There are a handful of smartphone and tablet applications that can help navigate through some of the challenges of spraying. Photo Credit: Zachary Larson
When it comes to applying pesticides a lot can go wrong. Aside from accidents and equipment malfunctions, improper calibration, incorrect nozzle selection or math errors at mixing and loading can result in poor pest control, crop injury from over application or wasted product and money. Fortunately, there are a handful of smartphone and tablet applications that can help navigate through some of the challenges of spraying.
In all the products I’ve used in Table 1 I never found a one-size-fits-all app; you must be willing to have a few that do the same function or pick one that fits 90% of your needs. In general I recommend downloading a few apps that do the same function and spend a few minutes playing around with each one to see what is most intuitive to you. Many of these apps are ones that you will use for only a few months out of the year, which is why I avoid apps that require a login, as inevitably you will become logged out and forget your password, or apps that take a lot of time to master. Assume that you will have to re-learn them every year, because that is what will likely happen each spring.
Apps for Calibration and Nozzle Selection
Calibration apps take a lot of the confusion out of readying your sprayer every spring. Clemson’s Calibrate My Sprayer and the University of Illinois’ Sprayer Calibration Calculator allow you to enter target speed, nozzle spacing and application rate to determine the amount to catch for a given sampling period. The Sprayer Calibration Calculator also gives guidance for adjusting sprayer pressure to reach desired rates. The Ag Tools app features a calibration tool out of its list of farm-handy apps and uses inputs of distance traveled, time traveled and output to calculate application rates.
If you’re looking for a new set of nozzles there are a variety of manufacturer-specific apps to ensure that you’re picking the best one for the job. Most use the same inputs of application rate, speed, and desired droplet size and pattern to pick nozzles, so choose apps based on your supplier. TeeJet’s SpraySelect, Greenleaf’s NozzleCalc, HyPro’s SprayIt (AgPhD’s SprayTipsGuide also recommends HyPro nozzles), John Deere’s Nozzle Select, Wilger’s TipWizard and Hardi Nozzles all do similar tasks, with a few even allowing you to select nozzles based on common pesticides.
Apps for Mixing and Loading
A handful of apps are also available for calculating the correct amounts of spray solution volume and pesticide rates for a given acreage. Syngenta’s TankCalc US and DuPont’s TankMix feature simple calculators that determine product amounts, gallons of spray solution in a tank and overall product needs for a given area, with TankCalc providing nozzle recommendations. Clemson’s Mix My Sprayer performs similar tasks although only based rates of product per tank size. FarmLogic’s Tank Mix Calculator is the most fully-featured of the bunch as it allows you to select products from a database for quicker reference and those products are carried over to individual mix lists based on full or partial loads. A more unique app is FS GROWMARK’s FS Adjuvant Selector, which recommends spray adjuvants based on a list of given herbicides. The app also gives rainfast times for many herbicides.
Other Interesting Apps
When selecting products for resistance management there are a few apps out there to help. The HRAC, FRAC and IRAC MoA apps provide modes of action lists the appropriate codes and chemical families of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides respectively. The WSSA’s Take Action App is unique as it profiles common herbicide resistant weeds such as marestail and Palmer amaranth in addition to providing herbicide modes of action. The AgPhD’s Modes of Action is another unique app as it puts herbicide, insecticide and fungicide modes of action all in one place.
Although there are many different weather apps out there, Monsanto’s RRXtend Spray highlights important weather information for spray application decision making including relative humidity, wind speed, and inversion risk, all intended to show drift risk for dicamba products like Engenia or Xtendimax. There is a recordkeeping section as well as up to date information on the Xtendimax label as well. If you are looking for pesticide labels, the Agrain Mobile app is a database of products and allows you to reference most label material or pdfs of the actual labels. Finally, the Univ. of Missouri’s Herbicide Injury app allows you to diagnose herbicide injury by symptom or look at injury photos of given herbicides. Although it will cost you 99 cents, it is one of the more unique products out there. Of course what’s featured here are only some of the tools out there to help growers, as there are many apps that can help with pest id and other problems .
With a few of these apps on your phone or tablet, you should be able to quickly work through some common spraying hang-ups. By making sure that your sprayer is properly calibrated and the correct amounts of products are in the tank you can breathe easier knowing that you have one less thing to worry about.
|Company / Organization||iPhone||iPad||Android|
|Calibrate My Sprayer||Clemson University||x||x||x|
|Sprayer Calibration Calculator||Univ. of Illinois||x||x||x|
|Ag Tools||Noble Research Institute||x||x||x|
|Spray Tips Guide||AgPhD / Hypro||x||x||x|
|Nozzle Select||John Deere||x||x||x|
|Hardi Nozzles(IOS) / HARDI(Android)||Hardi||x||x|
|Mixing and Loading|
|Tank Mix Calculator||FarmLogic||x||x||x|
|Mix My Sprayer||Clemson University||x||x||x|
|FS Adjuvant Selector||GROWMARK||x||x||x|
|Modes of Action||AgPhD||x||x||x|
|Take Action on Weeds||United Soybean Board / Weed Science Society of America||x||x||x|
|HRAC||Herbicide Resistance Action Committee||x||x||x|
|IRAC MoA||Insecticide Resistance Action Committee||x||x||x|
|FRAC MoA||Fungicide Resistance Action Committee||x||x||x|
|Herbicide Injury||Univ. of Missouri||x||x||x|
Table 1. A list of available spraying-related applications. Most can be found be searching their respective names in the iTunes or Google Play Stores. iPhone apps can be run on an iPad, they are just not optimized for the larger screen.