Advanced spraying systems to improve pesticide saving and reduce spray drift for apple orchards

PRECISION AGRICULTURE(2023)

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Abstract
New spraying systems embedded with different technologies have been developed for pesticide application in 3D crops. However, while applied to specific tree crops, the potential spray drift mitigation for advanced spraying systems needs to be classified due to the great variability of spray equipment and canopy structure. Here a precision spraying system was developed and compared with two typical spraying systems (conventional system, optimized system following the best management practices) for the applied volume/pesticide and spray drift in an apple orchard at two growth stages following the ISO22866-2005 protocol. Compared to the conventional system, the other two advanced systems significantly reduced the amount of ground drift (> 60%) at most of the sampling distances at the growth stage BBCH 72, while the precision system demonstrated the best drift mitigation (57.3% reduction) at the stage BBCH 99. For the airborne drift, a remarkable drift reduction was also achieved with the two advanced systems. Specifically, the optimized spraying system exhibited a drift reduction by approximately 80% at the first growth stage, and the precision application demonstrated its considerable advantages in minimizing drift loss for the sparse canopy at the stage BBCH 99. Moreover, the saving of applied volume/pesticide was achieved by 12% with the optimized system and 43% with the precision system. This study revealed the necessity and prospect of the advanced spraying systems to reduce the environmental contamination and health risk from pesticide applications in fruit tree production.
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Key words
Spray drift mitigation, Precision spraying, Dose adjustment, Pesticide reduction, Orchard sprayer
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