Pesticide Tank Cleanout
In this episode of the Nebraska Cropwatch Podcast Michael and Greg Kruger talk about tank cleanout. When should you clean out your tank? How does your tank material affect cleanout? Listen in to find the answers to these questions and more.
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[00:00:00.292](soft instrumental music)
[00:00:02.940]Welcome to CropWatch podcast,
[00:00:05.410]a production of Nebraska Extension.
[00:00:12.580]Welcome to the CropWatch podcast.
[00:00:14.300]I'm Michael Sindelar, cropping systems extension educator.
[00:00:17.210]Today, I'm gonna be joined with Dr. Greg Kruger
[00:00:20.010]and we're gonna be talking about tank clean-out.
[00:00:22.340]Greg, can you tell us a little bit about what
[00:00:23.627]you do at the university?
[00:00:25.550]Yes, but Michael, thanks for having me on today.
[00:00:28.540]This is the first time I've done this.
[00:00:30.830]So it's always a new adventure, right?
[00:00:33.020]So for those listening in,
[00:00:37.540]I know he said doctor,
[00:00:38.830]but I just go by Greg in the office here.
[00:00:42.280]my focus and our research
[00:00:44.460]is really around pesticide applications.
[00:00:46.540]And we wanna understand how do we really make the most
[00:00:49.050]out of the pesticide applications we're making?
[00:00:51.010]So making a good clean application means,
[00:00:54.220]minimizing drift, minimizing environmental impact,
[00:00:57.950]minimizing crop entry.
[00:00:59.760]And then also making sure that we actually kill
[00:01:02.320]that pest that we're interested in.
[00:01:04.260]And we do that through a number of different ways
[00:01:07.010]from looking at the very basic in the lab,
[00:01:10.300]where we focus on droplet size, droplet retention,
[00:01:15.450]how does that droplet beat up or spread out on the surface?
[00:01:19.450]How long does it take to evaporate?
[00:01:21.290]All the way up to the where we're using
[00:01:22.720]the large commercial scale, 120 foot boom sprayers
[00:01:26.270]to look at how much drift is actually occurring
[00:01:28.910]under a particular field environment.
[00:01:31.640]You know, we might be looking at boom height
[00:01:33.680]or application speed or things like that.
[00:01:35.450]So we kinda do everything from the point where
[00:01:38.490]that pesticide application reaches a nozzle
[00:01:41.160]to the fate of that droplet in the environment.
[00:01:43.700]So Greg, today, we're talking about tank clean-out,
[00:01:45.960]and it's not just tank clean-out,
[00:01:47.220]this is more like your whole sprayer clean out.
[00:01:50.300]What's your first steps in cleaning out your sprayer
[00:01:52.830]after you use the product?
[00:01:54.600]Yeah, this is a subject near and dear to my heart
[00:01:57.570]because I think we often get in a hurry
[00:02:00.330]and it's no criticism, but it's easy to say,
[00:02:03.737]"Okay well there's not that much in the sprayer,
[00:02:06.337]"it's not going to be a big deal."
[00:02:08.010]But the reality is that
[00:02:09.570]if we don't get that sprayer cleaned out good,
[00:02:12.910]we run the risk of crop injury,
[00:02:16.230]excessive residual carry over in the soil,
[00:02:19.230]selection pressure for resistance and things like that.
[00:02:21.430]So when we start talking about
[00:02:23.580]how do we properly clean that sprayer or clean that tank?
[00:02:27.070]First thing to do is to drain everything out of the tank.
[00:02:30.830]We've seen situations where somebody says,
[00:02:34.367]"Well, what I'm spraying is probably
[00:02:35.697]"not going to have an impact on that next crop."
[00:02:37.850]And there's three, four, 5% of the tank volume
[00:02:41.200]still left in the sprayer.
[00:02:42.290]They just go ahead and fill up and go to the next site.
[00:02:44.760]We don't want to do that,
[00:02:45.881]we want to go ahead and open up that banjo valve
[00:02:48.960]from the side of the tank,
[00:02:51.210]drain everything out and start with an empty tank
[00:02:54.710]when we start to clean.
[00:02:56.120]So when you want to start to clean,
[00:02:58.630]what are you using for a liquid?
