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Spray drift and off-target loss reduction with a precision air-assisted sprayer
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Spray drift and off-target losses are inherent problems of conventional air-assisted sprayers. Their low efficiencies cause environmental pollutions resulting in public anxieties. A new drift reduction technology incorporating laser scanning capabilities with a variable-rate air-assisted sprayer was developed to address these problems, and tested in an apple orchard. This new sprayer, the same sprayer with the variable-rate function disabled, and a conventional constant-rate air-blast sprayer were the three test treatments for comparison. Tests were conducted at beginning to leafing, half-foliage, and full-foliage growth stages. Spray deposits from spray drift and off-target losses were collected within tree rows at ground level, above and behind the sprayed trees, gaps between two trees, and from 3.2 m tall poles at 5, 15, and 35 m from the tree rows. Compared to the constant-rate sprayer, the laser-guided variable-rate sprayer reduced average spray losses on the ground by 68% to 90% and around tree canopies by 70% to 92%, airborne spray drift by 70% to 100%, and most importantly, the spray volume by 47% to 73%, while their spray deposition qualities inside canopies for these sprayers were comparable. These results demonstrated that the innovative laser scanning technology incorporated into the variable-rate sprayer reduced spray drifts and off target losses of pesticides, was environmentally sustainable, and economically beneficial to growers.
R. C. Derksen
C. R. Krause
Transactions of the ASABE 2013 12 22 v.56 no.6
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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