Chemical Application Equipment

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The objective of a chemical application program can be summed up with a single sentence: Put the right product on the right target at the right time. To accomplish this objective, good management practices and proper equipment are necessary. In selecting agricultural chemical application equipment, follow these guiding principles:
1. Considering acreage, crops, and labor, select the equipment that will best fit your farming operation.
2. For medium to small farms, select smaller units. Large equipment is impractical on small farms with fields of irregular shape, leading to frequent breakdown and poor application.
3. If feasible, use separate spray equipment for certain types of weed-control chemicals to prevent accidental contamination and crop damage.
4. Remember that some chemical application equipment is designed for specific applications, and some components are not suitable for all jobs. For example, some spray nozzles recommended for insecticide application may not be suitable for herbicides.
5. Select a machine that is convenient to set up, hitch, and operate. Convenient features can help a busy operator complete an application on time.
6. Keep in mind that high-clearance, self-propelled sprayers often cannot be justified on small farms; consider hiring a custom operator if this type of machine is needed.
7. Use the proper pressure for spraying; avoid excessively high pressures. Check the chemical manufacturer’s label for recommendations. You should also check the nozzle manufacturer’s charts to ensure you have the correct droplet size for the pressure and application.
8. Check all adjustments for any type of application equipment carefully. Refer to your operator’s manual for recommended settings. Remember to CALIBRATE!
9. Always wear the proper protective clothing and use other recommended personal protective devices or practices when handling or using agricultural chemicals. 
G. T. Roberson
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service