[00:02:59.830]Do you start immediately with a cleaning agent,
[00:03:02.520]or do you start with clean water
[00:03:03.650]when you start cleaning out the equipment?
[00:03:05.760]Yeah, so a great question.
[00:03:07.560]So as we progressed from the draining of that tank,
[00:03:10.720]the next thing we're going to do is make sure
[00:03:12.240]that we've got some sort of a clean water source.
[00:03:14.180]So we want to make sure that what we're flushing in is clean
[00:03:17.260]so that we're not continuing to recontaminate.
[00:03:20.070]So we find that clean water source,
[00:03:22.180]we're going to fill that sprayer tank.
[00:03:23.970]We recommend 20% of the spray volume of the tank volume,
[00:03:28.730]but that's a lot to ask
[00:03:31.870]of folks now, especially with some of these sprayer tanks
[00:03:35.430]being a thousand gallon or more.
[00:03:37.180]But if we can get 20% of that volume,
[00:03:40.540]run the circulation on the tank,
[00:03:42.500]flush those lines into the tank and then start to clean,
[00:03:46.420]that's the best way to do it.
[00:03:47.820]Now when we talk about tank cleaning,
[00:03:50.100]we always recommend the triple rinse.
[00:03:52.560]And again, 20% of the volume of the tank is ideal.
[00:03:55.850]If we can get 10%, I can probably live with that
[00:03:58.650]but 20% is the way to go.
[00:04:00.380]On the second time I put that volume of water,
[00:04:03.840]that clean water back into the tank,
[00:04:05.270]I'm going to add some sort of a tank cleaning agent.
[00:04:08.080]There's a lot of different options out there.
[00:04:09.720]Some guys will just use a simple ammonia,
[00:04:12.560]some have their specific product that they like
[00:04:16.620]of a brand-specific tank cleaner that might be available
[00:04:20.490]in the market.
[00:04:21.760]And in my mind, as long as we're using something,
[00:04:25.000]that's the way to go.
[00:04:26.120]We've never seen detrimental effects
[00:04:27.930]from using a tank cleaner in the sprayer.
[00:04:30.080]When we think about that tank cleaner,
[00:04:32.650]we always want to consult the label
[00:04:35.180]of the products we're using.
[00:04:36.580]In some cases we'll find that certain products recommend
[00:04:39.800]a specific tank cleaner,
[00:04:41.060]whether that be ammonia or chlorine or other things,
[00:04:44.360]but we consult that specific tank product
[00:04:46.410]for that tank cleaner that we want to use.
[00:04:48.540]After that second rinse,
[00:04:49.780]so the third rinse will come back with just fresh water.
[00:04:53.320]Now, I always like to if possible,
[00:04:56.330]leave that sprayer set for a little bit of time.
[00:04:58.530]If we can leave it set for eight hours
[00:05:00.160]with that water and cleaning solution,
[00:05:02.540]that's always great because that will help pull out
[00:05:05.110]what's in the tank and the tank materials
[00:05:07.970]that we're working with can really play a big role
[00:05:10.160]in terms of what we would expect
[00:05:12.210]in terms of tank clean-out.
[00:05:13.220]So if I'm setting up a new sprayer,
[00:05:15.320]I would still get to look at,
[00:05:16.620]love to see you get a stainless steel tank.
[00:05:18.470]The stainless steel tanks don't have the pitting,
[00:05:21.500]they don't tend to absorb the chemistries
[00:05:23.270]like some of our poly or plastic tanks will.
[00:05:26.240]Specifically for my guys running a poly or plastic tanks,
[00:05:28.910]if you can let that stuff sit in there,
[00:05:30.460]kind of ruminate over the evening or things like that
[00:05:33.510]when you clean that sprayer out, that's even better.
[00:05:36.450]So we got the tank cleaned out.
[00:05:38.410]We're done right?
[00:05:39.400]We don't need to worry about any other parts of the sprayer
[00:05:42.360]or are we just starting, do we need to focus on other parts
[00:05:46.060]where some of that pesticide residue may be lurking?
[00:05:48.910]Yeah, that's a great question, Michael.
[00:05:51.790]Now, as we start thinking about that,
[00:05:52.800]and when we've gone through now
[00:05:54.460]how to clean that tank really well,
[00:05:56.360]don't forget that we've got nozzles, screens,
[00:05:58.740]filters that all are potential traps for a chemistry.
