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Knapsack spraying

Best Knapsack Spraying Practices (BKSPs)

View the complete Best Knapsack Spraying Practices on this page or download the full set of practices as a pdf file (536 KB)

1.1 Purchase of pesticides

1.2 Purchase of knapsack sprayers

2 Transport of pesticides

3 Storage of pesticides

4 Before spraying pesticides

5 During spraying

6 After spraying

1.1. Purchase of pesticides

At every stage ask for advice if unsure

If you do not understand the label, seek advice; line drawing of two people viewing label (16 Kb JPEG)
Do ask for advice if unsure
  • Identify the problems to be controlled and the best methods for that control
  • Consider cultural methods and Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • When use of pesticides is the most appropriate method, determine the type of pesticide and timing of application
  • Buy pesticides from a reputable source
  • Seek advise if you do not understand the pesticide's label information
  • Get advice on safe use, storage, mixing and spraying
  • Read the label or have the label read to you, to be sure the selected pesticide will be safe for your intended use.
  • Do not buy the pesticde if the container has missing or illegible information
  • Check that the pesticide's label is easily identified with manufacturer/supplier and is [usually] supported with company logo
  • Check manufacturing date, batch of production and expiry date
At every stage of pesticide purchase – ask if unsure; pesticide user at store (11Kb JPEG)
At every stage of pesticide purchase – ask if unsure
  • Check use of WHO hazard classification (Blue, Yellow, Red band)
  • Select the pesticide, when possible, with lowest WHO hazard classification
  • Check the crops that the pesticide can be used on
  • Ensure the pesticide’s use has been registered for the crop you will spray
  • Know the pre-harvest interval and the maximum number of applications permitted in that crop
  • Understand how much pesticide to use, when and how to apply
  • Determine the amount of pesticide you need

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1.2 Purchase of knapsack sprayers

At every stage – check if unsure

Buy knapsack sprayer from reputable sources; knapsack sprayer store (16Kb JPEG)
Buy knapsack sprayer from reputable sources
  • Buy knapsack sprayers from a reputable source
  • Establish product quality and suitability for use [See ‘Buyers Guide’]
  • Identify type, size, accessories [such as nozzles, spray shields, mini-booms] and spare parts that will be needed for your planned knapsack spraying activities and having a performance capability [such as water volumes, spray pressure] for the pesticides likely to be used.
  • Study literature, commercial claims and other information sources such as web sites
  • Ensure equipment will permit safe use of pesticides
  • Buy equipment that meets recognised design and performance needs for knapsack sprayers such as those specified by FAO, National and/or International Standards (i.e. ISO 19932-1 and -2).
  • Do check if other quoted standards and/or certificates are relevant to that sprayer’s safe, effective and efficient use.
  • Only buy sprayers that will not leak pesticide solutions
  • Only buy knapsacks sprayers that are safe and comfortable for the operator to use
  • Only buy knapsack sprayers that can be filled with pesticide solution without splash, are stable on level ground and have adequate filtration systems
  • Only buy knapsack sprayers that can be safely, reliably and reproducibly calibrated and adjusted for their intended use.

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2. Transport of pesticides 

Be aware of any local legislation regarding the transport of pesticides

Pesticides (CPPs) must be transported safely; line drawing of padlocked storage box on a bicycle(11 Kb JPEG)
Pesticides (CPPs) must be transported safely
  • Transport pesticides securely and safely
  • Never leave pesticides unattended during transport
  • Ensure pesticides are in their original containers
  • Check container seals [closures] are in place and tightened to avoid leaks and spills
  • Ensure equipment is available to enable safe on and off loading if transporting heavy containers
  • Always transport pesticides in their original containers [do not decant].
  • Transport pesticides – and/or spraying equipment – separately from foodstuff, livestock or humans
  • Only transport – from the farmstead to the field – the required quantity of pesticides for the intended use.
  • Be prepared for any accidental spillage or emergency situation
    • Keep people away from any spillage
    • Contain the spread of spillage by placing absorbent material such as soil or sand around the spill
    • Carefully add soil or sand to absorb spill
    • Sweep or shovel up absorbed spill and place in strong bag
    • Label bags containing absorbed spills and seek help from product supplier for best disposal options.

