As many players have found to their cost, wind is an added hazard on the links at St Andrews. In order to counter the problems wind causes for course maintenance, the St Andrews Links Trust has recently taken delivery of four new Hardi ‘Boss’ sprayers, three of which are fitted with the LARAP 3 Star Defender shrouded boom.
“Wind is always a problem when trying to spray, so the shrouded Defender booms will provide far more flexibility. In the past with an open boom sprayer, due to the wind we might only be able to spray for 10-20% of the days we would like to spray,” says Gordon Moir, links superintendent at the Trust.
“The Defender booms now give us the ability to target a problem, spray at the optimum time rather than having to wait for a window of opportunity and use the ideal application rate for the job, with no concerns about drift. The shrouded booms will also allow us to better plan routine applications and if we don’t finish the job one morning, we can be confident that we will be able to get back on the following day, which will result in improved man management.”
The four new Hardi Boss sprayers, which have been bought through local dealer Spray Techniques, have 300 litre tanks, electronic in-cab solenoid controls and are operated using Hardi 2500 Automatic spray control units, which provide computerised operation and automatically relate spray rate to forward speed.
Because cultural methods are used instead of fungicides on St Andrews Links, the three Boss sprayers fitted with the 4.5m Defender boom will be used for general herbicide and liquid fertiliser application over the five courses. The fourth sprayer has been supplied with 6m open booms and will be used specifically for iron sulphate application work on the greens.
“Because we are always in the spotlight, operator safety and public safety are important considerations. We aim to spray as much as possible first thing in the morning before many golfers are on the course. Generally we then move to the far end to keep ahead of players,” explains Mr Moir. “Having LARAP 3 Star approval, the Defender allows us to safely spray near watercourses and totally enclosing the spray boom avoids any risk of drift over the operator and public.”
Gordon adds that having the Hardi 2500 Controller fitted to each of the sprayers has made calibration far easier. Operating at rates of between 250 and 900 litres/ha, depending on product, once the application rate has been set the control unit will automatically match the flow to the forward speed, so allowing for greater accuracy and less waste.