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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Aerial Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #326470

Research Project: Aerial Application Technology for Sustainable Crop Production

Location: Aerial Application Technology Research

Title: Model based decision support system for agrochemical applications for MMAT nozzles

item Fritz, Bradley - Brad
item CZACZYK, ZBIGNIEW - Poznan University Of Life Sciences
item Hoffmann, Wesley

Submitted to: Journal of Plant Protection Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2016
Publication Date: 9/5/2016
Citation: Fritz, B.K., Czaczyk, Z., Hoffmann, W.C. 2016. Model based decision support system for agrochemical applications for MMAT nozzles. Journal of Plant Protection Research. 56(2):178-185.

Interpretive Summary: The proper selection and setup of spray nozzles is critical to the success of any agrochemical application. Scientists with the Aerial Application Technology Research Unit in College Station, TX and Poznan University of Life Sciences in Poznan, Poland conducted a series of structured experimental treatments to develop computational droplet size models for a series of ground application nozzles that are commonly used in both the US and Polish agricultural plant protection application practices. The developed models provided extremely good fits to independently collected droplet size data. The final models were incorporated into an easy to use spreadsheet based user-interface which allows applicators plant protection advisors a easy to use decision support system that can be readily used to assess and modify a sprayers performance based on the operational settings, to ensure the application is made following the recommendations on agrochemical product labels.

Technical Abstract: Droplet size, which is affected by nozzle type, nozzle setups and operation, and spray solution, is one of the most critical factors influencing spray performance (Gajtkowski 1985, Matthews 2000, Giles et al. 2005, Miller Tuck 2005, drift (Hewitt 1997), and food safety (Czaczyk Gnusowski 2007), and must be considered as part of any application scenario. Characterizing spray nozzles can be a timely and expensive proposition if the entire operational space (all combinations of spray pressure and orifice size) is to be evaluated. This research proposes a structured, experimental design that allows for the development of computational models for droplet size based on any combination of a nozzle’s potential operational settings. The develop droplet size determination model can be use as Decision Support System (DSS) for precise selection of sprayer working parameters to adapt to local field scenarios. Five nozzle types were evaluated across their complete range of orifice size and spray pressure using a response surface experimental design. Several of the models showed high levels fits of the modeled to measured data while several did not as a result of the lack of significant effect from either orifice size or spray pressure. The computational models were integrated into a spreadsheet based user interface for ease of use. The proposed experimental design provides for efficient nozzle evaluations and development of computational models that allow for the determination of droplet size spectrum and spraying classification for any combination of a given nozzle’s operational settings. The proposed DSS will allow for ready assessment and modification of a sprayers performance based on the operational settings, to ensure the application is made following recommendations in PPP labels.