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Spray nozzles 101: All you need to know

In the pursuit of better coverage with less drift, choosing a spray nozzle has become a science.

Field irrigation or chemical distribution looks like a simple process to the passerby. Yet the plastic or metal nozzles, most of which you could fit in the palm of your hand, are precision devices. There’s a lot going on in that little piece of plastic or metal, which helps:

  1. Distribute a liquid in a specific area
  2. Increase liquid surface area
  3. Create impact force for a solid surface

And technology and reach are a continuing trend in agriculture.

Advanced nozzles spray at higher speeds for better coverage. They use less water and incur less drift. Drift refers to the part of what’s sprayed that lands in unintended spots. Gallons per acre (GPA) and gallons per minute (GPM) are key factors in any spraying formula.

How do I interpret the identifiers on the nozzle?
Spray nozzle types break down into three variables:

  • Nozzle type
  • Spray angle
  • Nozzle discharge GPM

On a nozzle tip, you'll find the type and brand on the top row. For example, a Drift Guard Teejet will have "DG TEEJET" printed on it.

The following row contains numbers for spray angle and nozzle discharge GPM. "8005" indicates it broadcasts at an 80-degree angle at .05 GPM.

The last letter identifiers show the tip's material. For example, BR for brass, SS for stainless steel, and so on.

Spray Nozzle tip color reveals the droplet it produces. There also might be a one- or two-letter identification printed on the unit:
Very fine (VF)
ORANGE: Fine (F)
YELLOW: Medium (M)
BLUE: Course (C)
GREEN: Very course (VC)
WHITE: Extremely course (XC)

What types of nozzles are there?
You’ll find four types of spray nozzles: Flat-fan, flood, full cone, and hollow cone. Here’s a breakdown of them:

Creates a tapered-edge, flat spray. It’s used for spraying herbicides. Frequent spray angles, in degrees:
  • 65
  • 73
  • 80
  • 110

Types of flat-fan nozzles:

  • Even
  • Low-pressure
  • Standard
  • Extended-range

With flat-fan nozzles, height plays a significant role in distribution.

It’s used for spraying suspension fertilizers. You can reach the best results when they’re spaced 30-40 inches apart. Their spray pattern is less consistent than flat-fan nozzles.

Usually used for soil-incorporated herbicides. They make larger droplets and reduce drift.

They're primarily used for spraying insecticides. They work on full-leaf coverage well. They create more drift than other options.

What about spray height?
The spray nozzle you select determines the spray height. For example, 110-degree flat-angle nozzles are best at a shorter height than you’d use for 65- or 73-degree nozzles.

Overlap is essential when spraying. The nozzle type and spray height affect overlap, which ensures full coverage in the area.

What about using herbicides, insecticides, or pesticides?
Some are better suited for specific use. Research what you're spraying for local and state regulations. And keep in mind your crop’s wellbeing.

Tips for selecting your chemicals:

  1. Do your research
    Chemicals are crucial to pest management, but they are also toxic and can pose risks to animals, the environment, and humans. Read and understand product label directions.
  2. Be as specific as possible
    Some pesticides affect intended animals or plants only, and this is best. Broad-spectrum chemicals can kill beneficial species in the process. If these chemicals are your only option, consider spot treatments instead.
  3. Have a long-range plan
    Crops have different requirements. They endure disease, insects, and weeds in different ways, too. Consider your plant-back intervals, which vary from crop to crop. This refers to the concentration of the product that’s in the soil. And, the rate at which it declines for safe planting of the next crop.

Turn to Agri Supply for all you need
Agri Supply carries the spray nozzles and chemicals you need. And our professionals bring a good bit of knowledge, too. Come see us as you prep for the hard (and rewarding!) work ahead.

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