Prevent Equipment Damage with Proper Winterization

Extend the Life of your Spray Equipment with Five Simple Steps 

After you make the last round treating pastures and before you tuck the sprayer away for the cold season, take time to prepare your equipment for winter weather. A few simple steps at the end of the season may save time and energy and prevent costly maintenance delays at the beginning of next season. Use these five maintenance tips to keep your sprayer in good working condition for years to come. 

 1. Rinse the Internal Sprayer Components

Step one is to ensure the sprayer is rinsed out from its long season of use. Do not store the sprayer with chemical still in the tank, hose lines, or spray tips, as this can cause expensive issues in the future. A few examples are cross-contamination, corrosion, and clogged tips and nozzles. This can cause not only forage crop damage, but also changes in your spray pattern. Flushing the sprayer is safely done by draining your equipment in a proper disposal location. Rinse the inside of your sprayer several times to ensure all chemical has been removed. Remove filters, drains, tips, and screens from the equipment. Clean these parts individually and reinstall all parts in dry condition. 

2. Rinse the External Sprayer Components

After rinsing the inside of the sprayer and making sure all parts have been placed back into their proper locations, it is important to clean the outside of the sprayer. This is done to ensure any chemical that may be on the outside of the spray tank, valves, or lines, has been removed. This is critical to ensure the sprayer does not accumulate any rust or exterior corrosion on the valves, tank bands, frame, or lines. 

3. Inspect the Sprayer

After cleaning the exterior of your sprayer, check all lines and the tank. Look for any dry rotting, cracks, or loose hose clamps, and be sure all nuts and bolts are attached to the frame. Check, replace, and fill all grease fittings. Check pressure gauges and any switches or levers for wear and tear, functionality, and accuracy. Conducting an inspection will allow you to catch any cracks or tank problems and repair them quickly and cost-efficiently, which will reduce headaches come spring spray season. 

 4. Winterize the Sprayer

Now that you have completed steps one through three, it is time to winterize the sprayer. The equipment should be winterized using Recreational Vehicle (RV) antifreeze. RV antifreeze is less toxic to animals and the overall environment than automotive antifreeze, and is commonly used in agriculture. Read the label of the RV antifreeze prior to purchase to confirm the temperature range is appropriate for your area.  

To winterize, circulate the RV antifreeze in the sprayer, turn on the PTO, and allow the solution to flow throughout the sprayer unit. You will want to give enough circulation time for the RV antifreeze to travel into the hoses, pumps, tips, screens, and booms (if a boom sprayer). Be sure and cap all spray tips to keep the antifreeze in the sprayer to limit waste. If you have foam markers or flowmeters, be sure and check the manufacturer's recommendation on proper winter storage. 

 5. Storage of the Sprayer

Whether you are storing your sprayer inside a barn or outside in the elements, prepare a designated place to safeguard it from potential risks. Store the sprayer in a location that will not have a lot of activity, as this will ensure that nothing strikes the exterior and damages the sprayer tank and its parts. Another storage tip is to apply adequate coverage. Covering the sprayer helps keep dirt and insects out. If the sprayer is stored outside, place a tarp or some type of covering over the sprayer to protect it from the winter weather.  

Find out more Range & Pasture information by visiting ALLIGARE.COM or contacting your local Alligare Range & Pasture representative.  

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