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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #434992

Research Project: Efficacy of Intelligent Spray Technology in Apple and Grape Production

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21620-001-014-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2023

The objectives of this research will be: (1) evaluate intelligent sprayer technology for efficient management of apple and grape diseases and insect pests, and (2) compare economic profitability and cost effectiveness of intelligent sprayer technology with air blast sprayer.

Objective 1. We will evaluate the effectiveness of the intelligent sprayer technology in controlling 1) apple scab, summer apple diseases, and codling moth, and 2) grape downy mildew, black rot, powdery mildew and Japanese beetles. The trials will be conducted at experimental orchards and vineyards in Wooster OH. Fungicides and pesticides will be applied using an air-blast sprayer (treatment 1) or an intelligent sprayer (treatment 2). A non-treated control plot will be included in the study. The experimental design will be a randomized complete block design with four replications per treatment and three to six vines or trees per treatment and replication. Fungicides and insecticides used in the trial will follow recommendations of the 2018 Midwest Tree Fruit Spray Guide. Foliar disease incidence and severity will be determined at least three times during the growing season. Area under the disease progress for each disease will be calculated. At harvest fruit disease incidence will be determined. Percent leaf loss due to Japanese beetle damage on grapes will be determined at bloom and veraison. Pheromone traps will be used to monitor codling moth populations on a weekly basis. Insect injury to will be determine mid-season using non-destructive methods. At harvest, internal insect injury will be determined. For both crops marketable yield will be calculated. Analysis of variance will be used to compare treatments and means will be separated using Fisher’s Protected Least Significant Difference (LSD) test. The experiment will be conducted three times (Year 1-3). Objective 2. A partial budget analysis will be developed to compare the cost, efficiency and profitability of the two application systems. We will use data from the field experiments (Obj. 1) to compare i) costs for labor, supplies, fuel and machinery depreciation, and ii) economic efficiencies including pesticide cost, marketable yield, and profits of each application method.