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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #438276

Research Project: Spray Drift Characterization of a Remotely Piloted Aerial Application System

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Project Number: 3091-22000-037-011-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Oct 1, 2020
End Date: Sep 30, 2022

To evaluate swath width, displacement, and uniformity as well as downwind spray drift as a function of nozzle type and configuration, and wind speed. The data generated will support the development of unmanned aerial vehicle specific best management practices for spray application to optimize performance under varying operational and meteorological conditions.

The effect of applied droplet size (as a function of nozzle type and operational settings) on deposition and transport of sprays applied using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will be evaluated through a series of spray drift trials alongside standard ground boom applications applying similar droplet sized sprays. A single, linear spray swath oriented perpendicular to the wind direction with samplers located both within the anticipated deposition area and downwind of the application site will be used to measure the effective deposition pattern and rate, as well as the fraction of the spray moving off-target. Detailed meteorological data will be collected during each spray trial and used as a metric in analysis and modeling efforts. Spray deposition patterns will be evaluated and the nozzle and boom configuration adjusted to optimize multiple pass, broadcast application uniformity. A key component of this work will be determination of the swath displacement relative to the application site and its correlation to wind speed and direction, spray droplet size, and application height. The collected data will be used to establish a series of spray deposition and drift curves that will provide for operational guidance in the absence of available physical drift models specific to UAV systems.