“Ultimately, the true test of the usefulness of the tool will be the feedback offered by producers”
Anew tool to help farmers get the best nozzle performance out of their crop sprayers is now in the test stage. Farmers are being invited to check out the AgTech Nozzle Selector and provide input.
The tool is the result of 15 years of nozzle resaearch conducted by the AgTech Centre. As part of Alberta Agriculture, the Centre is dedicated to agricultural technology research with a particular emphasis in recent years on economic, environmental and social sustainability. That research includes extensive work on crop spraying systems.
“As more and more sprayer nozzles hit the market in recent years and AgTech’s research grew more detailed, there was a need to have all this data at our researchers fingertips,” says Brian Storozynsky, AgTech project manager and lead on the Nozzle Selector project. That was important both to analyze data as part of the ongoing research process and to be able to answer producers questions quickly and efficiently when the phones started ringing each spring.
The AgTech Nozzle Selector was built as a research tool to accomplish this, he says. “Once it was developed it was a logical extension to put it right into producers’ hands, so the design was adjusted to accommodate that.”
The producer tool is designed around a visual approach, he adds.
“Our experience at trade shows, tours and demos showed the interest in seeing the nozzle and its spray droplets. Many nozzle catalogues show a lot of coloured tables indicating nozzle size and spray quality, but if you have never seen droplets from instruments it is difficult to visualize spray quality or droplet density. Density is key these days because of the different nozzle types and orientation.”
The tool is not targeted so much to make specific recommendations as it is to help producers with general information that lets them decide if an approach is right or wrong for their operation, says Storozynsky. The selector is based on AgTech’s research methodologies and data and is simply another tool to help producers make decisions.
Ultimately, the true test of the usefulness of the tool will be the feedback offered by producers, says Storozynsky, and the AgTech Centre is asking for their input. To provide an overview of the selector, the Centre has worked with Canada Sprayer Guide, a web-based education resource on spraying technology and innovation, to produce a special report on the nozzle selector.
Producers can access that report www.CanadaSprayerGuide.com.Producers accessing the report are encouraged to provide their comments on the tool. If they wish, they can also sign up to test drive the initial version of the selector online when it is launched by providing their name and e-mail address to Brian Storozynsky at the AgTech Centre [email protected],(403) 329-1212 (toll-free on the RITE line in Alberta).