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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Research Project #445295

Research Project: Evaluating the Performance of a Variable Orchard Rate Sprayer with a Stereo Vision System

Location: Application Technology Research

Project Number: 5082-21620-001-025-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2024
End Date: Mar 31, 2025

Evaluate the performance of variable rate sprayers controlled by commercial-grade stereo vision systems compared to conventional sprayer in specialty and nursery crops.

A conventional trailer orchard sprayer will be converted to a variable rate sprayer by furnishing a USDA ARS ATRU developed spray controller and commercial- grade stereo vision systems. The variable rate sprayer will be tested in laboratory conditions for its accuracy in detecting artificial spray targets representing specialty crops, and in controlling spray outputs against detected targets. Then the variable rate sprayer will be mounted on a tractor, and tested for its performance as an orchard sprayer in apple orchard under field application conditions. The performance evaluation will be measured by spray depositions and coverages of the application made by the sprayer compared to ones from a conventional orchard sprayer. In addition, spray application will be made with a conventional sprayer as a performance benchmark. The performance evaluation of the variable rate sprayer will also be performed in a local commercial tree nursery under similar test conditions. Furthermore, crop protection products will be applied by the sprayer over growing seasons to evaluate the effects of the variable rate applications of the sprayer in the efficacy of crop protection products.