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Development of a Web-Based System to Optimize Copper Fungicide Application in Citrus Groves

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 29(6): 893-903. (doi: 10.13031/aea.29.10139) @2013
Authors:   Tiago Zortea, Megan M. Dewdney, Clyde W. Fraisse
Keywords:   Copper residue model, Copper application decision tool, Sensitivity analysis, Decision support web tool, Citrus, Fungicide, Florida.
<italic>Abstract. </italic>

Copper fungicides are commonly used for protective applications against foliar fungal and bacterial diseases in citrus groves. Management of these products must be finely balanced between disease prevention, application costs, fruit blemishes caused by copper phytotoxicity, and toxic accumulation of copper in the soil. The traditional schedule for copper sprays in Florida is an every 21-day post-bloom application. However, our computer simulation analysis showed that this traditional schedule is inefficient and leaves the grove unprotected in wet years and applies unnecessary copper sprays in dry years. In order to facilitate the copper management for the citrus growers, a user friendly internet-based decision support system was developed. This system is capable of estimating the copper residue on the fruit based on rainfall records and spray details. This allows producers to plan the copper applications in order to minimize unprotected periods while avoiding unnecessary applications in dry years.

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