Thursday, 4 July 2013

Tom Wolf, Spray nozzle expert

Jake and I arranged  to meet up with Tom Wolf, who was also based at the University of Saskatoon, just a few doors from Western Grains. Tom was working for PAMI,The Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute,  http://pami.ca/ , Tom's expertise is in nozzle technology. Tom had recently returned from the farm progress show in Regina, and said that the "buzz word" from the show regarding sprayer technology was "Turn compensation". Turn compensation is when the application rate can be varied along a sprayer boom from nozzle to nozzle to allow for the fact that the further out the nozzle is the faster it is going over the crop as the sprayer turns.
Tom Wolf
 
The technology that allows turn compensation to happen is know as Pulse Width Modulation (PWM). PWM means that the nozzle is turning on and off 10 times per second, this allows the application rate to change by varying the amount of time per second that the nozzle is either open or closed, which means that the application rate and pressure can be held constant as the forward speed is varied. This leads to a uniform droplet size, increased efficacy and reduced drift. It is claimed that by using individual nozzle control you can reduce overlap by 6% over standard automatic section control. This is a large saving, and when added to the better droplet size control makes it very interesting.   

PWM nozzle setup
 
After visiting Tom, it was time for Jake and I to go our separate ways until we meet up again in the US. It was really good to have Jake as company for the start of the trip, but also exciting to be off on my own now. Jake stayed in Saskatoon and I continued heading east to Langenburg, to meet up with a farmer Terry Aberhart.
A quiet road heading east across Saskatchewan.
 

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