Spillage of a significant volume should be notified to local emergency services

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3. Storage of pesticides

Pesticides must be stored safely; image of a lockable box. (10 Kb JPEG)
Pesticides must be stored safely
  • Higher volumes [>200 litres/Kg] of pesticides on farms, plantations and similar premises may require a purposefully built, dedicated facility
  • Locate pesticide stores away from risks of fires and floods
  • Locate pesticide stores away from human habitation and animals
  • Stores must be lockable, bunded, be fire and flood proof, ventilated and have a solid floor
  • Stores must avoid excessive temperatures of heat and cold, dampness and humidity
  • Keep store clean and tidy
  • Avoid all hazards that would risk safety
  • Do not store liquid formulations on shelves above the solid formulations
  • Smaller volumes [<200 litres/Kg] of pesticides may permit use of a dedicated storage area within a building using for example, a chest or box
  • Small volume stores must have adequate space to enable pesticides to be
    • stored tidily,
    • off the floor and safely capable of retaining spills,
    • labelled with appropriate hazard warnings,
    • located away from children and animals or any food or feed,
    • outside of any dwelling area and
    • locked at all times to avoid unauthorised access
  • Check condition of products at delivery.
  • Record all products in store; their delivery and their use.
  • Keep records in a safe place and available for emergency service.
  • Periodically check pesticides are in good condition and have not passed their expiry date
  • When pesticides have passed their expiry date then ask your supplier if he will take them back. If not then dispose of them following local best practice.

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4.Before spraying pesticides

Do not work with pesticides if you feel unwell before you start.

  • Have available an adequate supply of drinking water to avoid dehydration
  • Do not eat, smoke or drink whilst handling, working with or applying pesticides

Read and understand the pesticide's label.

  • Note label requirements for application method [especially dose, water volume and possibly nozzle type/pressure]
  • Follow label requirements for use of Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] and any hazards
  • Notify – if label advises – relevant people such as neighbours and colleagues of your intention and location of planned pesticide use 

Chose knapsack sprayer with design appropriate to planned use.

  • Check its condition and cleanliness
  • Ensure correct nozzle[s] fitted and in good condition
  • Check and test sprayer using water only [See 'check list']
  • Chose an appropriate area for sprayer calibration and pesticide solution preparation. An appropriate ‘loading’ area must be
    • away from habitation, animals, water sources/supplies,
    • have clean water available for washing,
    • be free from obstructions and trip hazards,
    • have an emergency ‘clean up’ kit [typically comprising a strong plastic bag with label, soil/sawdust or sand, broom or small shovel] available for spills.
    • dispose of absorbed spills in the locally approved manner
  • Calibrate the knapsack sprayer – with clean water only – to meet the label requirements of the pesticide to be applied
Calibrate for safe, effective and efficient use; 1. Add clean water to the clean sprayer 2. Check that the sprayer operates correctly and safely 3. Use correct nozzle height and measure swath width 4. Practice spraying at comfortable speec and with correct nozzle height 5. Fill up with clean water 6. Spray 100 square metres; measure how much water is needed to re-fill the tank. 7. To find application rate (litres/ha) multiply the amount of water measured in step 6 by 100.   Example: 100 square metres = 1/100ha. If 3 litres were used to spray 100 square metres then you are applying 3 x 100 = 300 litres/ha.(39Kb GIF)
Calibrate for safe, effective and efficient use; 1. Add clean water to the clean sprayer 2. Check that the sprayer operates correctly and safely 3. Use correct nozzle height and measure swath width 4. Practice spraying at comfortable speec and with correct nozzle height 5. Fill up with clean water 6. Spray 100 square metres; measure how much water is needed to re-fill the tank. 7. To find application rate (litres/ha) multiply the amount of water measured in step 6 by 100. Example: 100 square metres = 1/100ha. If 3 litres were used to spray 100 square metres then you are applying 3 x 100 = 300 litres/ha.
  • Calibrate at least once a year (or whenever the field condition/crop, operator, nozzle, application rate or other spraying requirements are changed)
  • Have suitable spare parts – such as nozzles, seals, O-rings, cup washers, valves – available
  • Calibrate using methods described by the manufacturer of the pesticide and/or the sprayer
  • Consider use of techniques that reduce spray drift such as shields

Consider use of knapsack sprayer booms when spraying wider swaths; image of sprayer boom spraying wider swath (28Kb JPEG)
Consider use of knapsack sprayer booms when spraying wider swaths
  • Change nozzle size rather than use unadvised/inappropriate spraying speeds and/or spraying pressures to apply intended dose.
  • Practice spraying in the intended area using water only – before mixing and preparing pesticides – if in any doubt about operator skill and safety
  • Keep people and livestock out of areas to be treated and – unless pesticide label advises differently – until the sprayed deposit has dried
  • Wear PPE – as defined by label – when preparing pesticide solution
  • Never decant pesticides into other containers
Triple rinse emptied pesticide containers; shaking a water filled container (64Kb JPEG)
Triple rinse emptied pesticide containers
  • Use dedicated equipment for measuring and weighing products such as a graduated measuring jug or measuring device supplied with the product
  • Do not use food containers or cutlery
  • Use safe pouring practices and do not splash pesticide in work place and/or over equipment
  • Check label advice on loading sequence/methods especially when preparing a spray solution with more than one pesticide
  • Triple rinse emptied pesticide containers adding rinsate to the spray tank for immediate use
  • Use prepared pesticide solutions as soon as possible
  • Immediately wash off any pesticide on the user, PPE or equipment
  • Do not leave pesticides unsupervised by competent adult and/or within reach of children or animals
  • Return all unused pesticides to locked safe store
  • Clean all equipment used to prepare pesticides solutions taking great care not to contaminate any drinking water sources