[00:06:03.490]If we're spraying dry chemistries in particular,
[00:06:06.410]atrazine or things like that,
[00:06:07.930]we tend to see those sediment out in the spray booms,
[00:06:11.040]particularly if we're running hoseless booms.
[00:06:13.230]So it's really important to start thinking about those,
[00:06:16.260]go ahead when you're doing that triple rinse,
[00:06:19.970]pull those screens off, wash those down,
[00:06:22.680]flush any liquid that's in those filters and screens out,
[00:06:28.090]pull the tips off and drain what's in the lines.
[00:06:31.710]And then most of our sprayers today, Michael,
[00:06:34.120]have some sort of expressing cap
[00:06:36.350]or some sort of a cap on the end of the boom,
[00:06:38.960]where we can pull that off
[00:06:40.470]and completely drain everything out of the boom.
[00:06:43.670]Usually just takes a few minutes
[00:06:45.130]but that extra few minutes to pull that apart
[00:06:48.030]is invaluable in terms of making sure
[00:06:50.000]that we get all that chemistry flushed out of the sprayer.
[00:06:53.400]So how does hose material play into this?
[00:06:55.660]Is there anything we need to consider with that,
[00:06:57.560]cause you talked about tank material,
[00:06:58.880]how important is a hose material
[00:07:00.980]in helping us clean out faster,
[00:07:02.420]or are there certain materials and hoses
[00:07:04.283]that we need to pay more attention to?
[00:07:06.810]Yeah, so this is a really fascinating work
[00:07:10.480]that was done by Mississippi State,
[00:07:12.080]looking at how different materials,
[00:07:14.530]hose materials will play a role in terms of clean-out.
[00:07:17.920]And what they found is
[00:07:19.010]it's kind of like the old saying goes,
[00:07:21.087]"You get what you pay for."
[00:07:22.430]With the hoses in particular, you get what you pay for.
[00:07:25.230]So what they see is that
[00:07:28.350]as we get into some of the more expensive hoses,
[00:07:31.729]they have less pitting or little pores
[00:07:34.780]in that hose material and they become easier to clean out.
[00:07:38.948]So those polyethylene jacketed hoses,
[00:07:42.080]the blue hoses that we see out there,
[00:07:44.470]they're going to be the most expensive,
[00:07:46.050]but they also have the least pitting
[00:07:47.640]that will go clean out the best in terms of material.
[00:07:50.940]And as a general rule,
[00:07:52.840]the cheaper the hose gets,
[00:07:55.166]the more residue that's going to get trapped in those hoses.
[00:07:59.270]So certainly if I'm setting up a new sprayer
[00:08:01.780]or if I'm re-plumbing an old sprayer,
[00:08:05.420]here's a chance to spend just a little bit of extra money
[00:08:08.010]to make sure you've got something
[00:08:09.180]that cleans out a lot better.
[00:08:11.400]So I know when you're talking about cleaning out
[00:08:13.340]the different components, you kind of use an example
[00:08:15.490]of what to look for for dry products.
[00:08:17.000]Are there any other tips or tricks
[00:08:19.390]to pay attention to with different chemistries
[00:08:21.170]that use an X chemistry where we need
[00:08:23.770]to pay more attention to this component.
[00:08:27.463]So that's the fully loaded question, right?
[00:08:30.620]So okay, when do I need to pay attention
[00:08:32.890]to tank cleaning within normal time?
[00:08:34.907]And the reality is we want guys
[00:08:37.220]to pay attention to the tank contamination every time,
[00:08:39.960]but the really understanding what you are spraying
[00:08:44.170]and what your next job is going to be,
[00:08:46.970]are the two critical pieces.
[00:08:49.200]So for example,
[00:08:51.320]if I'm spraying a Roundup Ready soybean field,
[00:08:54.940]and going into a Roundup Ready corn field,
[00:08:57.240]even if I'm not intending disparate Roundup,
[00:08:59.810]a little bit of contamination
[00:09:01.800]is not going to be an issue here.
[00:09:05.750]particularly, and Michael,
[00:09:07.560]you know probably as well as anybody
[00:09:09.260]that the last few years we've had
[00:09:11.070]lots of issues with Dicamba.
