Fieldin Report

How Operational Data Helps Optimize Hullsplit Sprays

Fieldin Data Shows Nearly Half of Hullsplit Spray Events Didn’t Meet Recommendation the Past Two Seasons

Navel orangeworm research funded by the Almond Board of California shows that “proper sprayer speed and spray volume are often overlooked during hullsplit, even though research repeatedly shows that slowing down improves coverage.”

The research adds that “sprayer speeds should remain at the recommended 2 miles per hour to ensure better coverage.”

While the recommendation is a good rule of thumb, we all know every block and operation are different, and spray speed and volume may vary depending on a number of factors (orchard size, tree age, variety, spacing, equipment, operator experience, etc.).

That said, are almond operations meeting to the 2.0 mph recommendation? Not exactly. According to Fieldin data from the past two seasons, only about half of hullsplit spray events monitored met the recommendation. Here’s a closer look at those numbers, and what they mean for the industry: 

Hullsplit Spray Data

Fieldin Hullsplit Spray Data Results

Leveraging Fieldin’s proprietary Smart Spraying data from the past two seasons, aggregating average spray speed from thousands of spray events across more than 550K acres, we see that nearly half of almond hullsplit spray events aren’t hitting the 2 mph recommendation:

  • 2018 Season:  56% met the 2.0 mph recommendation, while 23% sprayed at 2.5 mph and 21% at 3.0 mph.
  • 2019 Season:  45% hit the 2.0 mph spray recommendation, while 37% sprayed at 2.5 mph and 18% at 3 mph.

Over the past two seasons combined, 48% of spray events met the 2.0 mph threshold, while 32% sprayed at 2.5 mph and 19% at 3.0 mph.

Hullsplit Spray Data Analysis 

So what does this data mean? Are growers ignoring the industry recommendations? Again, not exactly. While sprays are being carried out at various speeds, the numbers shed light on an ongoing pain point for growers: visibility into field operations.

Here at Fieldin, we often see that the recommendation itself isn’t the issue with spraying. Again, spray speed recommendations are a target, but actual speeds may vary block to block depending on equipment, age, size/spacing of an orchard, and dozens of other factors. The recommendation is just that, a recommendation.

It’s carrying out that recommendation that’s the challenge, and ensuring the right speed, timing and coverage are taking place across the entire orchard. In some cases, a manager will call for slower speeds during a spray. But was a row missed? Did the operator drive too fast on the last block of the night? Was there a double spray on another block?

Without a smart spray monitoring service like Fieldin, tracking what actually happens during a spray event can be next to impossible.

Transforming Spray Operations with Actionable data

Hull Split Spray efficienciesFieldin helps managers track Operational Efficiency (or the net time of spraying within a shift) with real-time orchard data from spraying, harvesting and other mechanized cultural practices. Using Fieldin’s web and mobile apps, instant alerts and email reports, growers leverage actionable data to correct spray issues and ensure they don’t continue over the course of a season.

In looking at Fieldin data the past two seasons, the good news is a majority of new users optimized their spray activities over the course of the season (and in some cases, during a single spray event), and improve spray efficiencies by an average of 15-20%. This not only reduces spray and other operational costs such as labor, but helps cut down on NOW damage, which, according to a report by the University of California Cooperative Extension, can cost growers as much as $1,742 an acre (at 20% damage).

In return, using Fieldin to help optimize spray applications over the course of a season can have both an operational and agronomic impact, adding up to a cost savings of more than $570 an acre per season.

Operational Impact:

Fieldin allows growers to monitor and improve Operational Efficiency*, or net time of spraying within a shift:

  Inefficient Operator CA Gold Standard¹
Efficiency* 44% 72%
Acres/hour 2.17 5.4
Cost/sprayed acre² $36.86 $14.81
Cost/acre/season³ $368.60 $148.10
Bottom line: $220 an acre more per season
Agronomic Impact:

Poor speed, missed rows and bad coverage can affect pest pressure, and have a direct impact on crop health:

Sprayer avg. acres/season 600
Potential yield damage^ 7%
Potential damage/acre^^ $350
Bottom line: $350 an acre more per season
Potential Savings per Season:
$
0
/ acre

*Operational Efficiency, or net time of spraying within a shift.
¹ Top 5% shifts of 100 GPA, 2.2 mph sprays
² Based on costs of $80/hour
³ Based on 10 cycles/season
^ Farm Progress Report on NOW
^^ Based on $5k/acre income

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Contact us below for more information on our spray tracking data, and a demo from one of our local experts: