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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MEASUREMENT OF SPRAY DRIFT USING A COMBINATION OF LIDAR AND MICROMETEOROLOGICAL METHODS Project Number: 5030-11610-001-16
Project Type: Trust

Start Date: Jul 20, 2011
End Date: Jun 30, 2013

Objective:
1. Measure the movement of simulated spray drift using a combination of lidar and micrometeorological methods over a range of atmospheric conditions. 2. Evaluate the movement of spray droplets under different atmospheric conditions to determine the likelihood of offsite movement from a field. 3. Estimate the probability of interception of spray drift by a simulated buffer placed at the edge of a field to determine the potential for the use of bioenergy buffers as methods for the capture of spray drift. 4. Develop a decision tool to apply spray applications to reduce the potential for spray drift.

Approach:
Studies will be conducted using a combination of micrometeorological equipment (sonic anemometers, air temperature, windspeed, relative humidity, and surface temperature) with lidar to measure the movement of spray droplets as they are released from a ground-based application unit. These studies will be conducted in a commercial field using simulated spray conditions by applying water with surfactants and not pesticides. This will allow for repeated applications over the same path without having to move the equipment to obtain observations over a range of atmospheric conditions of stability, surface wetness, and windspeed. Once the data are collected from these observations an analysis will be made of the change in the spray droplet concentration with distance and time from the application unit as a function of the atmospheric conditions. These data will be assembled into a mathematical representation of the surface in order to estimate the movement of the droplet plume with time and distance across the field and allow for the development of a model to represent the movement patterns throughout a day. Once this is complete then the observations will be evaluated to determine the potential for offsite movement along with the interception by a simulated bioenergy buffer placed at the edge of the field. These initial observations will provide a base for the development of a decision support tool to predict when spray drift would occur from a field and evaluate when applications need to be made to reduce potential spray drift from applications to row crops.

Last Modified: 11/27/2014
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