for you, helping to make the calibration process more productive, safer, and more environmentally friendly.

Boom Sprayer Calibration

Calculations for boom sprayer calibration are tedious at best. This BoomSprayer Calibration Spreadsheet (this one is for smaller sprayers with 1-20 nozzles) helps take the headache out of calibration calculations. For large boom sprayers (21-120 nozzles) download the LargeBoom Sprayer Calibration Spreadsheet. Click on the appropriate link above to download the spreadsheet and then save it to your own computer for repeated use.
There are five worksheets (click the tab at the bottom of the screen) in each spreadsheet template.
  • The first contains instructions on how to use the spreadsheet.
  • The second and third worksheets are to print so you can record the data collected in the calibration procedure--use the "Blank form oz." worksheet to record ounce collection data or the "Blank form ml." sheet to record metric collection data.
  • The fourth and fifth worksheets are for entering data so the computer can do the calculations for you. Use "Formulas-oz." worksheet for ounce calculations or use the "Formulas-ml." worksheet for metric calculations.  

Hand/Backpack Sprayer Calibration

Hand or backpack sprayers are frequently used for spot spraying. The need for calibrating hand-held sprayers is just as great as for large boom sprayers. Ron Patterson also designed this Excel HandcanSprayer Calibration Spreadsheet template to help with the calculations needed to calibrate and mix chemicals for single-nozzle hand-held sprayers.