[00:09:13.230]My contention is that one of the biggest drivers
[00:09:15.580]in terms of all the symptoms that we've seen
[00:09:17.760]from Dicamba showing up on soybeans,
[00:09:19.800]it is just a simple you know,
[00:09:22.360]we've got tank contamination
[00:09:24.470]that takes very, very little residue
[00:09:27.260]from Dicamba to cause symptoms on soybeans there.
[00:09:31.350]If we're going from spraying Dicamba in corn
[00:09:34.710]or spraying Dicamba beans into non Dicamba soybeans,
[00:09:38.410]all of a sudden, we've got one of those examples
[00:09:40.610]of where we've got something very sensitive
[00:09:43.180]to small amounts of residue caught up in that sprayer
[00:09:47.760]that are going to cause us some issues down the road.
[00:09:50.030]So it's really about understanding the chemistry
[00:09:53.280]that we're applying and where we're going into next.
[00:09:56.860]So there's a lot of different tracks
[00:09:59.940]that we can track down there
[00:10:01.050]but it's really one of those where most applicators,
[00:10:05.910]particularly here in Nebraska,
[00:10:08.060]a lot of corn or soybeans,
[00:10:10.420]a lot of the chemistries that we've been used to using
[00:10:12.950]over the last 20 years are quite safe-based programs.
[00:10:16.490]And we've had for the most part,
[00:10:18.780]and then there are exceptions to the rule,
[00:10:19.943]we have very little to worry about
[00:10:22.230]in terms of residue carry over.
[00:10:24.190]As I start thinking about, particularly,
[00:10:26.390]as we go into the 2021 growing season and beyond,
[00:10:30.140]the trait packages are getting much more complex.
[00:10:32.710]We're seeing guys that are going to two four D,
[00:10:35.330]we've got LibertyLink soybeans out there.
[00:10:36.980]We got Roundup Ready soybeans out there.
[00:10:38.780]We've got the Dicamba soybeans out there.
[00:10:40.920]So we've got all these different trait packages.
[00:10:43.180]And so understanding if I'm spraying tool
[00:10:45.700]for one trait package,
[00:10:47.450]I'm moving into another one,
[00:10:49.310]I want to be very careful because there's a high probability
[00:10:52.230]that if I've got a little bit of two four D in the tank,
[00:10:54.870]that could lead to contamination issues
[00:10:56.460]on the Dicamba beans, vice versa.
[00:10:58.330]If there's a little Dicamba,
[00:10:59.617]and I'm going into two four D resistant beans,
[00:11:01.680]that could cause issues.
[00:11:04.040]as we go forward in time,
[00:11:06.400]I am afraid this is one of those where
[00:11:08.340]it's going to get more sophisticated,
[00:11:10.690]more challenging than what it has been the past 20 years.
[00:11:15.350]so you're saying there's going to be a challenge coming up,
[00:11:19.080]but also you're saying is,
[00:11:21.520]cleaning out that tank could be one way to come around
[00:11:23.530]that challenge to not have that residue
[00:11:25.410]or that off target spray on those crops,
[00:11:28.040]even if it takes a little bit more time.
[00:11:31.190]I to tell them, "Guys, look if we can figure out
[00:11:32.887]"how to walk on the moon,
[00:11:34.317]"we can figure out how to make a good clean application."
[00:11:38.170]Part of that good clean application
[00:11:40.360]comes from making sure that we take time
[00:11:42.560]to clean out that sprayer.
[00:11:44.400]To properly clean a sprayer, yes, it does take time.
[00:11:47.720]I think, to go through that triple rinse procedure,
[00:11:51.370]that we just described,
[00:11:53.850]could easily take a guy two to three hours depending
[00:11:56.170]on how many nozzles and tip screens he has and all that.
[00:12:00.260]But in terms of protecting the crop
[00:12:03.850]that we're going to be spraying,
[00:12:05.400]protecting the crop protection tools
[00:12:07.530]that we have available to us today,
[00:12:09.730]that's a pretty minor investment in the long run.
[00:12:12.890]Well, in a way,
[00:12:14.110]going through this is also protecting that grower too
[00:12:16.820]from damaging their own stuff by accident.
[00:12:22.170]We don't want to set up a situation where the growers
[00:12:25.603]are hurting themselves.
