What’s Your Sprayer Setup: Best Practices to Maximize Successful Farming in Winter
I’m sure your sprayer was working very hard during the growing season, so it’s time to give it the rest it deserves for the winter. But before you keep the equipment and store it properly, there are a few maintenance tips to follow so it can work well when you’re ready to use it in the spring.
But how exactly can you do that? Read on as I show you the best practices to prepare your equipment for winter storage so you won’t have to worry about it when the growing season begins again.
How to Prepare Your Equipment for the Winter
It’s important to check your sprayer before the winter season and storage, as this will help you protect your investment from damage from frost and its freezing temperatures. This is because frost and/or ice may damage parts that aren’t common, which ends up being costly and difficult to replace, along with wasting time trying to repair it.
With all this in mind, here are a few tips to follow to protect your sprayer setup this winter:
1. Clean and Double Check the Exteriors
The machine’s body needs to be washed thoroughly. Afterward, inspect the unit for any cracks or hidden damage from usage, leaks, or anything else that needs to be repaired for the next season. Washing your sprayer setup is important, as this can help you inspect the unit better, and it can help with its performance.
You can do this by removing compacted deposits using a bristle brush, then flushing the exterior parts with water. After that, wash the unit’s exterior in a field away from any ditches and water sources, or on a specially-constructed concrete rinse pad with sumps. Do NOT forget to cover any openings so animals won’t build nests on the sprayer, and so many insects and debris won’t get in the sprayer’s system.
If you see corrosion or rust, then it needs to be cleaned and repaired, which prevents the weakening of the unit’s structures and leaks. It’s best to repair issues once it’s found so you are more prepared next time.
2. Clean the Sprayer’s Cab
The sprayer’s cab is often overlooked but still requires as much attention as any other part of your sprayer.
Check out the sprayer’s cab and clean it out by scrubbing the floor liner and windows. After that, inspect the air conditioning filters.
You need to clean the cabs from any food and edible materials so insects and rodents won’t move in, ruining the interiors and chewing through any insulation and wirings. You can use mothballs or traps to deter such pests.
3. Flush Your System
Before you store your sprayer, make sure that you rinse its entire system carefully. If your sprayer isn’t rinsed after every use, especially after spraying season is done, it might develop problems, including cross-contamination or clogged nozzles.
If the nozzles become clogged, it would be tough to bring them back to its operating conditions compared to when they were clean. Furthermore, leaving chemical residue on your nozzles would lead to flow rate and spray pattern changes, resulting in uneven chemical distribution.
You shouldn’t only drain the system, as airlocks and traps would prevent liquid from draining. Rinse its interior based on the manufacturer’s instructions, cleaning out and rinsing the plumbing system. I also recommend using RV antifreeze and run it through the pump and plumbing system for protection.
4. Go Under the Cover
Find ways to protect the sprayer against the negative effects of various weather conditions, such as the snow, sun, rain, strong winds, among other things. If exposed to moisture in the air, it can rust metal parts of your unprotected equipment, especially in sprayers that have a lot of hoses, rubber gaskets, and more. Furthermore, the sun can also cause damage from its UV rays, softening and weakening rubber and tank materials.
That’s why it’s important to store your sprayer indoors and in a dry area. If this isn’t an option, then place a cover on the sprayer, place blocks under its frame or axle, and reduce its tire pressure.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you have rapid spray tanks, hoses, screens, among other farming equipment, it’s crucial to keep them working excellently. That means you’ll need to maintain them well, even if you aren’t using them. Not to worry, maintenance for winter storage is actually pretty easy and will pay off in the long run.
I hope that these practices to maximize winter farming with maintenance tips and equipment preparation helped you out. Don’t wait any longer and follow these tips to prepare ahead, so you won’t risk damaging your farm equipment.