How do OnTarget Electrostatic sprayers work?
OnTarget has refined and perfected electrostatic technology so farmers can have the most effective and practical agricultural sprayers! Although technological advancements such as automation and GPS have been introduced to the farming industry, airblast sprayers have not changed since shortly after WWII.
One of the greatest drawbacks of an airblast sprayer is that the spray cloud emitted from the fan is highly ineffective. Substantial amounts of water (up to 60%) dissipate and evaporate before reaching the plant. Spray that reaches the plant will soak the one side the sprayer is closest to. This causes serious runoff, which can affect nearby water supplies. Not to mention, the spray won’t end up reaching the majority of pests or mildew that hide under the leaf.
These issues do not exist with OnTarget’s Wrap Around Technology™. With OnTarget, the water wraps around every single leaf, completely coating it. The nozzles dispersing the spray charge the droplets which are attracted to negatively grounded plant surfaces, evenly coating the tops and undersides of plant material with crop protection products and minimizing chances of runoff. This is because the atomized drops immediately wrap and cling to all surfaces.
Water/material, diesel, time/labor
Now that you know how the electrostatic sprayer is different from the airblast sprayer, it’s easier to understand how one can save so much water, diesel, time, and labor costs.
Targeting the plant with Wrap Around Technology™ prevents wasting so much water and material! As a matter of fact, you actually end up saving water because you’re improving your plant coverage. The ‘soak to coat’ spray method is eliminated, providing drastically better coverage with 80 percent less water.
OnTarget’s electrostatic sprayers consume 2 to 3 gallons less diesel per hour. Because our sprayers don’t require a huge fan to propel the spray, they require a fraction of the horsepower to drive the spray cloud into the plant canopy. Most of our sprayer models require only 20-32 horsepower. Our largest sprayer requires only 42 horsepower. This adds up to significant fuel savings.
Labor and Time
Because OnTarget spray systems use 80 percent less water, you can cover more acres per day with a fraction of the tank refills. Whether you hire out your spraying, or are doing it yourself, you’ll save time and labor when using On Target.
How it’s great for pests
Gary Omori, an AG Consultant and Pesticide Control Adviser in California said it’s his legal duty as a PCR to follow the pesticide directions when applying pesticides. In Omari’s case, he was following a label that says you must use 50 gallons of water, per acre, with 16 oz of Agri-Mek for mites on strawberries, but with an OnTarget electrostatic sprayer, you can use 15 gallons of water per acre of strawberries.
Because of this deviation from the label, Omori had to apply for an exemption with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to use less water, with the same amount of product. The agreement with the CDPR was that they would grant the exemption to use the same amount of product, but less water, if [researchers] Angelica and Bernie Hernandez could do a study on worker’s safety.
This was not an efficacy trial, as to how well it worked on the crops, but they wanted to make sure that 7 days, 10 days, after, that workers could safely handle the plants. As a result, Omori was granted the exemption, and on the back of Agri-Mek, it now has instructions on how to use it with an OnTarget sprayer.
“The problem with air-blast sprayers, in orchards for instance, is the spray goes through the canopy, and only 10% hits the crop, 90% goes into the atmosphere and evaporates. Alternatively, electrostatic sprayers result in 90% spray deposition,” Omari said. “I don’t label OnTarget as a pesticide applicator, it’s a sustainable delivery system. Always start with the delivery before the product.”
Foliar protection and feeding
What else can complete coverage do for your crops?
Droplets attach to all sides of the plant – this includes underneath the leaves! The proof is in the results. One way to measure these results is when using OnTarget sprayers for foliar protection and feeding.
Omori said there were “concerns about the water table, leaching of chemicals, too much nitrogen. California legislation is restricting the use of fertilizer and so they are requiring less. Now you can use foliar-fertilizer, and it’s more efficient.”
One crop in particular relies more heavily on foliar feeding applications: cannabis.
“I bought one of their PTO driven electrostatic applicators,” said David Todd, a grower of recreational cannabis for his business, Terra Australis. “Looking at traditional spraying equipment and labor, it was just a numbers game at first, and then now seeing the efficacy of OnTarget, and running the whole program, for an entire season with the rig, I don’t think I would ever use a different foliar application device.”
