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Title: Development of laser-guided precision sprayers for tree crop applications

item Zhu, Heping
item LIU, HUI - Jiangsu University
item SHEN, YUE - Jiangsu University
item CHEN, YU - The Ohio State University
item GU, JIABING - Nanjing Agricultural University
item OZKAN, ERDAL - The Ohio State University
item Derksen, Richard
item Reding, Michael - Mike
item Ranger, Christopher
item CANAS, LUIS - The Ohio State University
item Krause, Charles
item Locke, James
item ERNST, STAN - The Ohio State University
item ZONDAG, RANDY - The Ohio State University
item FULCHER, AMY - University Of Tennessee
item ROSETTA, ROBIN - Oregon State University

Submitted to: Proceedings for CIGR World Congress Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/16/2014
Publication Date: 10/17/2014
Citation: Zhu, H., Liu, H., Shen, Y., Chen, Y., Gu, J., Ozkan, E., Derksen, R.C., Reding, M.E., Ranger, C.M., Canas, L., Krause, C.R., Locke, J.C., Ernst, S., Zondag, R., Fulcher, A., Rosetta, R. 2014. Development of laser-guided precision sprayers for tree crop applications. Proceedings for CIGR World Congress Meetings. Http://

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Tree crops in nurseries and orchards have great variations in shapes, sizes, canopy densities and gaps between in-row trees. The variability requires future sprayers to be flexible to spray the amount of chemicals that can match tree structures. A precision air-assisted sprayer was developed to apply appropriate variable amounts of pesticides for orchard and ornamental nursery applications. The sprayer integrated a high-speed laser scanning sensor, a custom-designed signal processing program, an automatic flow controller, pulse-width-modulated variable-rate nozzles and a multi-port air-assisted delivery system. The accuracy and consistency of the sprayer to assess tree canopy structures and the effects of sprayer travel speeds and canopy structures on the uniformity of spray deposition and coverage inside canopies were evaluated with multiple target species in three commercial nurseries and a commercial vineyard. The spray quality inside canopies and off-target losses were compared with constant-rate applications. Pest control efficacy, reliability and durability of the sprayer were also tested in commercial nurseries in three different states. Laboratory and field tests demonstrated that the laser-guided variable-rate sprayer had the capability to automatically control spray outputs of individual nozzles to match canopy characteristics and occurrence in real time. With comparable pest control efficacies during a growing season, the laser-guided sprayer reduced pesticide use by 46% to 68%, airborne spray drift by up to 70% to 100%, and spray loss to the ground and through the space between trees by 71% to 85%. Therefore, this new generation of precision sprayers will prevent excessive pesticide use and reduce production costs, worker exposure to pesticide risks, and adverse environmental contamination.