Flow Meter Sizing

Often, application issues are due to improper flow meter selection. There is NOT a one-size-fits-all. To ensure accuracy, you need the right-sized meter. In aerial applications, selecting a flow rate that falls within an optimal range is crucial rather than being at the extreme low or high end of the flow range. This is because operating at these extremes can lead to various issues and inefficiencies:

Low Flow Range:

  • Ineffective Coverage: When operating at the low end of the flow range, the application may not provide adequate coverage. This can result in insufficient distribution of pesticides, fertilizers, or other materials, leading to uneven crop protection or nutrient delivery.
  • Risk of Drift: Low flow rates can make the droplets produced by the sprayer more susceptible to wind drift, potentially causing chemicals to be carried away from the target area and harming non-target crops, wildlife, or the environment.

High Flow Range:

  • Wastage: Operating at the high end of the flow range can lead to over-application, resulting in the wastage of expensive chemicals or resources. Over-application can also contribute to environmental concerns, including soil and water contamination.
  • Environmental Impact: Excessive flow rates can lead to environmental issues, as chemicals may run off fields and into nearby water bodies, causing pollution.

It’s essential to select a flow rate that balances efficient coverage and resource conservation to optimize aerial applications. This typically involves choosing a flow rate that provides the necessary coverage without over-applying materials. Factors such as the crop type, weather conditions, and the specific chemicals being applied should be considered when determining the ideal flow rate.

Additionally, modern aerial application equipment often includes adjustable flow rate controls and precision technology to help pilots optimize flow rates for specific conditions and achieve accurate and efficient application. These controls allow for real-time adjustments for factors like wind speed, altitude, and field conditions.

In summary, finding the correct flow rate within a practical and efficient range is crucial for effective and responsible aerial applications, ensuring that crops receive the necessary treatment while minimizing waste and environmental impact.

Satloc offers sizing calculators to help aerial applicators narrow down the size of flow meters that will work for their application needs. These are general guidelines used at Satloc when calculating flow meter size. These guidelines are only starting points and are not absolutes. Ultimately, pilots must determine the best flow meter size. 

Imperial Measurement System*

Flow Meter Table
Flow Range (Gallons Per Minute) Flow Meter Size
60 to 600 Gallons Per Minute 3”
30 to 300 Gallons Per Minute 2”
15 to 180 Gallons Per Minute 1½”
5 to 50 Gallons Per Minute 1”
2 to 15 Gallons Per Minute ¾”
.75 to 7.5 Gallons Per Minute ½”

Metric Measurement System*

Flow Meter Table
Flow Range (Liters Per Minute) Flow Meter Size
227 to 2271 Liters Per Minute 3”
113.5 to 1135.6 Liters Per Minute 2”
57 to 681 Liters Per Minute 1½”
19 to 189 Liters per minute 1”
7.5 to 57 Liters per minute ¾”
2.8 to 28 Liters per minute ½”