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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #433233

Research Project: Deposition Quality of Intelligent Sprayers used in Orchards and Nurseries

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21620-010-16-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2017
End Date: Aug 31, 2020

Objective:
To investigate spray deposition quality and off-target losses from intelligent sprayer technologies in orchards and nurseries through comparison of the overspray possibility and the uniformity of spray coverage and deposition inside and outside tree canopies with constant-rate sprayers.

Approach:
Spray deposition and coverage inside tree canopies and spray losses to the ground and air will be evaluated and compared for the sprayers with and without intelligent spray control functions. Crops in apple orchards and ornamental nurseries at three different growth stages will be selected for the field experiments. Measurements will include spray deposits and coverage at different locations inside and outside tree canopies, airborne spray deposits at five elevations and six distances downwind from the target tree rows, and ground spray losses under the target trees and at six distances downwind from the target tree rows. Artificial screen targets will be used to collect spray deposits. A non-degradable fluorescent tracer will be mixed with spray solution and will be used to quantify amount of spray deposits on the target screens with a fluorescence spectrophotometer. Water sensitive papers will be used to determine the spray coverage inside canopies with a scanning image program. Statistical analysis using ANOVA with Fisher’s LSD multiple comparison tests will be used to compare the treatment test data. The performance of the sprayers with and without intelligent spray controls will be evaluated by determining spray volume consumption and off-target losses on the ground and in the air when adequate amounts of spray deposit and spray coverage are produced by both spray systems inside target plant canopies.