Recirculating Boom Options

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About Tom Wolf (Nozzle_Guy)

Tom Wolf is based in Saskatoon, SK and has 33 years research experience in the spraying business. He obtained his BSA (1987) and M.Sc. (1991) in Plant Science at the University of Manitoba, and his Ph.D. (1996) in Agronomy from the Ohio State University. Tom focuses on practical advice that is research-based to improve the efficiency of producers.

See all posts by Tom Wolf (Nozzle_Guy).

If you read this site, you know we’re fans of recirculating booms. We love them for three reasons:

  1. They save money and waste by recovering spray back to the tank during priming and rinsing
  2. They make boom cleaning easier by eliminating boom-ends
  3. They require individual nozzle shutoff, which makes for better sectional control

If you’re new to the concept of recirculating booms, read more here.

Until recently, these booms were only available on sprayers imported from outside North America, or via France’s Pommier booms that have been available as retrofits for many years. In 2018, Agco introduced their Liquid Logic system on the Rogator line, becoming the first North American manufacturer to offer a recirculating boom at the factory. Pattison Liquid also offers Recirculating booms as standard equipment on their Connect Sniper pull-type sprayer.

In the meantime, two boom retrofit kits and one sectional conversion kit have become available.

Arag Australia. The first was developed by Arag Australia, and is available there via Nozzles Online, and in Canada through Nozzle Ninja. Designed for John Deere R-Series and Case Patriot sprayers, the kit uses the existing line that feeds liquid to the outermost section and simply extend that line to the end where it enters the boom via two installed elbows. The liquid returns to the centre via the installed boom sections which are connected together by removing the boom end cap (or “aspirator” for John Deere) and replacing the gap with a section of hose. Back at the centre rack, the liquid from both booms meet in the middle. At this point, a three-way valve gives the choice to return the spray to the tank, or to receive pressure from the pump. There is also a manual valve that allows the return to be dumped for safe disposal.

Arag Boom Recirculation System (Spray Mode)
Arag Boom Recirculation System (Recirculation Mode)

The system does not tie into the sprayer’s electronics. instead, it adds a switch in the cab that the operator uses to switch from spray mode to recirculation mode. The switch is not activated at the end of each swath, but instead to prime or flush the boom.

A switch is added so the user chooses recirculation or spray mode. The boom would recirculate to prime or flush, and remain in spray mode during the spray operation.

Raven: Raven offers a recirculation kit for 3000, 4000, and 5000 series Case Patriot sprayers with Aim Command HD and an ISOBUS terminal. The approach is slightly different, as they retain the pressure feed through individual sections but also tie the sections together so the spray is returned to the tank. By including a shutoff valve between each section, the system retains the option to use conventional sectional control for high flow situations, or to isolate a section should a leak occur. The system can be configured and controlled from the sprayer monitor, either a Viper 4+, CR7, or CR12.

Raven Boom Recircualtion System schematic (from Raven manual). Note the retention of section valves and the addition of manual valves between sections.

John Deere: On March 2, 2021, John Deere announced a 2022 factory option called Pressure Recirculation and Product Reclaim. The system keeps several existing sections and adds two steel lines the flull length of each boom wing. One is for supply, the other return. As these lines approach a section, the supply is fed to one end of the section and the return is connected to the other end. On a 120′ boom, there are five recirculating sections, two on each wing and the centre.

This approach adds one more line than the other designs, and this line will hold materials that ultimately need to be cleaned, flushed, and possibly dumped or sprayed out for cleanout. A possible reason for the extra line is the ability to deliver 220 gpm to the boom, an advertised feature of John Deere high flow booms that may come in handy for topdressing liquid fertilizer. These levels of volume are not needed for pesticides.

John Deere Boom Recirculation and Reclaim. Top two lines are supply and return and extend the length of each boom wing. These connect to the existing sections on each wing, creating several smaller recirculating sections.

Drift Reduction Technology Corporation: This Wisconsin company has developed an innovative product that converts any existing plumbed section that contains boom ends into a recirculating section. It does this by incorporating a “Boom Recirculation Valve” (it calls it “SRV2″) into the original section feed line. Boom end caps are removed and replaced with sweeps and hoses that return flow to these boom valves. The flow from the boom ends is incorporated back into the sectional feed thanks to a venturi design in the recirculation valve.

A prototype of the SRV2 Boom Recirculation valve made by Drift Reduction Technology Corporation

Advantages of this design include simplicity. No moving parts are required, the valve simply recirculates the flow from the boom ends automatically whenever that section operates. Existing sectional control, whether it’s by plumbed section or individual nozzle bodies, is unaffected. Flushing the boom with water is done with normal spraying. It takes some extra time to incorporate and dilute the contents of the boom end return lines but results in a clean boom and no section end residue. We’ve seen the results of DRTs testing and agree that it works.

This product does not allow boom priming without spraying. However, a key advantage is that it can be used with direct injection since no product is returned to the tank. DRT Corporation says it will provide the necessary flow sensor and software to make this possible.

Read more about the Boom Recirculation Valve here.

All these recirculation options improve the status quo of plumbed boom sections with boom ends. They should be considered essential equipment on sprayers.