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Slimline Manufacturing is more than a sprayer manufacturer. They take customer service one step further by giving farmers, orchardists, and vineyard workers the information they need to stay competitive by saving money. Their Gear Up and Throttle Down (GUTD) campaign helps farmers save fuel during air blast spraying and improve early season spray coverage.
"We educate our clients using scientific backup, on how to improve coverage," said Bob McIntyre, Sales and Marketing for Slimline Manufacturing. "We show them how chemical use can be reduced by 25-40% by using new technology in nozzles and how to reduce drift and unnecessary over-spraying by using our low drift technology." That 25-40% saving in chemical use translates into 25-40% less chemicals that are seeping into the water table. The vast majority of the unnecessary spray goes over or under the canopy being sprayed.
What is Gear up and Throttle Down?
GUTD is a fuel-saving practice that can be used when drawbar loads are light (less than 75 percent of full power) and PTO (power takeoff) speed can be reduced. For maximum operating efficiency, a tractor engine should be operated near its rated capacity. However, many field operations such as spraying do not require full tractor power. Substantial fuel savings are possible by shifting to a faster gear while slowing the engine speed so the desired field speed is maintained.
How can you save?
Slimlines' Turbo-mist can be used in both vineyards and orchards. To give a more concrete example of savings, they've calculated that if you have an 80hp tractor and 500 acres, the savings you get by using Turbo-mist and the GUTD concept could pay for a new sprayer every year. If you have 100 acres, the savings could get you a new sprayer every five years.
The GUTD concept gives fuel savings of at least $2,072 per year on a 100 acre spread and tests done at Virginia Tech proved that. They used 69 tractors in the 40-80 hp range and they saved, on average, 46% on fuel. If your tractor currently burns 6.2 gph your savings could be as high as $3,466 per year. For 500 acres, you would save $17,000 each year.
Just to make sure
"With Gear Up and Throttle Down we have added components to make the system fool proof," explained McIntyre. "We recommend the use of flagging tape to give the grower insurance that he is doing the right thing at the right time and reducing drift. Growers get improved coverage while reducing chemical usage. In addition, the system reduces the carbon footprint of the farm."
One thing you must be careful of with GUTD is to not overload or lug the engine. Overloading the engine will result in higher torque at a lower engine speed than it is designed for. Excessive black smoke is one indication of an overloaded situation. To check whether the engine is overloaded, work the tractor for a short period at the desired speed and throttle setting, then rapidly open the throttle. If the engine readily picks up speed, it is not overloaded, and the original throttle setting is suitable. On the other hand, if the engine does not respond quickly, shift the gear down or increase the engine speed.
Research and Recommendations
You may be wondering, "where did Slimline get all this information and why are they promoting it?" The answer is quite easy. Several university studies have been done across the United States and Canada using the Slimline Turbo-mist sprayers. These universities include UC at Davis, Cornell in New York, Utah State, Louisiana State, Michigan State, and Washington State Universities. In Canada, Slimline Turbo-mist sprayers are used at agriculture research stations in Summerland, Guelph, and in New Brunswick. In addition, Ohio State and Virginia Tech have used their designs for reports and papers. The GUTD concept originated with Dr. Bobby Grisso, a Professor in the department of Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech.
For a more complete explanation on how GUTD could save you money and improve your spray coverage click here.
To read the complete spray drift reduction study click here
Slimline makes some of the world's best sprayers and they believe customer service doesn't end with the machinery. True customer service extends into the fields with the viticulture experts, farmers, and orchardists. For the last 21 years, they've been helping customers improve coverage and reduce drift by improving the design of their equipment. They pass along information so you, their valued customers, can save money and reduce carbon footprints. They will continue to bring you knowledge from the best of the best, thereby ensuring you get the most out of your investments.