Now is the time to get your sprayer properly winterized, according to Kent Shannon, MU Extension Natural Resource Engineer Specialist.
"Good winterizing and storage of your sprayer can ensure it will function properly next spring," he says. Shannon offers a few tips to make winterizing easy.
Rinse: Prior to storing sprayers for the winter they need to be thoroughly rinsed of all pesticide residues. It is better to rinse sprayers several times with a small amount of clean water than to fill it up only once. Dispose of the rinsate in a field that has proper setbacks from all water sources. Do not allow the rinsate to accumulate into puddles. It is preferable to rinse sprayers on an impervious surface where the rinsate can be collected in a secondary containment facility. At this time make sure that all water is drained out of the sprayer so no damage is caused by water freezing. Once the inside of the tank is cleaned out do not forget about the outside of the sprayer. The outside should be rinsed with clean water and if at all possible on an impervious surface and the rinsate collected. Always remember to read the label of the pesticide used and use appropriate personal protective equipment when cleaning.
Clean: Once you have the tank properly rinsed the next step is to decontaminate it. Commercial cleaning agents or some common household products can be purchased to clean your system. For a chart of the product and amount reference the following Montana State University Extension Bulletin number MT198917AG - Maintenance, Cleaning and Storage of Ground Sprayers. Remember to run the cleaning solution through the entire system including agitation and return lines. Rinse clean water through the system after it has been thoroughly cleaned opening up the nozzles and running the water until only clean water is coming out. If you have foam markers and flow meters do not forget to clean these following the manufacturer's suggestions.
Maintenance: With the sprayer is rinsed and cleaned, carefully inspect the system making note of any maintenance concerns and repairing them. Inspect nozzles, screens, hoses, valves, pumps, boom, as well as the tank. This is a good time to check for tank integrity. Refer to the January 2011 issue of Ag Connection for an article on poly tank inspections. Please remember that even though the system has been cleaned you still need to be cautious and wear all labeled personal protective equipment.
Storage: The final step is to properly store the system. Any removable parts should be removed to ensure that there is no damage during storage. For example nozzles, filters, tips, check valves, screens, pressure gauges. If at all possible store these in an area that will not freeze. Clean filters with soapy water before storage. The last step is to circulate an antifreeze solution throughout the system including the boom's hoses. Cap the boom nozzles, one or two nozzles may need to be left open to ensure total circulation remember to cap them when the system is filled, to make sure that antifreeze is in the entire system.
Source: University of Missouri Extension