If there ever was any question about how technologically advanced and how innovative the ag industry is, all one had to do was witness the sprayer tech panel discussion at the National Farm Machinery Show to see how far we’ve come.
The best learning happens when the lesson comes from someone excited and passionate about their craft, and the four panelists who spoke Wednesday clearly and skillfully represented what’s available for farmers.
The focus was on pulse-width modulation (PWM) systems. While many of us knew rate controllers as ground breaking in sprayer application, PWM has further changed the game, massively increasing the performance beyond rate controllers.
“PWM means more to your application in that there’s so much range to what they can do,” one speaker said. The technology helps to make spraying more consistent thanks to off-set pulsing, and it did wonders in increasing the turndown ratio.
John Deere’s ExactApply and the Hawkeye Nozzle Control System from Raven both spoke to increased effectiveness in areas such as droplet size and turn compension, as well as reduced spray drift.
Products available today include LED lighting, different nozzles in the front and back positions that can work independently or in tandem, varying nozzle styles, and improved capacity.
All of this is intended to make a farmer’s life a little easier, no matter product he or she chooses.
Still, amid the praised heaped on sprayer advances, they are only as effective as the system as a whole. Boom controls, GPS navigation, direct injection, and product control, among other things, all factor into successful integration.