After more than four decades in the business, aerial applicator Kenneth Lauderdale agrees that the SwathPRO individually optimized nozzle spray boom system revolutionized how he gets the job done.
Lauderdale, who operates Lauderdale Aerial Spraying, LLC in Burleson County near Caldwell, in Central Texas, has been in business for more than 45 years. About three years ago, he invested in the SwathPRO spray system from CapstanAG.
“I have never regretted for one moment my investment in these booms. I bought two sets right away the first day I met and talked to these guys about this boom system,” Lauderdale recalls. “The boom does everything. You don’t have to have any other extra hardware. It’s all built into this system. This is real slick.”
The SwathPRO aerial spray system allows precise and variable control of the application, controlled from the cockpit. There’s no need to land to reconfigure the system.
Lauderdale says, “We bought these things, and the service or support has never been a problem. It’s really a very simple system.”
An electronic Pulse Width Modulation solenoid is placed in-line with each nozzle. It controls flow and pressure. Lauderdale’s AT-802 airplane has 109 spray tips. “The tips are all straight-stream, three different sizes, every third one is a different size. The SwathPRO system maintains the same amount of pressure at each tip — from the center of the boom all the way out to the end.” Lauderdale appreciates being able to change the profile, or the tips or the spray swath on the fly.
“The boom does it all,” says Lauderdale. In practice, this translates in increased acreage per tank, increased productivity, better spray accuracy in hard to apply areas with immediate system performance feedback, and precise reduced boom widths for regulated applications.
“Defoliation is just phenomenal with these booms, he says. “It does great on irrigated, beautiful cotton standing five feet tall and just as dense as it can ever be. At two to three gallons per acre, the straight stream tips really do a great job for me.” These days, Lauderdale is working a larger territory than ever before, traveling greater distances than he used to. He says it’s not uncommon for him to ferry 150 or 200 miles to do a job. And the flexibility that the in-cockpit control provides has been a game changer.
“We never really know for sure what it is actually gonna be like when we get there,” Lauderdale explains. “The SwathPRO system makes that task a whole lot easier now. I can leave here with a full load and be confident that I’ll have all the tools necessary to make sure I can go that distance and get that load off without having to land and change a nozzle or a tip or reconfigure something.”
Flipping a switch is all it takes to change swath widths or increase volume and droplet size. “To me, that is worth a lot of money,” he said. “I’m sure that it would be pretty expensive in fuel and time to fly 150 or 200 miles and have to land someplace and manipulate some nozzles or change something.”
After nearly three years at work, the SwathPRO boom system has practically paid for itself. “I think it’s a great savings using these booms,” says Lauderdale. “I’m not gonna say that it can eliminate all your problems. We always fear drift, and we strive for on-target application. But I will say that since I have been working with the SwathPRO system I have not had any drift problems. I feel more comfortable with these booms. I don’t take very many chances. But again, the tools are there to help you mitigate drift.”
Lauderdale attributes his savings and peace of mind to the technology. “At this point, I don’t feel like these booms have been a great expense. They have more than satisfied me as far as the expense these booms,” Lauderdale says. “If you’ve been through a lawsuit or two, you might really appreciate a good boom. So, if you consider that to be a value, it’s been a great value for me in that respect.”
“I guess the sense of security, the feeling I get, is worth a lot to me.”
To learn more about the CapstanAG SwathPRO® individually optimized nozzle spray boom system, visit www.AirTractor.com/SwathPRO.