Monday, April 24, 2017

Cleaning and Rinsing Your Spray Equipment

Jesse Fulbright, MSU Liberty County Extension

Spray equipment plays an important part in crop production.  I want to give you a few practical suggestions this week about how to keep your spray equipment in good working order and at the same time, protect your crops from harmful spray residue from improper sprayer maintenance.
Before you begin cleaning your sprayer, be sure to review the label of the pesticides that you’ve applied.  The label will tell you how to properly dispose of residual product, provide any special cleaning instructions, recommend decontaminating products and outline the personal protective equipment you need to clean your sprayer.

The goal of rinsing is to remove any concentrated areas of the product that might still be in or on the sprayer.  Cleaning spray equipment involves circulating water through the whole system and then applying it to a site that is listed on the pesticide label.  Several rinses using up to 10% of the spray tank capacity are better than merely filling the tank once with clean water.  Select a location where the rinsate will not contaminate habitat or create hazards to humans or animals.  Preferably, the area should be impervious to water and have a wash rack or cement apron.  If you don’t have anything such as that, please be responsible with where the rinsate goes, such as a site where the products are to be used originally.  Along those same lines, when draining the tank, don’t just open the valves and let it pour onto the ground.  However, you can add larger volume nozzle tips for a faster and legal method to dispose of sprayer rinsate.

The outside of the sprayer should be washed too.  For this purpose, applicators are encouraged to have a source of water on the sprayer to rinse down the sprayer in the field on a regular basis.  Again, when rinsing the sprayer, do not create hazards that might negatively affect wildlife or humans.
To learn more about sprayer cleaning contact your local county Extension office for the MontGuide titled, “Maintenance, Cleaning and Storage of Ground Sprayers.”

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