203-10 Survey of Spreader Calibration and Application Practices of Indiana Lawn Care Operators.

See more from this Division: ASA Section: Education & Extension
See more from this Session: General Education & Extension: II
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Hall C, Street Level
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Aaron Patton and Daniel Weisenberger, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Calibration is a necessary practice needed to ensure the correct amount of product is properly and uniformly applied over a given area. New technology has become available to Lawn Care Operators (LCOs) that allows for both spraying and spreading with the same piece of equipment. This type of equipment is often referred to as ride-on spreader/sprayers. Survey data was collected on the use of these ride-on sprayer/spreaders following three separate presentations on equipment calibration to lawn care operators in Indiana. The results of those surveyed showed that 100% of granular applications where made using rotary spreaders as opposed to drop spreaders with 30% using walk-behind spreaders and 70% using ride-on spreaders. Fertilizers (100%) were the most commonly applied product with a spreader followed by herbicides (53%), insecticides (53%), and fungicides (35%). When asked how often they calibrated the most frequent answers were “every time” they used the spreader or “semi-annually (2-4 times per year)”. Rotary spreaders require calibration for both quantity and distribution pattern, with 82% of LCOs calibrating for both. If a company owned more than one of a particular make/model spreader they calibrated each separately 85% of the time rather than using one setting for all. When participants were asked if they “understood how to calibrate a spreader” 79% answered yes prior to the start of the seminar, while 96% answered yes following the seminar. This data provides some confidence that spreaders are being properly calibrated by lawn care operators, but it also emphasizes that additional training is still needed and that as new technology becomes available it is important that extension products be developed to meet these emerging needs.