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License Granted for Aerial Electrostatic Spray System

By Linda McGraw
April 20, 1999

A new nozzle and aerial spraying system to cut pesticide use on agricultural crops are now on the market. Developed by an Agricultural Research Service scientist, the equipment is being manufactured and sold by a Texas company under an exclusive license granted by ARS, the chief research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The nozzle and electrostatically-charged chemical spraying system were developed by ARS agricultural engineer James B. Carlton, now retired. Carleton designed the aerial application system while working at the agency’s Areawide Pest Management Research Unit in College Station, Texas.

The system reduces the amount of chemical that must be sprayed and helps get the chemical onto the crop with less drift. The system has been shown to provide good insect control on several agricultural crops.

Spectrum Electrostatic Sprayers of San Antonio is marketing the nozzles and spraying system for airplanes. This system is most effective for low volume (LV) and ultra-low volume (ULV) applications of pesticides.

Millions of acres of grain, cotton and vegetable crops are treated annually with crop protection materials by agricultural aircraft. Additionally, millions of acres are treated annually with ULV applications of chemicals for mosquito control and outbreaks of introduced pests. This technology has the potential to reduce chemical use on these acres.

The types of chemicals that can be applied with aerial spray nozzles include liquid formulations of pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and fertilizers. Benefits of the electrostatic aerial spray system include a safer operation with less risk to the applicator and the environment.

Scientific contact: Ivan W. Kirk, ARS Areawide Pest Management Research, College Station, TX., phone (409) 260-9584, fax (409) 260-9386,