It’s November! The first of the West Central Ohio Dairy Luncheon Series is only a couple weeks away! That’s right: We meet that third Wednesday – Nov. 21 – at the Pizza Hut in New Bremen for lunch and education! Beginning at 11:30 a.m., lunch is your only cost for this event that will feature Dr. Mark Hardesty talking about Parturition Management. So, be sure to get this on your calendar! Hope to see you there!
OK, I know this time of year can be busy, but with the rain we’ve had … and not being able to get into the fields, maybe this would be a good time to get a bit caught up on those “maintenance chores” that need to be done sometime … Erdal Ozkan, our FABulous Engineering expert in spraying equipment tells us that Properly Winterizing Sprayers Can Help Mitigate Costly Problems Next Spring. Without proper winterizing before the temperature falls below freezing, you could end up with a pump that is cracked and/or not working at its full capacity. He offers some important things you need to do with your sprayer this time of the year:
Rinsing – Make sure the whole sprayer is thoroughly rinsed before storing. This helps to reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination of products applied next spring. Insufficient rinsing may also result in clogged nozzles which makes it extremely difficult to bring them back to their normal operating conditions: Leaving chemical residues in nozzles usually leads to changes in flow rates and spray patterns resulting in uneven distribution of chemicals on the target.
Cleaning – Simply rinsing the system may not be sufficient to get rid of all chemicals which, once again, may lead to cross-contamination problems. It is best to clean and rinse the entire spraying system with cleaning solution. Always check the product label to find out the most recent recommendations on cleaning agents. Cleaning the outside of the sprayer components deserves equal attention: Remove deposits with a bristle brush and then flush the exterior parts of the equipment with water.
Winterizing – To prevent freezing, check to make sure there is no liquid left inside any of the sprayer parts. The pump – the heart of a sprayer – requires special care: Check the operator’s manual to make sure that oil will not damage rubber rollers in a roller pump or rubber parts in a diaphragm pump. If it’s OK, add a small amount of oil, and rotate the pump by hand four or five revolutions to completely coat interior surfaces. If oil is not recommended, pouring one tablespoon of radiator rust inhibitor in the inlet and outlet part of the pump also keeps the pump from corroding. Another alternative is to put automotive antifreeze with rust inhibitor in the pump and other sprayer parts. This also protects against corrosion and prevents freezing in case all the water is not drained. To prevent corrosion, remove nozzle tips and strainers, dry them, and store them in a dry place.
Storage – Find ways to protect your sprayer against the harmful effects of snow, rain, sun, and strong winds. Moisture rusts metal parts. While the sun usually helps reduce moisture in the air, it also causes damage: Ultraviolet light softens and weakens rubber materials such as hoses and tires, and degrades some tank materials. The best protection from the environment is to store sprayers in a dry building. If that is not possible, try covering the sprayer with material that will protect it from sun, rain, and snow. When storing a trailer-type sprayer, put blocks under the frame or axle and reduce tire pressure during storage.
Finally, check the condition of all sprayer parts: Identify the parts that may need to be worked on or replaced. Check the tank and hoses to make sure there are no signs of cracks. Check the painted parts of the sprayer for scratched spots and touch up these areas with paint to eliminate corrosion. Remember to cover openings so that birds don’t make a nest somewhere in your sprayer, and insects, dirt, and other foreign material cannot get into the system.
The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at email@example.com.