Location: Application Technology ResearchTitle: Canopy spray application technology in specialty crops: A slowly evolving landscape
|WARNEKE, BRENT - Oregon State University|
|PSCHEIDT, JAY - Oregon State University|
|NACKLEY, LLOYD - Oregon State University|
Submitted to: Pest Management Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/31/2020
Publication Date: 11/18/2020
Citation: Warneke, B., Zhu, H., Pscheidt, J., Nackley, L. 2020. Canopy spray application technology in specialty crops: A slowly evolving landscape. Pest Management Science. 77(5):2157–2164. https://doi.org/10.1002/ps.6167.
Interpretive Summary: Regular pesticide applications have protected specialty crops from attacks by insects and diseases to achieve quality attributes required for stringent markets. However, antiquated pesticide application technologies commonly used by specialty crop producers have caused significant chemical wastage and off target drift. In this paper, literatures are reviewed for available precision spray technologies that can result in remarkable improvements to these parameters. Current pesticide application practices and potentials of future widespread adoption of precision sprayers are analyzed in respect with interplay of competing interests among sprayer manufacturers, chemical companies and regulating agencies as well as benefits to growers. As farm labor becomes more expensive and less reliable, consumers and regulations favor sustainably produced products, thus motivations to improve spray application efficiency are increasing. Continued development and use of precision agriculture technology will displace antiquated technology as market and business incentives lead to comparative advantages of using precision pesticide sprayers over traditional sprayers. To facilitate this process, regulations will play a key role in disincentivizing the use of imprecise technology, and further research and demonstration of the benefits of using precision spray technologies will improve the confidence of farmers in the technology and help shift market demand. It is anticipated the new laser sensor-controlled intelligent spray technology that applies a proportionate amount of spray based on plant foliage volume and canopy architecture will likely be the primary technology in reducing pesticide waste in future sustainable specialty crop production.
Technical Abstract: Many specialty crops (defined by USDA as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, nursery and floricultural crops) are susceptible to insects and diseases, and as such are reliant on regular pesticide applications to achieve quality attributes required for salability in markets. The majority of specialty crop producers continue to use antiquated pesticide application technologies such as the axial fan air blast sprayer that has respectively been associated with chemical wastage and off target drift of around 40% and 15% of total applied spray volume. However, precision sprayers are available that result in remarkable improvements to these parameters. Wide-scale adoption of precision sprayers by specialty crop producers remains low, with reasons for the continued dominance of the old technologies ranging from overcoming the risk averseness of farmers, to competing trade-offs among sprayer manufacturers, chemical companies, and regulating agencies. However, as farm labor becomes more expensive, less reliable and consumers and regulations favor sustainably produced products, motivations to improve spray application efficiency are increasing. While there are many opportunities and future directions application technology may take, sensor controlled sprayer technology that scans plant canopies and applies a proportionate amount of spray will likely be the primary technology of precision sprayers in the future.