Comparing nozzle spray rates for smart farming

How do different nozzles affect application rates on crops? Dan Schmiesing of Upper Valley Career Center used the activity Managing nutrient and pesticide needs in agriculture with juniors in his Ag Power and Technology Class to show them!

Schmiesing learned about this activity when he attended last summer’s Exploring Technology in Agriculture workshop sponsored by the Ohio State University and a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant. Students first stepped off 1/100 of an acre and then compared their accuracy using a Garmin Etrax 10. Then Schmiesing had them use a hand-held sprayer to compare coverage of different nozzle types using a paper towel on the shop floor. Next, they measured the flow rates of the different tips by measuring the amount of water collected in a beaker for 20 seconds. Finally, using the Etrax 10, students estimated different walking speeds and calculated the gallons per acre of the different estimated 1/100 of an acre plots based on the amount of water gathered from the different style tips.

Schiesing said his students really liked stepping off the 1/100 of an acre and then going back to measure with the Etrax 10 to check the accuracy of their estimated measurement. He said, “The students were also surprised by the different coverage from the different nozzle types, which led to a discussion on plant coverage and why the different patterns and droplet sizes are needed for different applications.”

Schmiesing said the activity of stepping off an acre gave students a true visual of size. When discussing precision farming and grid sampling, this gives them a better representation of the sampling size and the area that a soil sample represented.

“I really enjoyed learning about and using the Canopeo app at the workshop, and I plan to utilize it soon to compare the ground coverage of a pasture in February to the ground cover in May. This will lead into the benefits of cover crops and how technology plays into this. We also worked with this app in the fall and discussed the possible uses for Nitrogen side dress applications.”