On Target a Good Fit for Organic Viticulturist
Based on prior observation, Eric Sussman of Radio-Coteau Winery in Sebastopol, California, thought the On Target Spray Systems technology would be a good fit for his organic operation.
His assessment, it turns out, was correct.
Today, four years after purchasing an On Target sprayer, Sussman is reaping several benefits from the technology, including minimal off-target drift, low water-volume requirements, equipment versatility and excellent coverage.
“The products we are using in our organic operation are softer than in a conventional system and a lot are contact-based, so coverage is very important in our operation,” he said. “That said, we have been able to get good results with the On Target technology with our organic spray program.”
Minimizing off-target drift is of particular importance to Sussman, in part because of the vineyard’s close proximity to residential housing.
“We have a lot of concerns with residential neighbors where we want to make sure that the materials we use stay in the vineyard,” he said, “and we’ve been able to do that with the On Target system.”
Also, because different blocks in his vineyard have different trellising and different row spacing, equipment versatility is important to his spraying operation. Here again, he said, the On Target technology has delivered.
“The equipment is very versatile,” Sussman said.
“We have row spacing going from six-and-a-half feet up to ten feet. We have different trellising systems. We have some head-trained vines. We have VSP, and the equipment is very versatile,” he said. “We are able to adjust things on the fly pretty easily to accommodate the different block configurations.”
On Target Spray Systems utilizes the law of attraction. With tiny electrostatic charges, the system atomizes, or positively charges, droplets that are attracted to the negatively-charged, or grounded, surface of a plant.
Also, because the droplets are positively charged, they repel one another and will not collect into large droplets that can run off plant material onto the ground. Spray from an On Target sprayer emerges from the system’s patented nozzles as a mist that evenly coats the fronts, backs and undersides of plant material, forming a bond that protects plants from disease and insect pests.
Sussman notes that maintenance requirements are a little higher with the On Target technology than with conventional sprayers. “The operator needs to be pretty heads up,” he said.
That said, however, he acknowledges that he has had no problems with the system.
“We haven’t had any equipment problems with the unit,” he said. “It’s been very dependable.”
Asked if he would recommend On Target Spray Systems to fellow growers, Sussman said: “I do recommend it. We are an advocate of the technology and the company.”