During a recent field technology day with Pacific Northwest growers we focused on helping growers to manage their minimum till operation as it changes throughout the growing season. Growers asked us questions like:
What tool can help me to manage pesticide application and input costs as the needs of my crop change?
While we can’t predict the weather, pests’ activity, or the price to reduce their strain on next year’s crop, we can unlock spraying technology to improve any operation’s agronomy.
Spraying technology unlock precise pesticide applications to change crop yields. These closed, or spot sprayer systems, open the door to a broader spectrum of pesticides so we can benefit from minimum tillage’s improved yields even when other environmental factors are out of our control.
While some of these technologies may require a larger financial investment than others, in the Northwest, it is important to understand spraying technology’s agronomic benefits. Consider the technologies demonstrated and their effects.
While minimal tillage requires growers to apply pesticides more frequently, that practice reduces fuel usage and soil erosion while improving water penetration and soil health. Spot sprayers, such as the Weed-It or the John Deere See and Spray, help us to safeguard soil by determining usage based on field conditions, not just conventional wisdom or someone else’s research results.
Spot sprayer systems use computer vision and machine learning to efficiently identify weeds and apply pesticides. A spot sprayer reduces pesticide waste by only applying the needed amount.
Spot sprayers also allow us to change their mode of action. Pesticides’ new mode of action can increase the price per ounce of product, and the total amount applied can increase when using a broadcast sprayer. To keep the price per acre alike to previous years, use a spot spraying system to change pesticide modes of action without increasing the cost per acre. By strategically applying pesticides and varying its mode of action, growers can even reduce pesticide resistance over longer periods.
Next, consider your spraying operation’s efficiency and safety when mixing and applying our pesticides. Variable rates for spraying move from a standard gallon per acre to something more complicated, requiring the need to mix partial loads more often.
A sprayer tender system like, SurePoint QuickDraw Spray Tender Mixing System, utilizes a recipe to set variable load size mixing and precise measurement without human error or incorrect calculations.
As we change the mode of action, we increase the risk of using chemicals with higher toxicity traits. While there are many parts of the farm landscape - soil, water, air, plants and animals – we must consider one other major factor: our time. Technology like SurePoint Quickdraw Tender Mixing System can reduce the time growers need to mix, precisely fill, and load pesticides into their direct seed environment and minimize exposure risk.
With these spraying technologies, we can improve soil and better manage our resources even as we adjust to the needs of minimum-till environments.
Interested in an update about planting season in the Northwest? Check out this recent Agriculture Technology Podcast episode.