The 'buzz' from Kensett is not surprising when you consider that Dr Ruth Mann is preparing a seminar for airing at the BTME in Harrogate that will detail the results of a full trial and the benefits available from innovative implementation of technology that is merged from old and new.
The claim from manufacturers is that the Enviromist can actually save you money and Dr Mann of the STRI backs this up; "It definitely reduces the amount of water that you need to apply with a product; for example if you would normally apply 300 litres per hectare with Primo Maxx, you can do it with 30 litres." So saving a resource, saving on trips back to the sheds, saving time and saving money. With less chemical being required for the same amount of coverage - and the likelihood is that the coverage is more efficiently applied - the environmental lobbyists will be hard pushed to complain about this machine.
Syngenta were involved in the trials - under a range of environmental conditions and specific turf management regimes - and these have confirmed the opportunity to make significant improvements in application, and with it get better results from the spray programme.
"Achieving good coverage of the target leaf area is fundamental to get the best results from all fungicides and herbicides. The trials have confirmed that the Enviromist can effectively deliver very good results at faster speeds - ensuring more timely spray application and minimising disruption." Concluded Syngenta's Simon Barnaby.
The ingenuity of this machine is to be found in the mix of old and new technologies; Dr Mann pointed out that "I saw this technology in agriculture 20 years ago and I don't know why it hasn't been used in amenity, no idea. It must be one of those things that somehow got parked and was forgotten about."
The key technology consists of a rotary atomiser, it is simple and it is now even more effective according to Terry Royston of Micron Sprayers: "The way these guys have used this technology is totally high-tech, but it is very simple too - that's why it works. The Enviromist sprayers can offer ultra low volume coverage that will allow the chemical to sit on the finest of leaves, not just crash straight past it."
And that is the key to the machine - simplicity. The bullet-proof nature of the technology is hinted at by the fact that many thousands of units (largely in the knapsack format) are currently being exported all around the world for spraying cotton crops and for bracken spraying in upland regions.
For the fine turf market though the more sophisticated shrouded boom models are of more interest; the combination of low volume controlled droplet application and conventional high volume nozzle application within the confines of a drift-reducing shroud is unique. This feature allows for a variety of uses and cost savings according to Royston: "You can get away with 350-500 litres per hectare with this and you get twenty times better coverage than with a standard sprayer. You can spray for nine hours with a 500-litre tank, nine hours! How much time is that going to save when you haven't got to get back to the sheds every couple of hours to fill up?" This point being emphasised with the capability of spraying 18 fairways with one tank…
The environmental aspect is not lost on Distributor, Keith Kensett either, "Of course it's better for the environment: you are using less chemicals, less water and saving a hell of a lot of time in filling up. Speak to Floratine in Florida, speak with the STRI, speak with Syngenta - I know that they will sing its praises, it's a great machine and it's going to be huge across Europe - especially as more and more laws come in regarding the use of chemicals."
Wait a minute - surely Syngenta wouldn't want a sprayer that causes the greenkeeper to use fewer chemicals? "Look" explained Kensett with the air of a patient teacher, "Because you use so much less of the product with this sprayer, it means that premium chemicals are now an option for the smaller clubs, for the greenkeeper with a smaller budget so it makes sense for the manufacturers of these products to be in favour of our sprayer."
The high tech element comes in the form of the higher pressure nozzles, electronic alarms to ensure that all applications are within set parameters and a shroud system that actually allows for spraying on days when most other sprayers are confined to the shed.
Dr Ruth Mann's seminar, 'The Future of Spraying', will be presented at BTME on Thursday 22 January 2009 at 1.15 - 1.45 in The Queen's Suite at Harrogate International Centre.
For more information contact R & K Kensett Ltd
Tel: +44 (0) 1883 342632
Fax: +44 (0) 1883 340461
Mob: +44 (0) 7860 941267