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Title: SAAS, a computer program for estimating pesticide spray efficiency and drift of air-assisted pesticide applications

item HONG, SEWOON - The Ohio State University
item ZHAO, LINGYING - The Ohio State University
item Zhu, Heping

Submitted to: Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2018
Publication Date: 1/25/2019
Citation: Hong, S., Zhao, L., Zhu, H. 2019. SAAS, a computer program for estimating pesticide spray efficiency and drift of air-assisted pesticide applications. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture. 155:58-68.

Interpretive Summary: Off-target chemicals from pesticide spray applications can cause significant increase in crop production cost and environmental degradation, particularly water and soil pollution as well as human health risks. Field measurement of spray drift and off-target loss is difficult and expensive because it is affected by many factors such as sampling time, air volume sampled, pesticide concentration in the air, and collection efficiency of samplers. As a complement to field tests, numerical modeling integrated with user interfaces for inputs and outputs can improve both the accessment and usability of the spray waste prediction for the purposes of regulations and better spray application practices. In this research, a universal model tool, SAAS was developed for predicting spray deposition and drift from pesticide applications using air-assisted sprayers commonly used for specialty crops. This software consisted of a database of pesticide spray deposition and drift generated by computational fluid dynamics simulations, embedded data analysis and presentation programs, and user friendly graphical interfaces. Pesticide applicators can use the software as a tool to preliminarily examine the efficiency and potential drift of a spray application under specific conditions including crop type, growth stage, tractor speed, nozzle type, ambient wind speed, air temperature, and relative humidity. The outputs of the SAAS can help spray applicators and farm managers to make tactical decisions on when applications should take place to achieve the high spray efficiency and low risk of spray drift to the environment and ecosystem.

Technical Abstract: The challenges of ground pesticide applications arise from the increased concerns on potential risks of spray drift to the environment. This paper presented development of a software application for estimation of spray efficiency and drift from pesticide applications using orchard air-assisted sprayers. The software consisted of drift database generated by CFD simulations and graphical user interfaces. The CFD simulations provided solutions to the fate and transport of pesticide spray droplets according to crop conditions, spray operating conditions, and weather conditions. The software tool provided the interpolated results based on a drift database, data analysis programs, and conditions inputs through graphic interfaces for users. The software enabled the users to estimate the spray mass balances, spray drift through airborne and ground deposition by distance, and pesticide drift setback distances to prevent the potential risk of spray drift. It is expected to help farmers in making tactical decisions for pesticide applications to enhance the spray efficiency and reduce the risk of spray drift.