4 Safety Features to look for When Choosing a Pasture Boom Sprayer
To spray or not to spray your pastures, the choice is entirely yours. But when it comes to spray, best to do it safely! Here are 4 safety features to look for when choosing a pasture boom sprayer.
Filling up the tank
Climbing onto sprayers with chemicals or climbing to see inside the tank is not recommended because you can fall off or you can spill products onto you or your clothes. A large lid is always better and you should make sure to use the spill catcher often added as standard equipment on most of the tanks. At Hustler, you can also find a gutter around the filler of the sprayer that is designed to catch the spillages and direct them around the front of the unit to avoid contact with your clothes at the back when you hook up your spraying equipment to the tractor.
Choosing a low-profile tank whose top can be accessed from on the ground can be a good option. Some sprayers also allow you to be filled up through the pump, which can be something to consider for extra safety.
Draining the tank
Draining and cleaning your sprayer tank once you’re done for the day is always a high-flying exercise. Removing the drain cap without getting chemicals all over your hands or clothes is almost an impossible mission. Some manufacturers offer remote access to the drain, for instance, operated from the top of the tank, which saves you from crawling underneath to empty the tank, saving the operator from getting covered in chemicals during clean-up.
Most of the mounted sprayers (but not all!) embark a built-in handwash tank. This feature is absolutely essential to wash your hands if you need to manipulate spraying products or spraying equipment (such as nozzles) once in the middle of the field with no immediate access to freshwater.
Of course, make sure that your handwash tank is filled up before you go!
Induction hopper or pre-mixing system
Using an induction hopper to pre-mix the product you’re applying is always handy and offers a better application quality. But did you know that it was also a device that can keep you safe? Instead of adding your product from the top of the tank, a pre-mixing system allows the operator to pre-mix powders, chemicals, or fertilizer and fill from waist height for extra convenience and no chemical spills. Some induction hoppers are also designed with a sluce feature and container rinse nozzle to simplify clean up.
Good practices you should consider to stay safe while spraying:
- Keep the label attached to the container so everyone (including your farm workers) can see what it contains and its safety precautions.
- Read the label on the product you are using. The label will identify the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) you need to wear when handling the product and the hazards of using that product.
- Always follow the application rate as directed on the product label.
- Always wear eye protection, gloves, long-sleeve shirts and long-leg pants when handling chemicals even in case of warm weather, and take your time when mixing.
- Triple-rinse empty pesticide containers and do not reuse them; dispose of empty containers properly after rinsing.
- Immediately wash with clean water and change your clothes if pesticides are sprayed or spilled on you. Wash your work clothes separately from other clothing after mixing and using pesticides to prevent cross-contamination of yourself and your family.
- Wash your hands before eating, drinking, touching your face and in particular your nose or mouth.
Disclaimer: spraying chemicals or fertiliser always involves a risk to the operator or the environment and you should always carefully follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer/supplier of the product. Organic products are often less toxic than synthetic ones, but that doesn’t mean they are safe or won’t cause environmental harm as they are at much higher concentrations than they would ever be found in nature anyway.