With all due respect to Bob Dylan, the answer, my friend, can’t be, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” not when the question deals with the millions of dollars spent each year on chemical control products to keep golf course turf and foliage robust and healthy.
According to information published by the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), nearly 50 percent of all golf courses spend more than $100,000 per year on fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides. Another 25 percent spend between $50,000 and $100,000 annually on these essential chemicals.
Golf courses can ill afford waste, misuse, improper mixing, spotty applications, drift or overspray when even small losses by percentage of volume add up to big dollars. Ryan Beauchamp, Turf Specialist for Syngenta Crop Protection Canada, has stated, “The reality is that only 55 percent of a spray product’s success is actually based on the product being applied. The balance is affected by other factors that include nozzle selection, sprayer calibration and application timing, to name a few.”
Beauchamp even goes so far as to remind golf course superintendents that a chemical’s point of greatest effectiveness is, ironically, when that chemical is still contained in the bottle. Recognizing that golf courses have little margin for error, the Golf Course Trades has compile d a list of resources to help superintendents, range owners and maintenance crews with the challenges of effective and efficient spray application.
ITB Co., Inc. /Birchmeier
Birchmeier is a Swiss-owned, Swiss-based manufacturer of high quality backpack, compressed air and specialty sprayers, foamers, dispensers, spreaders and related accessories. Distributed internationally, Birchmeier products are available in the U.S. and North America through, ITB Co., Incorporated.
Located in the heart of the bluegrass, near Lexington, Kentucky, ITB Co. is a family owned business established by Al Royster in 1995. Collectively, the ITB team has more than a century of experience in helping turf professionals and others choose the best spray equipment for their needs. Al explained that he and his wife created ITB, an acronym standing for “It’s The Best,” to represent the excellence of product and service for which Birchmeier products have long been known.
With a company history dating to 1876, Birchmeier has achieved many historic firsts in the development and production of chemical sprayers including the invention of the very first backpack sprayer in 1892. In 1929, the company sold its first motorized sprayer, and in 1949, it introduced the world’s first backpack mist blower.
By 1950, the company had added the Bimoto motorized piston pump, spray booms and the patented Senior backpack sprayer to its line of products. Two years later, Birchmeier began selling self-propelled four-wheel sprayers.
Over the years, Birchmeier has been defined by its innovative approach to the changing needs of agronomy and turf managers. In the 1970s, Birchmeier expanded its product line to include acid, alkali and solvent-resistant sprayers and foamers.
In 2013, Birchmeier unveiled another world first: the industry’s first rechargeable backpack sprayer with electronic pressure control. With the REC 15, functionality (including constant pressure, on/off, pump protection functions and battery charge state,) is monitored and controlled by the electronics.
Notable features of the REC 15 include:
• Re-defined ergonomics
• Delivery of a consistent spray pattern through the electronics
• Lateral hose outlet
• Click belt system
• Battery that can last through nine hours of continuous spraying
• Removable battery that can be recharged in one hour
All Birchmeier products are developed and manufactured in the company’s plant in Stetten AG, Switzerland. Find out more at www.birchmeier.com.
Greenleaf Technologies, Inc.
Greenleaf Technologies, located in Covington, Louisiana, was established in 1985 as a distributor of agricultural spray nozzles and accessories. Focused on the science of targeted and effective spray delivery, Greenleaf Technologies uses optimized nozzle design and functionality, paired with correct nozzle selection, to help golf course maintenance staffs improve efficiency and control in spray applications.
Although some turf managers may underrate the importance of nozzle selection, in fact, within the spray process are inherent challenges. An extended range, flat fan nozzle sprays uniformly but can result in relatively fine, drift-prone droplets, while wide-angle flood nozzles create less drift but may provide unsatisfactory coverage.
Responding to these problems, in 1995, Greenleaf Technologies introduced the TurboDrop, a two-piece, modular design, air induction nozzle that delivers both penetration and drift control even when used in adverse conditions. The patented TurboDrop nozzle helps golf course crews better control uniformity of coverage, runoff and drift, making the TurboDrop a popular choice for self-propelled sprayers.
To understand how the TurboDrop works, think back to physics class and the study of Bernoulli’s principle, which most people recognize as the reason the airfoil shape of an aircraft wing creates lift. Simplified, Bernoulli’s principle states that as a fluid’s velocity increases, its pressure decreases. In the TurboDrop nozzle, the creation of a low-pressure area pulls air into the nozzle where the air mixes with the liquid chemical to be sprayed, thereby creating large air-filled droplets.
Unlike large liquid-filled droplets, which have a tendency to drip off the surface onto which they are sprayed, air-filled droplets typically spread out or collapse on the target surface. And because air-filled droplets are sprayed at a higher saturation of droplets as compared to liquid-filled droplets, the result is a greater number of drops on each surface sprayed.
