I used this “Homemade” ATV sprayers for my vineyard the last 3 years, and last month the fan axel broke. What did this mean? For 3 weeks I had to back-pack spray to prevent powdery mildew. For those of you not familiar with this…You fill a spray pack with 4 gallons of water with organic spray material, like Stylet Oil, and then pump it to pressurize it continually and walk with 40 pounds on your back for about 5 miles. Not a lot of fun…but it should prevent disease later in the year. The good news for me is it has not been to warm, so the disease pressure is low!
Finally after waiting for 2 weeks for the replacement fan, I got it up and running last week and it seems as good as new.
Just because I’m organic does not mean I don’t have to spray…..in fact being organic the chemical you can use have to be sprayed every 7-10 days instead of around 14 days in a conventional vineyard. The biggest issue I have being in the Russian River Valley (Sonoma County) is Powdery Mildew, so I either have to spray Stylet Oil or Serenade. In addition, in the spring I spray copper to enhance bloom. I can use it for foliar spraying as well, but since my vines are very healthy this year I won’t have to do that.
I purchased this small sprayer that was designed for an ATV from a firm in the mid-west and then had a local person make a custom trailer and plenum. I tried it on Thursday May 24th and did about 10 rows before the wheels literally fell off (see last picture). I had to back pack spray Friday….started at 6am to get it done. Off it went and on Saturday got some very beefy wheels and will try it again this next week. In addition we changed the plenum a little to enhance the air flow. Hopefully this will now ruffle the leaves sufficiently to evenly coat them as I will have a full canopy later in the year and back pack spraying won’t work well.