Electrostatic Technology in Organic Spray Applications Boosts Sustainability and Conserves Resources Now and into the Future
Homegrown citrus and blueberry farms were among the very first to adopt and experiment with new and advanced electrostatic spray technology when it was introduced to the market. The use of this technology in Homegrown farming programs has resulted in a tremendous boost to the farms’ sustainability and wiser use of resources.
Conserving with the Power of Physics
“We started looking at sustainability and our carbon footprint, and we decided that our part in reducing the tonnage of materials sprayed into the atmosphere every year was to start to look at alternative sources for spray applications,” said Don Mabs, who oversees farming operations for several Homegrown citrus farms in California. Don’s team kept their eyes open and was among the first to invest in these advanced electrostatic spray rigs.
“Electrostatic technology affords tremendous savings. You use about half the volume of materials, so your cost goes down and it becomes a huge benefit to the environment around us. The volume of water we use now with the electrostatic sprayer is a fraction of what it was with a conventional sprayer. On some sprays we can go down as low as 50 gallons to the acre, compared to say 250 to 500 gallons to the acre of conventional sprayers,” Don said, adding, “I believe it’s much more efficient.”
Electrostatic sprayers are different because they bring the power of electrostatic forces to the field, giving microscopic water droplets a positive electrical charge as they exit the sprayer through patented spray nozzles. These droplets are then drawn to the negative charge of the plants in the field, clinging even to the undersides of leaves and the far sides of fruit. The coverage is better, and because of the attraction of spray particles to the plants, the product being applied goes exactly where farmers need it and not into the air as drift. Electrostatic sprayers are also able to effectively cover more ground more quickly, requiring less spray rig equipment, less labor, and less fuel because fewer fill-ups are needed.
According to Don, the benefits of finding effective uses of continually improving technologies, like these spray rigs, reach even further beyond their immediate application in the field.
“We’re constantly making discoveries as we advance this organic program, and when we find a technology that works and helps save limited resources, it’s a very satisfying feeling, like making a contribution to preserving something for the future generations,” he reflected. “It’s a continual process of discovery.”