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June 17, 2006

New Sprayer Arrives!

Finally! Our new CIMA P50 has completed it's journey across the Atlantic and has arrived safely at the vineyard. At last I'm done spraying the fungicide in my rainsuit riding around on the lawn tractor, and the timing couldn't be better because it's really starting to get hot. Bill Reiss from BDI scheduled our delivery for around 10 AM, so I got out to the vineyard early to do some suckering. You'll recall we did the entire vineyard in April, but because second year vines are still trying to push shoots all over the place I have to do it all over again. So since the viognier are a little less vigorous I began with them. Got a few rows done until it was time to meet Bill at the construction site.

Bill arrived and we chatted for a bit about our plans, and what we have currently planted. After that, he gave me a great overview of the sprayer while it was still sitting on his trailer. He showed me the different valves, tubing, mixing tanks, basically a thorough exam of the whole sprayer. Then we hooked it up to the tractor and did some more overview, then it was time to fire it up. Holy shit - LOUD is the word here. Basically the sprayer has a big fan on it, which is compressing a lot of air through 16 atomizers. Up close each one looks like a mini jet engine. I shut it down, then put about 20 gallons in the tank, and fired it up again so Bill could show me the different spray patterns and nozzle configurations.

We positioned the nozzles for our row width and cordon height, then it was time to figure out application rates. Essentially this is a math problem similar to spreading fertilizer whereby you calculate the tractor's speed, the area you are spreading, and the rate of distribution. The CIMA uses the following calculation:

(GPA x MPH x ER x 60) / 500

GPA = gallons per acre
MPH = miles per hour (tractor speed)
ER = effective range (row width)

Once this is calculated, you then adjust the dials on the sprayer to achieve the desired rate. Essentially the dials are graded holes of increasing size which allow more or less fluid through the valves. So to sum up, I chose 40 GPA, 3.1 MPH (B-1 gear at 2500 RPM), effective range of 9 feet. No worries.

Check out the sprayer
Side view
Current vine growth
A newly desuckered vine
Post-flowering grapes-to-be
Closeup of a young cluster

When you look at the current vine growth picture, remember what the vines looked like just two months ago...

Posted by Stephen at June 17, 2006 9:33 PM