Six steps for spraying success

Before putting the planter into the field, put these best practices into action

As planting season migrates north, growers across the Corn Belt are hitting the field in their sprayers to get the season off to a clean start. So, now is a good time to take a moment to cover some important fundamentals to consider for any spray application this growing season.


Below is a list compiled by technical experts at BASF that applicators should keep in mind:


1)    Nozzle Size


One of the most important and first decisions a grower should make before spraying is selecting the correct nozzle size. Check if the label requires a medium to ultra-course nozzle. For the herbicide being applied, monitor the pressure volume required for individual sprayers, which will assist in getting the right droplet size and making an on-target application.


2)    Wind Speed


Wind speed is another important factor to consider to ensure a successful application season. Apply herbicides when wind speeds are between three to 10 miles per hour and when the wind is blowing away from sensitive crops. To avoid off-target applications between the point of direct application and the closest sensitive crops, a buffer zone should be in place between 60 to 110 feet in ground applications.


3)    Recognizing Temperature Inversions


When determining the best time to spray, growers should learn to recognize temperature inversions.

  • Measure air temperature at 6 – 12 inches above the soil.
  • Take a second measurement at 8 – 10 feet above the soil.
  • An inversion exists if the measured air temperature at 8 – 10 feet above the soil is higher than the measured air temperature at 6 – 12 inches above the soil.

It is important to note that the instrument used to measure a temperature inversion should be shaded in order to not be influenced by solar heating. Spraying crop protection products during an inversion can result in the off-target movement of small droplets, which will never reach their intended target.


4)    Tank Cleanout


After spraying and switching from one product to the next, the tank should be fully cleaned with a triple rinse cleanout.

  • Start with empty plumbing and tank.
  • Wash the tank to where there is no visible sediment, making sure it’s visibly clean when you’re done.
  • A triple rinse wash procedure and detergent-based tank cleaner should be used on the second rinse.
  • Rinse all your hoses and in-lines, including your plumbing recirculation lines and the lines out on the booms.
  • Remove nozzles and screens to make sure every component gets cleaned, including nurse trucks, junge systems and sprayer connection lines.
  • There are multiple places on a sprayer where herbicides can sit and build up. Avoid letting a chemistry sit in a spray tank to ensure a better cleanout.

Proper spray system hygiene is one of the most important steps you can take to reduce off-target herbicide movement and ensure better application.


5)    Record Keeping


For best management practices, keep strong records of your applications. Include specific details on time of day, weather conditions and equipment calibrations. Your records should also include when the tank was last cleaned prior to switching to a different chemistry. Communicate to your neighbors what you have planted and what chemistry you intend to apply throughout the entire season. If custom applicators spray your fields, communicate your records to them as well.


6)    Follow the Label


Each label is different, but a similar theme runs throughout: Follow the specific requirements needed for a reliable and on-target application. Refer to each herbicide label for specific application requirements to know if an application is allowed on your soil type.


With the right tools for the job, applications can be made correctly. Refer to each label for specific application requirements. For additional application questions and information, reach out to your local BASF representative or visit the BASF website at


Always read and follow label directions.


About BASF’s Crop Protection division


With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. BASF’s Crop Protection division works with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others to help make this possible. With their cooperation, BASF is able to sustain an active R&D pipeline, an innovative portfolio of products and services, and teams of experts in the lab and in the field to support customers in making their businesses succeed. In 2016, BASF’s Crop Protection division generated sales of €5.6 billion. For more information, please visit us at or on any of our social media channels.


About BASF


BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 18,200 employees in North America, and had sales of $17.9 billion in 2017. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit


At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The more than 115,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of €64.5 billion in 2017. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at