EElectrostatic system reduces application costs

Unlike other aerial spray systems, the Spectrum electrostatic system does not require the addition of crop oil to the spray solution. Poulsen says that represents a direct savings to growers of at least $1.50 per hectare. “If a soybean grower in the Mato Grosso has 10,000 hectares of soybeans, that means he saves $15,000 every time those fields are sprayed,” he points out.

The system also reduces costs for applicators. Since ag pilots using the electrostatic system can spray up to three times as many acres per trip compared with a high volume spray system, that means fewer refills, less time at the loading pad, and significantly less fuel consumption.

How can U.S. soybean growers use the electrostatic system?

Over the past six years, the Spectrum electrostatic aerial spray system has been successfully used on a variety of piston and turbine-powered fixed-wing aircraft to apply fungicides, insecticides and herbicides for cotton, rice, cereal grains, soybeans and other crops. The system is now in use in the United States, Australia, Africa and South America, and the first system was recently sold to China. An electrostatic system has also been installed on a Bell JetRanger helicopter to spray vegetable and cotton crops.

Ironically, while the U.S. government owns the patent on the electrostatic aerial spray system, federal regulations may prohibit U.S. soybean growers from using the same technology that is now being used in Brazil for soybean rust control. While the electrostatic system is engineered to work at one gallon of spray solution per acre, the labels of most fungicides approved for control of soybean rust in the U.S. presently require a minimum of 5 gallons of water in the spray solution.

“Chemical companies are now taking a close look at the electrostatic spray system,” says Blake Dobbins, president of Spectrum. “But if U.S. growers and aerial applicators want to use the electrostatic system this season, they’ll need to seek label exemptions from their state pesticide authorities, or ask the chemical companies to make label changes allowing them to apply fungicides at one gallon of solution per acre.”

For more information:

Spectrum Electrostatic Sprayers, Inc.

7500 San Felipe, Suite 860, Houston, TX 77063. Ph. 713-783-5771. Fax 713-783-5772.

Email or visit the Spectrum web site at


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