FSOOTY Winner gives view on pre-em application trials
As a Spray Operator I believe it’s very important to keep up to date with the on-going spray application methods. I’ve been taking a keen interest in new trials for pre-emergence herbicide application, and looking at the implications for Go Low; Go Slow; Get Covered!
I’ve always believed in keeping my speed down anyway, which leads to better boom stability and hence less drift.
Water rates have been a big talking point this year in trials for better control of grass weeds in pre-emergence applications. It’s possibly especially so in a dry season, like last year, so I will be implementing a 200 l/ha approach this autumn, typically using my standard configuration of 3D nozzles - which gave 98% control in the trials.
That compared very favourably to 55% control with the same nozzles at 100l/ha - so 200 l/ha over 100 l/ha seems to becoming the more important for pre-emergence applications, certainly on highly infested blackgrass fields.
No one likes adding more water, but if it’s giving a better control the loss of output can be made up elsewhere. There’s ways I’ve looked at to save minutes and increase output per day, including bowsers, tank mixing fill up stations, extra water tank sites and better organised chemical stores, I've also fitted LED lights to my boom which helps for at least finishing a tank in the dark if needed.
90% Nozzle performance
I was pleasantly surprised at the performance of 90% drift reduction nozzles in these trials, where they gave 97% control at 200 l/ha, which is very encouraging as in the future I can see these type of nozzles being standard for some chemicals, if not them all.
These 90% nozzles will also help operators stick within the legislation for the current LERAP buffer zones.
Stuart Woods Profile
Stuart Woods has been the spray operator for the arable acreage of GH Dean in Kent for nearly 10 years, having worked on the farm for 16 years. He recently won the UK Farm Spray Operator Of The Year for 2017, awarded at The Cereals Event. The farm covers close to 1200ha of combinable crops that are set in a five year rotation, including winter OSR; winter wheat, peas, beans, spring barley and, for the first time this year, 20 ha of Soya beans.
The farm is several years into strip drilling and fully RTK on all machines, which led to implementing a 10 metre controlled traffic system.
He sprays with a Bateman RB55, which was upgraded from the RB35 three years ago for the extra 1000 litre tank capacity to help with workload and timings.
Stuart has always been from a farming background - growing up on a mixed family farm in Perthshire and including 18 months in Australia working on many different places, which included two combine harvests and experience on cotton, sorghum and sugar cane plantations.