Turf managers have curiously watched and anxiously waited for technology currently used in agriculture to be scaled down for utilization in turf. GPS and auto steer on tractors, combines, and sprayers have allowed farmers to navigate fields for better coverage in less time, perform site-specific management, accurately monitor yield, increase spray efficiency, reduce fuel consumption, and even work through the night.
It was only a matter of time. Iowa State Turfgrass researchers have performed a dual demonstration of GPS turf-sprayer technology at the Horticulture Farm. The results of the demonstration will be on display at the Iowa Turfgrass Field Day on July 21, 2011 at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station.
The objective of the dual demonstration was to test the accuracy of the GPS sprayers. Two simulated “greens” were outlined in spray paint and glyphosate was applied by two different sprayers within the two painted areas. The premise was easy: kill the grass inside the spray paint. The task, however, was much more difficult.
Steve Willey of Capstan Turf Systems brought out a Toro sprayer outfitted with Capstan's sprayer technology for the trial. Capstan offers three modules of aftermarket technology, and all three were used during the demonstration. Click here to learn more about Capstan and their products.
Van Wall John Deere retrofitted a sprayer for Tim Van Loo of ISU Athletics with GPS technology for use on Iowa State's athletic fields. Mr. Van Loo repeated the process for the second part of the demo. Van Wall's website can be accessed here.
Keep in mind the two sprayers used in the demonstration weren't exactly the same units and that this was not a head-to-head competition. Reel and rotary mowers work differently and so do these sprayers. This demonstration was merely a showcase of GPS sprayer technology that is available.
Watch a short video below to see the Capstan sprayer technology in action. The sprayer demonstrations and companies involved in will be in attendance at the Turfgrass Field Day.
ISU Turfgrass Research Associate