[00:12:28.730]If my livelihood depends on that crop that I'm harvesting,
[00:12:32.060]I don't want to take a chance on a little bit of residue
[00:12:34.150]potentially causing either some sort of symptoms
[00:12:37.340]or observable injury to that crop,
[00:12:40.100]or more importantly, any kind of yield loss
[00:12:43.240]that might come from that.
[00:12:44.550]And we've seen situations like that happen.
[00:12:46.660]I tell everybody in terms of tank contamination,
[00:12:49.140]we kind of went through how to clean that sprayer down
[00:12:51.560]with the, I really want folks thinking,
[00:12:53.737]"Okay, anything that comes in contact with that chemistry
[00:12:56.597]"is a potential source and that could lead
[00:12:58.897]"to some sort of an economical loss on my farm
[00:13:02.787]"if I'm not cognizant."
[00:13:04.860]So for my guys out there that have run hot loads,
[00:13:07.860]that means the tender truck has to be cleaned out
[00:13:10.430]for folks that use or reuse mini bulks,
[00:13:14.420]make sure that if you're reusing a mini bulk
[00:13:16.610]that you've got it cleaned good
[00:13:17.920]before a new chemistry goes into it.
[00:13:19.980]If I reuse those two and a half gallon jugs
[00:13:22.330]out in the field,
[00:13:24.440]make sure that gets cleaned out good.
[00:13:26.430]If I've got an adduction system,
[00:13:28.590]the hoses and things like that
[00:13:29.970]that are going into the sprayer need to be cleaned out well.
[00:13:34.170]So I always tell guys to you know, if you want to make sure
[00:13:37.310]you've really protected yourself as much as possible,
[00:13:39.900]you gotta think of all the different points
[00:13:41.590]where that chemistry could have come in contact
[00:13:44.120]with something that might be used in the process
[00:13:46.520]so on down the road.
[00:13:48.790]Great, sounds good.
[00:13:50.040]Thank you for joining us, Greg.
[00:13:51.670]Do you have any CropWatch articles
[00:13:54.680]or any articles or guides that could help
[00:13:57.930]with people that may have questions along this
[00:13:59.900]that you could direct them to?
[00:14:02.430]Yeah, so there's a number
[00:14:03.760]of different resources out there.
[00:14:05.430]There are CropWatch guides
[00:14:09.340]in the weed control guide.
[00:14:10.610]I know a lot of my folks out there
[00:14:12.070]have a weed control guide,
[00:14:13.510]there's information on cleaning the sprayer out in there.
[00:14:17.140]There's a couple of guides out there
[00:14:18.770]that talk about the tank contamination
[00:14:21.710]and sprayer clean out.
[00:14:23.888]And then the one I'll tell you,
[00:14:26.570]and this has kind of popped up on us
[00:14:27.990]over the last couple of years because of the dynamics
[00:14:29.843]that we started mentioning but
[00:14:31.900]Dicamba has taught us a lot about
[00:14:33.280]the importance of tank clean-out
[00:14:34.660]and how much really can get held up in that sprayer.
[00:14:38.240]If you check out some of the Dicamba training materials
[00:14:40.890]and things like that that we've made available online,
[00:14:44.460]that will have Dicamba-specific tank clean-out stuff,
[00:14:47.270]but really those stewardship practices are going to be good
[00:14:50.650]for any kind of sprayer clean-out situation.
[00:14:55.240]Any other resources that you would like
[00:14:56.660]to direct the listeners to before we end the program?
[00:15:00.680]Yeah, so this is a little more general,
[00:15:02.770]but and I'm going to take just a brief second
[00:15:05.920]to tell guys we've got a lot of good information
[00:15:08.650]even beyond the tank clean-out.
[00:15:10.950]Visit our website, it's P-A-T,
[00:15:13.360]which is short for pesticide application technology
[00:15:18.430]And you'll see all of the things
[00:15:21.500]that our lab is currently working on
[00:15:23.220]in terms of pesticide applications as a whole there.
[00:15:26.260]Well, thanks for joining us, Greg.
[00:15:27.740]I hope you have a good growing season.
[00:15:30.150]Michael, it was a pleasure.
[00:15:31.170]I appreciate you guys having us on.
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