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Developments Towards an Automatic Precision Sprayer for Fruit Crop Canopies

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

Citation:  2010 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 20 - June 23, 2010  1008973.(doi:10.13031/2013.29778)
Authors:   Andrew J Landers
Keywords:   Fruit spraying, precision spraying, airflow, sensors

The challenge for the fruit grower is to apply pesticides precisely to the developing target throughout the growing season. As the canopy develops so does the amount of air and liquid required to provide adequate penetration and coverage. This paper discusses current research at Cornell University in developing new canopy sprayers which will increase deposition throughout the canopy using adjustable air louvres and sensors. Trials have been conducted in orchards and vineyards throughout the 2008 and 2009 growing seasons. Results from field trials show an increase in deposition of up to 30% and a 75% reduction in drift by using adjustable air louvres. Three novel methods of airflow adjustment are reported, systems which keep the air and spray plume within the canopy. Results to date indicate that alternate row spraying in modern super spindle apple plantings may be possible, saving time, labour and fuel or alternatively doubling the output of the sprayer. Results show up to 40% reduction in pesticide use in early season spraying in vineyards using infra-red sensors to monitor canopy growth.

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