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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Wooster, Ohio » Application Technology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #371108

Research Project: Improved Pest Control Application Technologies for Sustainable Crop Protection

Location: Application Technology Research

Title: Evaluation of laser-guided intelligent sprayer to control insects and diseases in ornamental nurseries and fruit farms

Author
item Chen, Liming
item Zhu, Heping

Submitted to: Journal of ASTM International
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2020
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: In ornamental nursery and commercial fruit production, pesticide applications are essential to ensure the yield and quality of the ornamental plants and fruits. To increase the efficiency of pesticide use, a laser-guided variable-rate intelligent sprayer was developed to control spray outputs to much crop canopy architectures. In this research, the use and cost of pesticides and the control of insect and disease pests in fruit plants and ornamental nurseries in two growing seasons were evaluated with the intelligent variable-rate sprayers and compared with the results achieved using conventional constant-rate sprayers as the standard spray practice. Intelligent spray technology reduced pesticide use by 60.0%, 52.8% and 50.0% on average at two nurseries and at the fruit farm, respectively. Use of intelligent spray application reduced pesticide costs by up to $809 per acre during each growing season. Moreover, there was lesser or equal severity of insect pests and diseases in plants when the intelligent spray technology was used. These results demonstrate the use of the sustainable intelligent spray technology for control of insect and disease pests benefits growers and the environment.

Technical Abstract: Intelligent spray technology is anticipated to reduce pesticide use and safeguard the environment. However, the ability of this technology to effectively control insects and disease must be validated before it is adopted by growers. Comparative tests of the ability to control pests for three different laser-guided variable-rate intelligent sprayers and the same sprayers with conventional constant-rate mode were conducted at two ornamental nurseries and one fruit farm in Ohio. Crabapple (Malus Sugar Tyme), apple (Malus pumila), maple (Acer rubrum), birch (Betula nigra), London planetree (Platanus ×acerifolia ‘Bloodgood’), dogwood (Cornus florida), peach (Prunus persica), blueberry (Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus) and raspberry (Rubus occidentalis) were used as the test plants. Intelligent spray technology reduced pesticide use by 60.0%, 52.8% and 50.0% on average at the two nurseries and at the fruit farm, respectively. Use of intelligent spray application reduced pesticide costs by up to $2000/ha during each growing season. Compared to conventional air-assisted sprayers, there was lesser or equal severity of insect pests and diseases in plants when sprayed using intelligent spray technology. These results demonstrate that the intelligent spray technology is environmentally friendly and more effective for control of insect and disease pests in ornamental tree nurseries and fruit farms.