Spray tank: 7 precautions you can’t ignore
Like with any agricultural equipment, the spray tank requires special care and good preventive maintenance. After all, those who neglect such responsibilities not only reduce pesticide application efficiency but also put machine operators at risk.
You should know that leaks, wear and incorrect adjustments in the spray tank can generate pesticide waste, increasing operating costs, in addition to contaminating the operator and the environment. Therefore, it is better not to take that risk, right?
With that in mind, we decided to bring you the 7 top precautions you should consider with a spray tank. These are essential measures to ensure the safety of the team, the equipment’s lifespan and its effectiveness in the field.
1. Perform preventive maintenance before the agricultural year starts
It’s a fact: all agricultural equipment must be regularly inspected. In the specific case of the spray tank, the best time to carry out this check is right before the beginning of the agricultural year. As the equipment has probably spent a period of time unused, it is essential to check and make the necessary adjustments and replacement of worn components.
Usually, the equipment manual details what needs to be observed during this preventive maintenance, which is usually very quick. It basically involves routine checks, pressure gauge and spray control tests, in addition to checking moving parts protections.
It is part of agricultural management to schedule preventive maintenance of all equipment and ensure that it is carried out regularly. Without proper care, machinery can fail in the middle of its operation, in addition to presenting risks to the safety of the team and compromising activities that need to be carried out at that moment, and cannot wait for repair or replacement.
2. Never remove safety guards from the equipment
This is a very simple precaution, but it can cause immense damage when not followed. The spray tank comes with several safety protections from the factory, some aimed at those who will work with the machine and others to protect the equipment itself — such as the cardan shaft protection covers. Under no circumstances should these security protections be removed.
Do you have the (incorrect) feeling that there could be some performance gain without these components? Stop right there! Removing protections is not an option. After all, these guards are placed extremely carefully, following fundamental safety standards.
Another similar mistake is attempting to manually repair the spray tank safety guards. If you eventually identify any damage or wear to these protections, it is best to contact the equipment supplier to find out how to obtain genuine replacement parts.
3. Make the correct machine adjustments
There are several adjustments that need to be performed to allow the proper functioning of the spray tank. In this sense, a best practice is to take the opportunity to check all these adjustments and then make the adjustments required by the type of application to be performed whenever the equipment is put into use.
The equipment calibration can be done by the farmer. That’s right: most of the time, you don’t need to look for an expert to handle this kind of simple routine — with certain exceptions.
To explain exactly how to make this adjustment, there is a specific chapter in the product manual, with all the relevant operating instructions. Read carefully, remembering that incorrect calibration can compromise the effectiveness of the pesticide, which will not incorrectly control pests and diseases, reducing crop productivity.
4. Perform regular spray tank cleaning
Cleaning is the most frequent maintenance that needs to be done on the spray tank. Here, the rule is to never leave any remaining spray solution stored in the tank, unless the equipment is to be used again in a short time frame for the application of the same pesticides. If this is not done, the tank can be damaged by corrosion and the nozzles can become clogged, harming later applications.
And the best thing is that it’s not difficult to keep the spray tank cleaning up to date! It can be performed with several specialized products available on the market — the appropriately-named tank cleaners. This is a very basic, but decisive care for the life of the tank and its effectiveness in the field.
5. Follow the agronomic prescription when mixing pesticides
It is possible to mix different pesticides in the spray tank for the simultaneous application of all of them, therefore optimizing the equipment’s potential. But be careful: the mixture must be prepared properly, following the agronomic prescription so as not to run the risk of mixing products that cause reactions capable of reducing its effects or changing its consistency.
To give you an idea, certain mixtures can, for example, change the properties of the products, making them thicker. As a result, the spray tank filters are clogged, blocking the application of pesticides.
In addition, it is also worth noting that it is necessary to shake the pesticides well in the tank, even if there is no mixture. Inefficient agitation can cause poor spraying mixture homogenization, resulting in underdosing or overdosing of the pesticide, which directly interferes with its effectiveness or causes damage to the crop.
6. Look for leaks whenever using the equipment
One of the most common problems that can happen with a spray tank is leaks. As much as they are usually noticed in preventive maintenance at the beginning of the agricultural year, it can happen that, during the use of an object or if an incorrect adjustment is made, a new leak may appear.
The tip in this case is always to check for signs of leaks before each use of the spray tank. You should especially look for leaks in the hoses and connections of the spray circuit, in addition to the pump and mechanical stirrer.
7. Track wear on spray nozzles
The quality of spray nozzles is critical for an efficient and safe application of crop protection products. And it is natural that, due to the usage itself, these parts suffer some kind of wear and tear over time. Therefore, it is necessary to monitor whether the spray nozzles are still in conditions of use, carrying out changes whenever necessary.
It is important to understand that there is no advantage in trying to operate machinery with an already compromised nozzle, as the losses due to product waste will be immense. Not to mention that the irregular application can fail to protect the crop or, in some cases, even damage it.
So, did you enjoy learning about these 7 essential preventative checks to keep your spray tank in full operational use? Take this opportunity to subscribe to our newsletter and stay on top of more news about agriculture and agronomic management!