Air-tower sprayers increase spray application efficiency in mature citrus trees
G. P. Cunningham and J. Harden
Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
38(8) 871 - 877
Summary. Conventional pesticide spraying in citrus crops with low-profile sprayers results in pest management problems because of the poor distribution of pesticide throughout the tree. Pesticide losses, particularly drift, are a concern with this type of sprayer especially in orchards situated in or near urban areas.
The spray deposit on citrus leaves and fruit and off-target losses (canopy run-off and drift) were determined for air-assisted low-profile sprayers and air-assisted sprayers fitted with tower air conveyors (air-towers).
The air-tower sprayers produced even distribution of leaf spray deposits through the full height of the tree canopy while the low-profile sprayers produced decreasing leaf spray deposits with increasing height in the trees. The Metters tower sprayer and Cropliner low-profile sprayer resulted in increasing deposits from the 0˚ axis through to the 90˚ axis to sprayer travel while the Barlow tower sprayer and the Hardi low-profile sprayer produced a more even distribution of deposits through the axes to sprayer travel. Fruit deposits were not significantly different between sprayers. The Barlow tower sprayer produced significantly less canopy spray run-off compared with the low-profile sprayers. The Barlow tower sprayer resulted in a significant reduction in spray drift in the above tree zone compared with the Hardi low-profile sprayer.
Better distribution of pesticides in citrus tree canopies will improve pest control especially in the top sections of the tree as this is where the greatest increase in pesticide deposit is achieved with air-tower sprayers. Both ground and air contamination from pesticides can also be reduced by using sprayers fitted with air-tower conveyors designed to produce even airflows for the full height of the citrus trees being sprayed.
Full text doi:10.1071/EA98028
© CSIRO 1998