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GPS Sprayer Demonstration

July 15, 2011

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.

Quincy Law

ISU Turfgrass Research Associate




What type of nozzles do you use?

July 1, 2009

Hot temperatures and high humidity swept through much of the state last week. Undoubtedly, many of you were busy applying plant protectants at your facility. A great deal of thought is usually given to product selection, application rate and timing, spray volume, etc., but how much thought is given to the type of nozzles on your sprayer?

Spray nozzles affect the amount of product applied to an area, uniformity, and the potential for drift. Most nozzles operate between 30 and 60 psi and as pressure increases droplet size decreases and the potential for drift is greater. The four nozzle types most commonly used for turf applications are: flat-fan, air-induction, pre-orifice flat-fan, and flood-type nozzles.

Flat-fan (A): These are the most common nozzles used for turf applications and produce a fine to medium droplet. Spray coverage is excellent but drift may be a concern.




Air-induction (B): These nozzles produce a medium to coarse droplet which shatters upon contact with the leaf blade to provide better coverage. The potential for drift is reduced with air-induction nozzles.


Pre-orifice flat-fan (C): These nozzles reduce pressure internally and produce a larger droplet than the traditional flat-fan nozzles. As a result, the potential for drift is greatly reduced.



Flood-type nozzles (D & E): These nozzles produce extremely coarse droplets and drift is greatly reduced. These nozzles are great for applying products that must reach the soil but are not recommended if good coverage of the leaf blade is required.


Critical factors to consider when selecting nozzles are droplet size, chemical mode of action, and the location of the targeted pathogen. Contact mode of action products require thorough coverage of the leaf blade in order to be effective. These types of products should be applied through a nozzle which produces a fine to medium droplet size. In contrast, products that target a pest in the soil can be applied through nozzles which produce much coarser droplets.

The goal when selecting nozzles should be to achieve good coverage while minimizing drift. Products generally fail to provide adequate control when spray volumes are too low and droplet size is too coarse to provide adequate coverage. Research has shown that air-induction nozzles provide equivalent control compared to flat-fan nozzles while reducing the potential for drift.

More detailed information about nozzle selection may be viewed at:

Marcus Jones

Graduate Research Assistant


Wakonda Modification

March 1, 2010

Here are a couple of items our chief fabricator, John Phillips, has made for our operation at Wakonda Club.

1. Spray- hawk caddie for the front of our Toro 300 gallon sprayer.

2. Stands for our 200 gallon workman sprayer.








3. He's now working on a steel jig for a router so we can route our logo into our hand- made tee markers.

The sprayer stands are a great improvement. We use the workman with the high- flow hydraulics for our top dresser and for a Vicon fertilizer spreader so we are constantly switching attachments. Before this we had to hoist the sprayer off of the workman using our bobcat and some log chains. Not very safe or secure. Now we just raise it up using the four jack stands he purchased at Northern Tool and modified to fit existing slots in the sprayer. The top dresser is a TyCrop which came with its own, similar system. Cost: $400 for the stands and some scrap steel he had laying around.

John Temme, Jim Sedrel, and Taylor Eischen

Wakonda Club