On Target a ‘Win on All Fronts’ for Tantalus Vineyards
In 2016, after surviving a particularly bad year of powdery mildew at Tantalus Vineyards in Kelowna, British Columbia, management sat down and assessed what they could do better.
Their solution: Purchase an On Target electrostatic sprayer. Three years later, they feel they made the right choice.
“Just in these first three seasons since we purchased it, the On Target sprayer has definitely paid off in the reduction of labor costs and improved quality of the fruit,” said Felix Egerer, vineyard manager for the Okanagan Valley vineyard.
“It is a nice little compact unit,” Egerer added. “I love that I can adjust the spray booms and turn them off individually and just use half of them if I am spraying a small canopy.
“And they are super easy to maintain and easy to operate,” he said.
“The on-board computer does a lot of the work for me and helps me not have to guess. I can input whatever rate I want to spray, and if I slow down, it slows down the spraying. Conversely, if I speed up, it increases the output to stay at what rate I want to spray.
“And it is easy to train up new people on the sprayer,” Egerer said.
Also, because the On Target technology uses a low-volume, Egerer is able to cut down on his refills.
“I spray between 15 and 20 gallons per acre depending on the time of year,” Egerer said. “So, I can do up to six acres per tank, a solid two-and-a-half to three hours of spraying between fill ups.
“It saves us a lot of time and helps us get everything done in the vineyard within a few days, which is critical,” he said. “When you are out spraying, you need to get to it.”
And, he said, the On Target technology more readily penetrates clusters, enabling him to access the hard-to-reach spots that can be havens for disease development.
“With the On Target, I get a more concentrated spray and the electrostatic properties help me get into harder to reach spots,” he said. “It gets into clusters right before bunch closure and coats them from the inside.”
As part of their overall effort of lowing their impact on the environment, management at Tantalus decided this past year to go with an organic spray program, a decision made easier because of the confidence Egerer has in the On Target sprayer.
“This year, I saved money and became more sustainable because I was able to switch to all organic sprays and not use the more intensive conventional ones, which also take a higher toll on the environment,” Egerer said.
“I couldn’t have done this as easily with a conventional sprayer,” he said. “For us, it is a win on all fronts.”