The Importance of Equipment Calibration

The Importance of Equipment Calibration

Calibrating your spray equipment is a critical step to take if you are going to spray chemicals.  There are plenty of sources, including several excellent videos on YouTube, that tell you how to calibrate different pieces of equipment.  Therefore we will not get too deep into the actual “how to” of calibration but of the “what for and why.”

First calibrating your equipment is not difficult, but it does take some time and commitment to do it right.  There are simple methods without a lot of mathematical calculations, like the “18 1/2 squared” method for backpack sprayers, and more complicated methods for calibrating boom sprayers.  Regardless of the equipment or method you use the steps of calibration are the same.herbicide_mix

  • Spray a pre-measured area with your equipment
  • Time this with a stop watch
  • Measure how much solution came out of your spray equipment for the same ti
    me period
  • Calculate the Gallons per Acre

Whether you are using a boom sprayer, a hi volume pumper unit, or low volume backpack sprayers, knowing how much liquid is coming out of the nozzle is always important.  Many chemicals are mixed with water and are applied on a per acre basis.  That means that most chemical labels will tell you how much herbicide to apply on a per acre rate, as opposed to a percent of solution or volume by volume.  If you do not calibrate your spray equipment then you can only guess as to how much solution your equipment is putting out.  if that is the case then it is almost certain that the herbicides are either being over or under applied.  In fact, according to the CSU Extension office, a recent study in Nebraska showed that 2/3  of the applicators had application rate errors greater than 5 percent while a similar study North Dakota showed that 60 percent of tested sprayers had calibration errors greater than 10 percent.

herbicide_mix2By under applying an herbicide the applicator is simply wasting time and money.  The application will not achieve the desired results and a re-treatment will be required.  By over applying environmental concerns become prevalent as the chemical mix can leach into the ground water, contaminate soils, or move to non-target plants.

If you have questions about herbicide application and how our equipment is calibrated feel free to call VMC anytime.   At VMC proper herbicide application that is safe for the environment and the public is our top concern.  We chose this business because we are confident that we can provide this service more professionally, safely, and correctly than our competitors.

About the Author

Chris Long
Chris graduated from SIU in 1999 with a bachelor degree in business and a focus in entrepreneurship. He gained 4 years of corporate experience at MH Equipment Company in Peoria, IL, in the fields of accounting and safety and loss, and returned to southern Illinois in 2007 Chris to start his own company, Long Forestry Consultation LLC. In 2012 he returned to SIU to pursue an MBA. It was during this time that he worked at the Small Business Development Center consulting local entrepreneurs, served as President of the Graduate Business Association, was a founding member of the Graduate Saluki Investment Fund, participated in Toastmasters International, and sat on the Graduate Professional Student Council. Today Chris is back at Long Forestry Consultation and has started a second company called VMC – the Vegetation Management Company.

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