Mike Downer of Centerline Ag Services first used an electrostatic sprayer from On Target Spray Systems while managing an Oregon blueberry farm for blueberry industry giant Munger Brothers of Delano, California.
Right off the bat, Downer said, he loved that he was able to cut his spray volume in half.
“You’re not bouncing that tractor and that driver and that equipment back and forth along farm roads to refill all the time,” he said. “And, if we wanted to, we could run lower rates of some of the materials that can give problems, and still get good efficacy of the fungicides.”
Not until he witnessed the system help revitalize a vineyard, however, did he see the full potential of On Target.
“We applied our science and some of the On Target science to reclaiming this thirty-acre Pinot noir vineyard that had been absolutely decimated by inefficiency,” Downer said.
“We were able to flip the tables and absolutely smash mildew and reclaim a crop that had been swallowed by mildew,” he said.
“It was probably one of the worst mildew vineyards out there, and, in one season, with the help of the On Target sprayer, we were able to turn it into a highly productive vineyard,” Downer said. “It was an absolute rags to riches story, and guys that had worked on that farm for five years and had never gotten a crop were pumped about what they saw. And that was a blast.”
Several factors had to fall in place for the thirty-acre vineyard to spring back to life. “The weather was in our favor, and I would say that we did a lot of things right, in that we used good materials and were vigilant about spray timing. But the one thing that I give the most credit to is the sprayer,” he said.
“We were finding right after our first spray with the On Target that material was coating the inside of little clusters, something the foreman working there at the time said he had never seen in fifteen years of working in the business,” Downer said.
Downer has since moved on from managing the Munger property. But the crew there continues to use the system.
“They are still using it, and they love it,” Downer said.
Downer, meanwhile, today has his eyes on a five acre block of Pinot noir grapes that has been let go.
“If I can rent it, my feeling is I know how to reclaim it,” he said. “I know how to get it back, because I’ve done it before. And On Target is a big part of that program.”