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5. During Spraying

Use the advised PPE

Spray without walking through ‘just sprayed area’; spraying pesticides in a field (12Kb JPEG)
Spray without walking through ‘just sprayed area’
  • Establish a spraying plan that ensures all intended spray areas are treated just once in the safest manner (for example, start spraying on downwind edge of area) and the most efficient (for example, use canes to identify which rows to treat next)
  • Be prepared for leaks and other incidents
  • Maintain the calibrated walking speed when spraying
  • Maintain the nozzle(s) at the calibrated height
  • Maintain the calibrated spray liquid pressure
  • Spray without walking through ‘just sprayed’ vegetation
  • Make adjustments and/or minor repairs [using original parts] immediately and safely
  • Spray (and, when appropriate, adjacent to it) upwind of the area just treated such that wind blows drift away from the operator
  • Do not allow spray drift to be a risk to downwind bystanders, crops, and/or animals
  • Do not allow spray to contaminate water
  • Do not spray if target vegetation is wet or if it is about to rain
  • Do not spray in higher wind speeds
  • Do not spray if ambient temperatures exceed that range stated on the pesticide label and/or by spray equipment manufacturer

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6. After Spraying

Clean knapsack sprayer after use: inside outside and components such as filters and nozzles (46Kb JPEG)
Clean knapsack sprayer after use: inside outside and components such as filters and nozzles
  • Ensure spraying and related equipment is washed clean before leaving the field of use
  • Clean sprayer’s internal components such as tank and pump by adding at least 0.5 litres of clean water, circulating that liquid by pumping back to tank through spray lance and spraying out in an under-dosed area within the field just treated. Immediately, repeat this cleaning routine at least once more
  • Clean sprayer’s external surfaces as described by manufacturer
  • Never wash or clean equipment in, or next to open water bodies. Ensure that washings are evenly spread on soil surfaces
  • Note – and rectify – any requirements needed to maintain the equipment for further use
  • Maintain equipment as described by the manufacturer. Grease [if fitted] the pump as instructed
  • Store equipment safely away from animals and children
  • Do not store the sprayer in the sun and protect from frost
  • Use a sign that indicates the area has recently been sprayed
  • Do not re-enter treated crop until it is safe to do so (normally 12-24 hours but follow pesticide label recommendations)
  • Keep other people and animals out until it is safe.

Keep other people and animals out until it is safe; illustration (18 Kb JPEG)
Keep other people and animals out until it is safe
  • Pierce or damage emptied, triple rinsed pesticide containers so that they cannot be reused
  • Dispose of containers following existing local regulations or legal requirements
  • Use collection and recycling schemes for emptied, triple washed pesticide containers wherever possible
  • Use domestic waste collections – where permitted – to dispose of emptied, triple washed pesticide containers

Do not discard empty containers; discarded empty containters (66 Kb JPEG)
Do not discard empty containers
  • Bury or burn emptied, triple rinsed, punctured pesticide containers only where permitted and in an area using methods that do not pose risks to water, environment, humans and/or livestock.
    • Burn emptied, triple rinsed, punctured pesticide containers away from people, livestock and buildings.
    • Avoid smoke and bury ash in a deep [>0.5 m] pit.
    • Do not inhale smoke
    • Bury emptied, triple rinsed, punctured,compressed pesticide containers in a deep [>0.5m] pit.
  • Locate burial pits away from wells and surface water in a location which
    • is not prone to flooding,
    • is 2 m above ground water level and
    • where any seepage could not pollute drinking water and
    • animal and human activities will not uncover that waste
  • Use biodegradable household waste to cover buried pesticide containers to assist their biological degradation
  • Fence off and clearly sign burial pit area
  • Cover filled burial pits, with soil then plant bushes to limit drainage of rain water
  • Do not discard empty containers in the field, ditches or water courses
  • Do not reuse empty pesticide containers for any other purpose
  • Do not bury, burn or recycle unwashed pesticide containers

Wash body from head downwards and wash clothes used for spraying separately; line drawing (21Kb JPEG)
Wash body from head downwards and wash clothes used for spraying separately
  • Do not allow children near pesticide waste
  • Do not allow pesticide containers to accumulate above your safe storage capacity
  • Do not allow pesticide container washings to enter any water course
  • Wash thoroughly after any activity involving the use of pesticides
  • Wash in an area that would not contaminate drinking water sources or water courses
  • Wash body from head downwards
  • Keep clothes used for spraying separate from all others
  • Wash clothes used for spraying separately
  • Record the pesticide used, quantity and purpose for its use
  • Record date, location and name of operator [See 'records']
  • Record the crop, its condition and weather details
  • Record any problems.

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