Sizing a sprayer

Discussion in 'Grape Growing & Vineyard Forum' started by Stressbaby, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    I'm looking at sprayers for my new vines and I'm struggling a little bit knowing what size to get.

    I have 135 vines. I want to be able to mix it up just once per spray session. Either backpack or tow-behind type is fine. Is there a rule-of-thumb? Is it possible to say that 1 gallon of spray will typically cover [x] vines to the point of runoff?
     
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  2. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    Chemicals almost aways have a data sheet with recommended applications in lbs/acre, or kg/ha for powders, or gal/acre or l/ha for liquids (if not on the bottle, if that bottle is intended for a home gardener, then you can usually find this data online). For example, not all chemicals should be applied to the point of runoff, so it is important to follow the recommended dosage, for each, from the manufacturer.

    Once knowing the above, take the area of your vineyard (which I can not do since I do not know your planting distances), do a little math, and you should have a good estimate of the amount of spray you will have to lug around on your back or behind your tractor/ATV in a trailer.

    For example, one spray I have recommends a spray rate of 800 l per hectare. That would be about 85 gal per acre. If you planted at 6x8 feet, you have about 6,500 sq feet of vineyard, or 0.15 acre. So you would need to spray 13 gals of that particular chemical, which is about 10 vines per gallon (assuming I did the math right ;) ). And that may be less, or more, than what you need for other chemicals. So check the application rates of all the ones you expect to use.

    There are also two types of motorized tow behind options: with a hose and a single hand nozzle, or broadcast sprayers with multiple nozzles or vaporizer (these units may also have a single hand nozzle option for spot work).

    The backpack sprayer (motorized or not) or hand nozzle will give you more fine tuned spraying options. For example, applying narrow or spot applications, like a dormant spray to canes or cordons, is much easier to do with a backpack sprayer or hand nozzle for a relatively small vineyard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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  3. TonyR

    TonyR Junior Member

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    I have a 4 gal backpack sprayer that i use on my 40 vines. For the first 3 to 4 sprays of the season i have extra lelf over that i spray on my fruit trees. As the vines grow and fill out i use the entire 4 gals on my grapes.( always have enough to spray my 20 tomatoe plants also) i would think you would go through at least 8 gal per spray if not a little more. Hope this helps some.
     
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  4. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks. I have studied the application rates, but as you say they are generally #/acre, which doesn't tell you the volume of spray for the application. For example, Captan 50WP as I recall is 4#/acre. I have 0.23 acres at spacing 10 x 8, so 0.9# total. But then for land based applications they say you can use that in 20-200 gallons. I am sure 5 gallons is an insufficient volume; I'm equally sure 50 gallons is too much.

    Thanks. Reassuring that your guide of 10 vines/gallon is aligned with the example from @balatonwine. It sounds as if by the time the vines are mature I would need at least 13 gallon tank...too much for a backpack sprayer...

    Looking at something like this, 13 or 21 gallon size:

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200646314_200646314
    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200644983_200644983
     
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  5. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    Actually, 5 gallons would be fine then. What matters for Captan is that the active ingredient gets distributed across the area equally, regardless with how much water is used. So if it can be applied with just 5 gallons, then you can do so if you can move fast over the area, while slow tractors can spray with more water as they plod along. That is all that large range of water use means. Which is why vines per gallon is not really a good method to estimate coverage needs over lbs or kg per acre/hectare.

    The application rate I used above was for copper oxychloride sulfate, which requires more water to properly apply without burning the leaves. Which shows how different chemicals have different rules about application.

    Unfortunately, those are not really for vineyards or vines. For one thing, the broadcast sprayer is more for spraying downward, (e.g. on grass), and you will need a vertical boom to get up to the trellis. And the droplet size is often too large on these sprayers to properly distribute a lot of chemicals on the vines, so check this as well (may need to get third party nozzles): a vineyard sprayer normally should atomize/mist the spray onto the grapes and leaves for best coverage.

    Do not give up on backpack sprayers yet. While a backpack sprayer such as this:

    http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200495838_200495838

    would still requires two loads to spray 5 gallons, such a sprayer is made to be used in vineyards, has good force to get better penetration and coverage into the foliage and onto grapes (it will really blow the leaves around a lot). However, lugging that thing on your back (full tank and engine) does requires good knees (especially if the vineyard is on a hill). A lot of people around where I live use these backpack sprayers on vineyard lots up to 1/2 acre (above that size, most move to air blast sprayers on a 3 point hitch).

    I ran across this mist sprayer for an ATV at some time in the past, I know nothing about it, but always thought it looked interesting:

    http://mistsprayers.com/index.php/new-mist-sprayers/trail-rated-boss-atv-engine-driven-mist-sprayer
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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  6. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    Gotcha, thanks @balatonwine, I appreciate your advice. Basically I need more power/pressure than those misters provide.

    I've got a pretty flat vineyard, and while my knees aren't great (ACL repair this past February) they are likely good enough for the sprayer you reference. I will take a closer look.
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2017
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  7. Johny99

    Johny99 Junior Member Supporting Member

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    My $.02, but I'd consider pressure and penetration more than volume. It is better to fill a good sprayer twice than once and not get good leaf penetration.
     
