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Aerial Applicator Used For Ground Spraying
A new "airblast" sprayer that's in use on airplane sprayers around the world is ready to be introduced to U.S. and Canadian farmers as a boom-mounted ground sprayer.
Imported from Britain, the Microair airblast sprayer has been used aerially for more than 30 years in Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Central America, Europe, the United States and many other areas of the world on everything from row crops to bananas. With the increased interest in lower chemical application rates, the sprayer has been adapted to ground use. Testing is being conducted in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
"It's a tough, solid unit that's precision built," says Bruce Keilen, a Lansing, Mich., farmer who has operated a Micronair equipped sprayer for the past two years. "It gives us super penetration on vegetable crops such as potatoes and carrots. We also own a sprayer equipped with Micromax spinner heads and the difference is that the Micronair gives you much more driving force that coats the entire plant. The Micronair spray heads are also adjustable so you can adapt to various crops and chemicals."
"With the Micronair we are now using 8 to 9 gal. of chemical per acre compared to 50 gal. with conventional sprayers. This represents a tremendous time saving for us and we're getting as good or better coverage than before," says Keilen, adding that his Micromax sprayer uses about the same amount of chemical as the Micronair, although rates are still being tested.
Micronair spray heads have a nozzle mounted at the center of a hydraulically driven fan (on airplanes, the fan is driven by the air stream). The angles on the fan blades are adjustable to vary the droplet size according to the chemical and the condition of the crop being treated. And they're fitted with nozzles that, the company says, "don't plug up, even when handling heavy mineral supplements".
Micronair spray heads aren't cheap at $1,200 each but Eric Ehlinger, of Micronair Sales and Service Inc., the Miami-based importer of the product, says the ruggedness and performance of the units justify the cost.
"Our spray heads are high-precision equipment designed to last for years and meet the high standards set by the aviation industry. We feel they'll last years longer than any other spray head currently on the market," says Ehlinger.
Bruce Keilen says that his next sprayer will definitely be fitted with Micronair spray heads. "We like the ruggedness and control the sprayer gives us," he says.
A factor in comparing the price of Micronair spray heads to the Micromax spinner heads is that the Micronair heads cover more ground, says Bruce Keilen. He has two 42-ft. sprayers, one outfitted with Micromax spray heads and the other equipped with Micronair air blast heads. The Micromax boom has ten heads and the Micronair has just seven. The company also has a smaller version of the Micronair that sells for $998. Testing is also currently being conducted on that model.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Eric Ehlinger, Micronair Sales & Service, Inc., 7792 N.W. 54th St., Miami, Fla. 33166 (ph 305 592-9250).

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1983 - Volume #7, Issue #6