Today, Greenleaf Technologies continues its refinement in nozzle design, including its 2011 launch of the TurboDrop Asymmetric DualFan. Offering two different angles created by the dual fan design (or four total angles if alternated on a boom), the TurboDrop Asymmetric DualFan creates a spray canopy designed with maximum coverage and penetration in mind. In effect, each surface is sprayed twice in a single pass, targeted from an oblique angle that better covers the intended vertical grass leaf blade.
To learn more about these and other Greenleaf Technologies products and services, visit www.GreenleafGolf.com.
Founded in 2009 by experienced professionals who saw the need for better products and services in the spray market, Frost Inc., is headquartered in Saint Croix Falls, Wisconsin. The company’s U.S.A heartland location makes shipping nationwide quick and convenient. Frost Inc. specializes in spray technology products and supplies a comprehensive selection of pumps, sprayers, nozzles, tanks and related accessories along with anti-ice equipment and bunker pumps.
Ken Rost of Frost Inc. explained, “At Frost, we understand that one sprayer doesn’t fit everyone’s needs. That’s why we listen carefully to our clients, help them overcome hurdles to their success and then recommend the optimal product for each client’s needs. We specialize in customized equipment to fit our clients’ requirements or to improve their existing equipment to maximize its performance.”
Among the products available through Frost Inc. are the Ultimix Chemical Pre-mix station and the Slectron GPS nozzle control system.
The Ultimix offers one of the safest and most thorough ways to mix even difficult-to-dissolve granular chemicals. The pre-mix station agitates mixtures for thorough dissolution before loading into a sprayer. The Ultimix, which features the CleanLoad system by Hypro, is available with either a 100- or 135-gallon agitation tank and includes a container rinse system, dual agitators, a 12-foot transfer hose with gallon counter, stainless steel construction, quiet operation, a 110 volt electric centrifugal pump and heavy duty castors for easy storage. Premixing multiple batches of chemicals eliminates the delay of stopping to mix again during the spraying process.
Developed by the Italian company, ARAG, a worldwide leader in spray technology, the Selectron system was the first GPS guidance system available for all sprayers to provide spray control at each individual nozzle combined with dual nozzle selectrons for variable rate spray flow. The Bravo 400s features CAN-BUS communication technology, local field accuracy within two inches, functionality without the need for prescription maps, WAAS and DGPS for error correction, optional available OmniSTAR and RTK error correction, adjustable overlap and advanced off/on, easy on-screen guidance, boundary exclusion area option and USB ports and SC card slots for data transfer.
Learn more about all of Frost, Inc.’s products and services at www. frostserv.com.
Rogers Sprayers (RSI), based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, manufactures the patented Windfoil covered spray boom. Marketed for nearly 30 years, Windfoil is a recognized leader in equipment for spray drift containment. Rogers Sprayers’ current products for golf course use include.
- GF11 Series Ultimate Rear Mounted Boom System, designed to fit virtually any sprayer
- SMA50E & 100USG / BK10&12’ Series Boom Kit, designed for smaller golf courses, with 10 & 12’ removable covers
- WG/FG Series Walk Behind Hose Fed Sprayer, ideal for use on golf greens
- WE/FE Series Walk Behind Electric Sprayer, a multipurpose covered sprayer
- FY Series Farmyard & Acreage, Heavy Duty Farmyarder for use with a golf cart, ATV, mower or tractor
- FM3500/F116 Series Front Mounted Sprayer, suitable for attachment to most front mount mowers
- ETT Series Farmyard & Acreage Light Duty Farmyarder, useful for small properties and landscapers
- TM Series tractor mounted sprayer, ideal for tree farmers, acreages and crop edges
RSI currently markets its products under the brands Windfoil and Falcon. Toro dealers and customers primarily purchase the Windfoil brand while John Deere dealers and customers largely purchase the Falcon brand. www.rogerssprayers.com
B & B Technologies, located in Tekamah, Nebraska, has produced a full range of agriculture, turf and lawn care sprayers since 1994. In addition to sprayers, B & B manufactures combine head carriers, fertilization carriers for lawn care, hydraulic drive Vicons and truck accessories.
The Pessimist Complains About the Wind; the Optimist Expects It to Change; the Realist Adjusts the Sails
Over the years, research has led to significant improvements in the effectiveness of many chemicals currently used on golf courses today while computerized spray systems have eliminated much of the guesswork surrounding spray volume and speed. Despite these advances, failure to heed best practices in application can yield less than satisfactory outcomes.
In order to achieve the best results from the time, money and labor allocated to chemical application, golf course superintendents must consider.
- Unique components of the spray project including turf height, canopy density and other factors of the target spray area
- How much drift is tolerable
- Manufacturer recommendations for product application
- Height of spray boom when applicable
- Nozzle selection and nozzle angle
- Investing sufficient time; attempting to push products too quickly during the application process can result in inadequate coverage and marginal results
Lastly, choose the right companies and products for your unique needs. Look for suppliers that offer easy-to-follow product information, assistance with replacement parts and personalized customer service to answer questions and provide valuable insights.