Spray Like A Pro: Q&A With Veteran Applicator, Todd Beukema

Todd Beukema, operations technician for Landus Cooperative since 1994. It is estimated Todd has sprayed more than 750,000 acres for Landus Cooperative since joining the team.
Q. What size tips should I use for which product?
It’s all based on the speed you can go and the volume required on the label. There are several resources to help you formulate the tip size. If you don’t have access to one, the application teams at Landus Cooperative can help you formulate.
Q. What do I do for a good clean out process?
If you’re switching between corn and bean acres or switching to a corn or bean seed, I recommend a triple washout. 1st, just water. 2nd use a good tank cleaning agent. The bottle states the ratio of “soap” to water. Most recommend letting the solution sit in the lines, tips and tank for 24 hours. Then, I recommend a 3rd and final water rinse. Most importantly, take your time!
Q. How do I make sure I get the product out of the end of the lines?
Many rig set-ups offer end caps that can be removed and replaced with clean out valves. That allows product to rinse thoroughly to the end of the line.
Q. What is one sure-fire troubleshoot for avoiding plugged lines or hoses?
I carry an extra set of screens when I’m out in the field. Usually they’re about 40 bucks and if I’m in a hurry in switching products, it’s key to get that screen clean. Atrazine likes to stick so the screen, so I definitely switch out screens when I’m spraying with Atrazine. Then, I send the dirty screen back w/ the tender to rinse out and return it with the next load so I’ve always got a spare.
Q. I’ve got a new guy on the team who’s going to spray. What advice should I give him?
It’s the same advice I give new applicators at Landus Cooperative.
  1. Before you leave the lot or the home place, spray water through your rig to ensure the lines are tight and your tips are flowing freely. When you are loaded and in the field it’s too late to find those problems. Be ready before you load and leave the yard.
  2. Carry and understand a drift control agent. Some products require fog and some require droplets. In our business, we don’t often have the luxury of waiting for the wind to change directions or die down, so we need to know how and when we can use a drift control product.
  3. Take your time. Don’t try to push too hard. You’re better off to do it right the first time. Make sure to back all the way into the corners. That’s where a good applicator shines is if his corner applications are well done.
  4. If you do make a mistake, stay calm and use it as a learning experience. Do everything you can to understand why and how the problem occurred and work to do it better next time.
  5. Never rely solely on the technology. The computer is important, but it is not everything. You have to truly understand your machine and what you’re doing should technology fail.
Q. What’s the perfect day to spray? 
A spring day, with one product on a big, square field with on-time tenders!