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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Crop Production Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366294

Research Project: Application Technologies to Improve the Effectiveness of Chemical and Biological Crop Protection Materials

Location: Crop Production Systems Research

Title: An open-sourced web application for aerial applicators to avoid spray drift caused by temperature inversion

item Huang, Yanbo
item Fisher, Daniel

Submitted to: Applied Engineering in Agriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/1/2020
Publication Date: 2/1/2021
Citation: Huang, Y., Fisher, D.K. 2021. An open-sourced web application for aerial applicators to avoid spray drift caused by temperature inversion. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 37(1): 77-87.

Interpretive Summary: To assist applicators and producers application time (time of the day)to avoid off-target drift caused by field surface temperature inversion locally, scientists at USDA ARS Crop Production Systems Research Unit at Stoneville, Mississippi have developed a website to provide online real-time guide for when a proper time to conduct aerial spray during a day. This web application was developed using inexpensive open-source hardware and software to build and deploy portable weather stations and wireless data communication and transfer over the Stoneville area. The website was adopted on mobile terminals such as tablets, smartphones and iPad as well. The Internet mobile system can provide timely guidance for aerial applicators and producers to avoid not only spray drift but also air quality issues relatively long distances downwind for better site-specific drift management.

Technical Abstract: It is important for agricultural chemical applicators to follow proper spray procedures to prevent susceptible crops from being injured far downwind. Spraying during stable atmospheric conditions should be avoided to prevent surface-temperature inversion-induced off-target drift of crop protection materials. Our previous statistical analysis determined the time sections of high likelihood of stable atmospheric conditions, which are unfavorable for spraying, during a day under clear and cloudy conditions in the hot summer months at the center of Mississippi Delta and validated the thresholds of temperature increase in the morning and temperature drop in the afternoon, respectively, with wind speeds to switch between stable and unstable atmospheric conditions. With the information we created an algorithm to calculate to determine at an instant during the day if the atmospheric conditions are favorable to spraying or not with the input of the most recent field temperature and wind speed at the instant. With this algorithm a web application has been built to provide real-time determination of atmospheric stability and hourly online recommendation of whether aerial applications are appropriate for a location and time at the area of Mississippi Delta. On the basis this study further developed another web application specifically for Stoneville, Mississippi with the data measured in 15-minute interval from weather stations, which were built with inexpensive open-source electronics, accessories and software, deployed within the area of Stoneville for more accurate online guidance for site-specific drift management. The web application is adapted for accessing on mobile terminals, such as smartphones and tablets, and provides timely guide for aerial applicators and producers to avoid spray drift and air quality issues long distances downwind in the area.