New nozzles transform spraying on turf farm

Steve Cole Turf Farm

The introduction of a set of new nozzles has transformed the speed and effectiveness of spray applications on the Lilydale Instant Lawn properties in Gippsland and the Yarra Valley of Victoria.

Lilydale Instant Lawn General Manager, Steve Cole, said they already had industry best practice spray units, GLP and air induction nozzles and he was a bit sceptical when asked to try the Syngenta XC nozzles.

“I thought, here’s another mouse trap, is it worth the effort?”

Mr Cole said he would give them a try and found the results to be staggering. He said they typically ran the spray units at seven kilometres per hour and were able to increase that to ten or eleven kilometres per hour.

“It was a huge time saving there on its own. The pitch on the nozzles was such that you’d be able to go faster because of the technology, the way they’d angled them. One of my issues was as soon as I’d start to go faster with the old nozzles, they’d start to cone and you wouldn’t get a good application. 

“What I didn’t realise was that we’d also get better wind use. So what we found is that we can go faster but we can also spray when it is much, much windier than we’ve ever done before. We’d opened up our window of opportunity so much by being able to spray with a little bit of wind and by getting over the ground faster. So on a big day, I went from being able to spray eight bays, which is about forty hectares, to being able to spray ten or more bays.”

Mr Cole said he was now able to apply in winds of up to 20 kilometres per hour which meant they could stick to their spray program and get the products out onto the turf when they were needed.

It also meant they could bring other, shorter term rotational products into the program and be confident they could be applied at the right time.

“We’ve had a really good response with it. I was confident after using those nozzles, we got a set for the Bairnsdale farm and asked the manager there to give them a go. He put them in and he was amazed. He had the same reaction as me. We’ve both been spraying for a long time, so I guess you don’t get that excited about things but I think we were both very impressed with the extra ability we got to do the job. That is the key.”

“I’m sure they do a much better application as well, but I’m not trying to get down to that technical detail, the droplets per leaf blade. We’re getting across the ground and we’re getting across the ground in good shape. I think, at the end of the day, that is the crux for us.”

Mr Cole said the speed and effectiveness of the new nozzles meant they could spray during daylight hours and not have to worry about applying products at night. Being able to see what you are doing makes day time spraying so much better and there are also the benefits involved in eliminating risk, eliminating your spray drift and eliminating OH&S issues.

“The less time you spend spraying the better. All those things come into play.”

Most importantly for the enterprise is making sure the instant lawn delivered to their customers is the best quality it can be. Mr Cole said that people expect the turf to be free of weeds, and that is reasonable given they are paying good money for turf, they don’t want weeds.