Dr Andrew Landers, CEng, FIAgrE
Consulting Engineer, Effective Spraying, Ludlow, Shropshire, UK
Faculty Fellow, Cornell University, NY, USA
In orchards and vineyards there are numerous row widths, varieties, plant spacing and variations in canopy shape and style. Canopy characteristics (height, width and density) also change as the growing season progresses. Good disease and insect control is dependent upon the correct amount of pesticide being applied at the correct time. Incorrect application may result in pest resistance, poor pest or disease control, increased costs for the grower, and an increased risk of chemical contamination in the environment.
This presentation details the development and validation of infra-red and ultrasonic sensor systems to measure not only canopy volume and presence but also canopy density. Sensors fitted to the sprayer can record, in real time, changes in crop characteristics as the sprayer moves along the row. Signals then send information to variable output nozzles and adjustable air fans. Trials have been conducted at Cornell University and results have proven to be extremely reliable and accurate. The development of an electronic in-canopy deposition monitor will also be discussed. The ability to precisely control the spray results in the optimum application rate, leading to better results in the use of pesticides, less environmental pollution (less drift and less leaf runoff) and improved economic viability for the fruit grower.