New Blowback Pesticide Sprayer System to Reduce Drift
CURES Study Verifies New Orchard Sprayer Drift Reduction Technique
The Coalition for Urban/Rural Environmental Stewardship (CURES) has confirmed a new practice that can significantly reduce spray drift from leaving their orchard and it takes no modification of their existing air blast sprayers. It does, however, require having two air blast sprayers with similar fan size and capacity spraying side by side to be effective.
The strategy was tested in an almond orchard, but the ideas could certainly dove-tail in essentially all orchard crops.
The technique is being called “interference perimeter spraying” and its use in a controlled field study showed the practice to have promise for preventing pesticides from leaving a treated orchard.
The technique is simple; two orchard sprayers move through the orchard parallel to each other; one sprayer on the outside row and another between row 1 and 2. The rig between row one and two is spraying normally, while the rig on the outside row is running with the fan on and nozzles shut off. The inward air flow pushes any spray material back into the tree.
A field trial using the technique was funded by California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and performed by CURES and University of California researchers in August in a mature almond orchard located in Northern San Joaquin Valley. Water sensitive paper was placed at 30 feet intervals up to 100 feet from the orchard edge. Spray rig operators made passes at wind speeds of 3-10 mph, with the wind blowing away from the orchard. Analysis of the water sensitive paper showed significant reductions of spray drift leaving the orchard, especially at 33 feet from the field edge, using the new interference perimeter spraying technique.
After two sprayers complete a pass, a single sprayer runs down the orchard perimeter with the outside nozzle bank shut off and the nozzles facing the tree turned on, allowing for normal spray coverage of the outer side of the row.
“While the practice still needs further evaluation to ensure that control of the targeted pests is maintained, we have confidence that the inference perimeter spraying can be used effectively now by orchardists, especially if spraying occurs near sensitive sites such as waterways or public roads,” says Parry Klassen, Executive Director of CURES. “Many growers already have multiple sprayers in operation so using this technique is very doable and at no added cost.”
In the field trial where the practice was evaluated, researchers noted that it’s important for the sprayers to move exactly parallel to each other. Also that both sprayers have similar fan speed and air volume displacement.
The technique was an outcome of a project funded by CDFA, Office of Pesticide Consultation and Analysis (OPCA) that focused on testing several spray drift management techniques for protection of surface waters. CDFA also funded CURES’s development of three spray drift stewardship publications; Managing Orchard Sprayer Drift to Protect Water Quality; Orchard Sprayer Maintenance, and Orchard Sprayer Calibration. The first two publications are also available in Spanish. CURES also created a video series based on the publications, interference perimeter spraying (also available in Spanish) and other farming practices for protecting surface water from pesticides. The publications are posted at http://www.curesworks.org/publications/ag.asp
CURES was founded in 1997 to support educational efforts for agricultural and urban communities focusing on the proper and judicious use of pest control products. Since its start, the group has focused its efforts on pesticide stewardship and research projects, including studies on the effectiveness of management practices to minimize movement of farm inputs and sediment into surface water. A key goal is to implement educational programs, coordinate research and provide information and professional expertise to users and applicators of crop protection chemicals and pest control products to enhance and protect the environment, as well as public and worker health and safety.
All CURES projects are implemented either by its staff or through partnerships with organizations such as California Department of Food and Agriculture, State Water Resources Control Board, University of California; California State University, Fresno; University of Pacific and CSU Chico, among others. CURES also works closely with commodity groups, water quality coalitions and private companies.
For more information, contact Parry Klassen at 559-288-8125 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit CURES website at www.curesworks.orghs