New Sprayer Could Mean
Peachy Future for Growers
August 1, 2000
New spray technology could offer a
peachy future for peach, plum and nectarine growers.
Agricultural Research Service scientists
recently evaluated a superior sprayer that saves growers time and money when
they apply pesticides in their orchards.
Plant pathologist Charles C. Reilly with the ARS
Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory in Byron, Ga., studied the
effectiveness of the Proptec nozzleless sprayer in cooperation with
Michigan State University engineers who
developed the sprayer.
The sprayer is as good or better than anything growers have available,
according to Reilly. Thats because it uses about 20 percent less
chemicals per acre and cuts spraying time in half while still providing
superior coverage to fruit trees. Current air-blast equipment sprays about 50
gallons per acre, one row at a time. It shoots the spray straight into the air,
not fully covering the pest-ridden trees.
The new sprayer looks like the letter T. It travels above the
tree, rising and lowering--from 5 feet to 17 feet--to accommodate the tree
height. It sprays low-volume, uniform droplets directly down and into the tree.
It can spray two rows at once, applying 25 gallons per acre.
Another bonus is that the Proptec sprayer reduces soil compaction, because
it is relatively light-weight and does not go down every row. A grower can
easily alternate which rows the sprayer travels to minimize soil compaction.
California growers are evaluating the sprayer for grapes, blueberries and
ARS is the chief research agency of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.
Scientific contact: Charles C. Reilly, ARS Southeastern Fruit and
Tree Nut Research Laboratory, Byron, Ga.; phone (912) 956-6409, fax (912)