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  8. shrewsbury

    shrewsbury Junior Member Supporting Member

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    I guess I do my math a bit differently. I am not spraying my land, I am spraying my plant, thus the coverage of a square acre or foot is not relevant to my spacing, but the size of my plants and how many I have. The bigger the plant the more spray it will require. Maybe I am ignorant and missing something but so far it works for me and I spray way under the alloted yearly totals.
    I am no organic farmer but I use as little as I can of pesticide, herbicides, and fungicides. I have 120 vines that are in their second year and 60 new ones I planted this year, I have 6 rows that are 250 feet long. I use less than 4 gallons per application, so if you add the new plants which require little to no spray, that is over 30 plants per gallon. A gallon for 10 plants seems a bit high to me, but what do I know. Again this is only my second year, but no disease or pests issues. The beetles have come, but I sprayed today and have minimum to no damage.
    I use a two gallon hand sprayer that I fill two of and do the walk, checking each vine and making sure I get all of it sprayed, works for me well and takes less than an hour per application. So an hour every 10 days or so is not that much time for spraying.
     
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  9. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    You are doing it correct.

    Application rate based on area is just an estimate based on standard planting distances. But if one varies from that, then one has to adjust. Much like room heating is based on sq ft, but that assumes a standard ceiling height. If you have cathedral ceilings your heating needs for that room are greater.

    And of course time of year also matters as well. I certainly do not spray 800 l / ha in April, there is simply not enough leaf area then to justify that amount. I only just this week got near the "recommended" dosage. If one can spray less, and not have any significant ill affects, then definitely spray less. Unfortunately, for me, and from painful experience, spraying less than recommended is too risky (i.e. everything goes great with minimum spray, until a sudden storm comes in, and lasts a week -- and I get downy mildew over everything).
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
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  10. grapeman

    grapeman Administrator Administrator

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    Thank all you for sharing in this discussion. I like to see exchanges like this. I could just give you my opinion but that too often ends a conversation so I am just monitoring it to see everyone help out. Good job guys and keep it up.
     
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  11. havlikn

    havlikn Senior Member

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    I have a seven nozzle volume sprayer. I currently run five of the nozzles. To spray 1576 vines I used around 80 gallons to spray the full vineyard. This is at of a speed of 2-3 miles per hour.
     
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  12. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    Some follow up questions/comments if you folks are willing...

    First, this looks like the same Solo model, $200 cheaper.

    I see online a lot of people reference Solo and Stihl as better makes. Stihl has three backpack models:

    SR 200 is the "value-priced" model.
    SR 430 has a much bigger engine but is liquid-only
    SR 450 has same engine as 430 but this one is also a duster.

    Any need for a duster in a vineyard?
    Am I likely to find the SR 200 underpowered?
     
  13. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    Always willing. But of course, it is just my opinion. :h

    Short answer: For your amount of vines, no.

    Long answer: Anything you can do with a duster you can do with a liquid based spray. A duster is good if you have a lot of ground to cover. You can spray more, and cheaper, with dust (such as sulfur for powdery mildew), but only if your application area is large. Yours are not. You do not "need" a duster.


    I have a lot of Stihl products. From shop vacuums to brush cutters, but not a sprayer. Based on that, I can say if you go premium with Stihl you buy a tool that will last, maybe a lifetime. But with the cheaper models you are just buying the name. For example, I had both an "economy" Stihl brush cutter and an off brand brush cutter, valued at about the same price. The Stihl model lasted about 5 years and the engine seized, while the off brand model has lasted now almost 15 years (I just mowed about an acre of land with it this week).

    For your needs, you will use a sprayer about an hour every 10 days for about 5 months. I doubt you need more. In my humble opinion, take the savings in price, and buy a good barrel to age your wine. :h
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017
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  14. VillaVino

    VillaVino Junior

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    That’s just almost exactly what I do for my 1450 vines.
     
  15. LittleBearGameFarm

    LittleBearGameFarm Member

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    I have about the same as the OP with 133 vines. Last year I used a hand pumped Hudson Backpack sprayer and it worked well, just took quite a bit of time and by the end of the year needed a second fill up. I like the two sprayers above and as the vineyard grows, my spray volume will as well. What worries me on both of these is the amount of spray in the air and the operator will basically be right in it. I do wear some overalls and have a cartridge style respirator. What do you guys use when you are spraying? With just the small back pack sprayer, I am able to move around the cloud as the wind shifts but these bigger sprayers may make that more difficult.

    Thanks
     
  16. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    It would depend on what you are spraying and what the product recommends you use for protection. I spray sulfur and copper. So use eye and respiration protection. These chemicals are slightly basic to the skin, but if I wear short sleeves, I just rinse off between tank fills.
     
  17. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    I ended up with a 4 gallon Solo backpack sprayer. Bought it this year when started to see some powdery mildew on some of the plants. When full it is very heavy and that takes some getting used to. It is a ilttle tricky to start, but so far so good.
     
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  18. Bobp

    Bobp Senior Member

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    I've been struggling with sprayers for years. I started with a 4g solo...Then a second one for Safety...Then a third... Fungicide, insecticide, herbicides, marked with a permanent marker....

    I work full time...And sometimes I'm in a bit of a hurry to get set up and spray. Seperate sprayers prevent accidental herbicide burn ECT.

    My biggest concern with the BPS IS The efficiency and effectiveness of my coverage. Pressures are inconsistent. I get tired by halfway through....I'm not spraying as well at the end of the jug as I did when I started...And it can show up later and bite you....As well as contribute to resistance issues...

    I finally graduated to a 25g Electric...And then a 15g Electric too...Built homemade spray bars...And worked to do better and better spray coverage. More consistent ECT.

    I finally went to a PTO pump 55g model. Love it...But it's not exactly what I need...They really don't make exactly what I want... So I'm in the design phase again...
    Don't get me wrong my sprayer works great...But I'm always worried about effective coverage....You know...Did I achieve what I set out to do...Did I prevent, knock back, kill, what ever I was spraying for...
     

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