“Before, we had a backpack sprayer, but the labor to spray 3 acres was just too much so it made complete sense, and Willie is a really nice guy,” Todd continues.
Todd explained that by foliar application, the chemistry and weight of the soil won’t be tampered with too much. “We use a lot of calcium acetate, and we’re also phosphorus depleted in our soil, we will apply different phosphorus chemistry to absorb in the apoplectic pathways.” (Apoplectic pathways are accessed through the very top of the plant’s surface.)
And of course, one of the most annoying and contagious issues almost every crop is prone to: powdery mildew. Bob Starns, owner and cannabis grower of Kind Farms and Shale Peak explains how much he’s saved with the material alone. “We spray a lot of oils through the Cube, and sulfur for the powdery mildew, and some of these products you see for cannabis, like organishield…. You’re looking at $600 for a gallon of it. If you were to put that through a regular sprayer..well, a regular sprayer wastes a lot of spray.”
After a 2-year run with powdery mildew covering Kiler Canyon Vineyards, Don Hofer said he has reduced his mildew sprays from six per growing season to four. “Plus, we are using 50 percent of the amount of chemicals we used to use,” he said. “And it is saving us money with tractor time and expense, because it takes half the tractor time to cover the vineyard.”
Before and after
In an interview, Tom Rogers, a retired almond grower in San Joaquin Valley, CA, was asked how they sprayed almonds for 102 years in the family business. “We had used electrostatic windmill sprayers back in the day, years before. I don’t think it holds a candle to OnTarget. And then before OnTarget we used an air-blast sprayer.
“Modern almond farming in general is not a labor-intensive crop. And it’s a good rhythm – you’re always paying attention. Labor is hard to find though, WAY back in the day, in the 60s, an almond farmer said that it would take 20 men 1 month to cover 40 acres.”
But Rogers was looking for something better. He was introduced to OnTarget via their pollen suppliers.
“One of the things that [our] dad did for us, he had an open-mind. He would look at anything, and try anything. We were really fortunate – and if it made sense, we kept it.”
Steven Strong, an agronomist of Ingleby Farms, explained why OnTarget works for their pistachio farm in San Joaquin Valley, CA:
“It was an option to the standard spray machine and methodology, which was a lot of volume and a lot of water, usually 150-200 gallons per acre, and drenching the wood of the tree. Everything at our company is based on measuring something: insect populations, how many times insects repopulate. We’ve been fairly successful in biological control. But when we do spray, because we spray a large amount of acres, we look at spray efficiency, and that led us to OnTarget Spray Systems.”
No one knows the crop and field better than the people taking care of it. Representatives of OnTarget ask customers to observe the sprayer in action before buying it. More importantly, customers are then asked to provide input based on their knowledge and experience on how they can get the most efficient spray during the application.
Steve Strong said that the sprayer demo and feedback proved to be the best way OnTarget can “control the pests, with less material, fewer applications, and still with a high level of insect control to avoid damage to our product.” In return, he was able to buy a sprayer that were fine tuned to best serve his field and crop.
OnTarget’s innovation doesn’t stop at the sprayers’ technology! Steve Strong has been able to use the tech to his advantage and stop the pests before they even get onto his crop trees.
“The other thing that OnTarget allows us to do as we have become more sustainable farmers, in the last 5 years, we have cover-crops in between our trees, for different reasons. One thing we can do, is we’re studying the insect population, the harmful and beneficial insects. We can hold the bad insects in the cover crop, and with OnTarget Spray System, we can actually spray the trap crop, and if we have an insect in there that we’re worried about flying up into our trees, we can actually spray the trap crop rather than the trees. And this is highly effective.”
OnTarget wants to learn and grow with the help from farmers’ years of experience and knowledge so smarter solutions can be developed. OnTarget sprayers can help out the customer, the environment, and the consumer. From cannabis greenhouses to orchards, OnTarget will have you completely covered!