A clean regime

Please ensure you watch the video from start to finish as it is a compulsory part of the course. The video is just over two minutes long and takes you through all the necessary steps to ensure you follow best practice for safe mixing and filling.

Effective sprayer cleaning avoids risks to other crops being sprayed and ensures the machine is always ready for the next job. This is particularly important after using herbicides where even small traces can damage sensitive crops.

Always check the label because the product may require special cleaning procedures.

Thorough sprayer cleaning procedure (NOT following the use of sulfonylurea (SU) herbicides):

1. Rinse the inside of the tank with clean water and flush out at least one tenth of the spray tank volume through the boom and hoses. (If the sprayer is fitted with a separate clean water tank this initial flush can be performed in the field and the dilute washings sprayed onto untreated areas of the target crop). Drain the tank, sump and pipework as much as possible. Wash down the outside of the equipment to remove any contamination.
2. Fill the tank with a small volume of clean water and add the cleaning agent at the recommended rate. The amount of water should be at least 10% of the spray tank volume but on wide-boom machines a larger volume may be needed because of the greater hose capacity. For 24m booms do not use less than 120 litres.
3. Start the tank wash nozzle(s). Open spray valves and operate until spray lines are full of cleaning solution (remember that it will take several seconds for the cleaning solution to reach the furthest nozzle). Close spray valves and recirculate the cleaning solution through the tank wash nozzle(s) for 10-15 minutes.
4. Flush the boom and hoses and drain the system as much as possible.
5. Remove nozzles and filters and soak in a bucket containing cleaning agent and water.
6. Repeat steps 3 and 4.
7. Rinse tank again with clean water and flush at least one tenth of the tank volume through the booms and hoses. Turn off the boom and recirculate the water through the tank wash nozzle(s) for 10 – 15 minutes. Spray out as much as possible and drain the system.
8. Dispose of the washings in accordance with legislation and industry best practice (e.g. sprayed back onto crop or via an approved biobed/biofilter.

Thorough sprayer cleaning procedure following use of sulfonylurea (SU) herbicides:

1. Immediately after spraying, drain tank completely. Any contamination on the outside of the spraying equipment should be removed by washing with clean water.
2. Rinse inside of the tank with clean water and flush through boom and hoses using at least one-tenth of the spray volume. Drain tank completely, including the sump.
3. Half fill the tank with clean water and add the cleaning agent at the recommended rate. Agitate and then flush the boom and hoses with the cleaning solution. Top up with water making sure the tank is completely full and allow to stand for 15 minutes with agitation. Again flush the boom and hoses and drain tank completely.
4. Remove nozzles and filters and soak in a bucket containing cleaning agent and water.
5. Rinse the tank with clean water and flush through the boom and hoses using at least one-tenth of the spray volume. Drain tank completely.
6. Dispose of the washings in accordance with legislation and industry best practice (e.g. sprayed back onto crop or via an approved biobed/biofilter.
Note: If it is not possible to drain the tank completely, step 3 must be repeated before going to step 4.

The Voluntary Initiative guide to sprayer cleaning contains full details on cleaning procedures and highlights the ‘hot spots’ that require particular attention. You can download it by clicking on the image below:

Thorough cleaning always pays dividends. It may take a little longer, but can prevent a whole load of trouble and ensure you pay particular attention to those ‘hot spots’, which can be sometimes overlooked.

Clean the outside of the sprayer, preferably in the field, making sure you don’t skimp on the following:

  • Boom
  • Tank – especially the back
  • Rear wheels

Pay particular attention to checking internal items including:

  • Sump
  • Pump
  • Filters
  • Pipes and hoses
  • Nozzles
  • Induction hopper

You have covered Qualifications, Application Matters, Nozzles and Cleaning. There is now an end of Lesson Test which you will need to pass to access the next lesson. You will need 80% to pass. You can re-sit the test as many times as it takes to pass.

Please ‘mark complete’ if prompted (or back to lesson) to take you to the Lesson Content and find the end of lesson test in the course grid.