How to Spray Your Crop and Save Money at the Same Time

Jason Davis, application technologist with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, explores agricultural application and explains how a few simple improvements can increase profitability.

Jason and his team have realized many of the issues with applications across the state have less to do with the chemistry that’s applied and more with how the chemistry’s handled and applied. Whether it’s the equipment, application variables, or pressures in each of the different types of applicator systems, these issues have been fairly simple to correct, primarily through education and demonstration on use of the new technology. That’s what Jason and his team are doing, thanks to funding from the Arkansas Soybean Checkoff.

Jason says the concept is simple, “The physics are the same, the pressures are different.”

Overuse of pesticides have caused weed resistance in the Delta, and farmers are looking for new chemistries to combat old pests. Part of the weed resistance is due to poor efficacy of the chemicals when they are applied, which comes back to application error. If a producer wants to have sustainable systems for the long term using the appropriate use of pesticides, the best way is to make current chemistries and treat them properly. In the short term, the goal of applications is to target insects, weeds or pathogens, and eliminate them when they are pests. With this program, Jason and his team work to try to help the producer balance drift control with coverage for economic reasons and get their products to work at their best.

The pressures producers face are narrow windows of spray times. The times of day and condition of the soil all indicate the best times to spray. Some producers have thousands of acres to cover, so the limited time they have causes them to travel as fast as possible to put out as little water as possible, which means less fill times and increased use of a tank. This sets a trend to push chemistries to their limits both biologically and chemically. This program examines profitably by doing a better job instead of applying chemicals faster.