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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #436620

Research Project: In-Swath Performance and Spray Drift Characterization of Remotely Piloted Aerial Application Systems

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Project Number: 3091-22000-037-08-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jun 1, 2019
End Date: Jul 29, 2022

Objective:
This study is intended to generate practical data to evaluate in-swath performance (swath width, displacement and uniformity) and downwind spray drift as a function of certain programmed and natural variables known to affect spray performance. These include nozzle type and configuration, and wind speed. This research is intended to advance the development of RPAAS-specific best management practices (BMPs), as well as gaining information on the overall performance of RPAAS under different conditions.

Approach:
The variables associated with RPAAS spraying will be tested outdoors in a conventional spray drift study design. This includes a single, linear spray swath oriented perpendicular to the expected wind direction on the day of spraying, in-swath and downwind sampling devices to quantify both airborne and sedimenting drift particles in addition to on-target deposition, upwind negative controls and weather station, and a staging area for mixing/loading, power exchange and other RPAAS and spray system activities. Optical and fluorimetric analytical methods will be conducted on the sampling devices to develop measurements of in-swath performance and spray drift transport of the spray solution. As outputs, statistical results (relative standard deviation, comparison to target application rate, best-fit regression curves for drift deposition, etc.) will be reported to evaluate the influence of the tested variables on the quality of the application.