Increasing spray efficacy and efficiency is driving machinery manufacturers towards further automation of sprayer technology.
John Deere product specialist for crop care Anton Kowalenko said global positioning systems had fundamentally underpinned leaps in sprayer technology over the last two decades.
"The ability to AutoTrac a sprayer and turn the boom on and off was the start of our machines becoming smarter," he said.
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Mr Kowalenko said smarter machinery really meant an increase in machine automation, with the operator doing less.
"Introducing more machine automation coupled with telematics to share data," he said.
Mr Kowalenko said the John Deere sprayer technology, ExactApply was an example of the next step in smarter spraying.
Released last year, he said the technology had made a significant impact on the market , particularly due to its flexible technology.
"Our system can spray both conventionally, as a pressure based system reliant on speed, or with a Pulse Width Modulation system that operates on 30 hertz.
"With PWM the amount you pulse, or your duty cycle, goes up and down as you change speed, this means you can maintain a constant spray pressure and constant spray quality despite your speed.
Mr Kowalenko said PWM could reduce spray drift and improve spray coverage, as you could set your desired spray droplet size, suited to the conditions, and the machine would maintain that quality throughout the spray event, while retaining the option to turn off the PWM allowed operators to utilise air-induction nozzles for drift reduction.
"A lot of people want to use AI nozzle to achieve a coarser spray droplet, and while we do not recommend AI nozzles are used when in PWM mode they can turn the system over to conventional spraying to use the AI nozzles," Kowalenko said.
"We can fit six different nozzles on our booms, so people will often run standard or pre-orifice nozzles for the PWM and AI nozzles for situations where people need to spray with a coarser droplet, they just rotate the turret and switch off the PWM."
Mr Kowalenko said the ExactApply system also featured turn-control, which prevented under or over application when turning.
"When you are using PWM and go around a corner, the outside of the boom speeds up while the inside slows down, we can change the duty cycle, or the nozzle output, across the boom," he said.
"By doing that we have an even application rate.
"While section control technology will automatically turn boom sections on and off when you cross boundaries, saving you wastage of chemicals."
Mr Kowalenko said outside of automation, material technology had made a significant impact on sprayers.
"Using carbon fibre to manufacture booms allowed us to go to bigger booms while not impacting on the machines weight," he said.