Influence of air-assistance on spray application for tomato plants in greenhouses
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Protected horticulture production represents one of the most important agricultural businesses in Southern Europe. However, many problems related to the lack of mechanisation, intensive use of pesticides, and, in some cases, undesirable residues on food, have not been solved yet. In this context, application technology is a key factor for the improvement of the efficacy and efficiency of plant protection products. Spray guns and knapsack sprayers are the most common technologies that have been used for this purpose. However, several studies have demonstrated that, compared with spray guns, the use of vertical boom sprayers in greenhouses improves spray distribution and reduces labour costs and operator exposure. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of air-assistance on spray application in conventional tomato greenhouses. For this purpose three different spray conceptions were evaluated; 1) a modified commercial handheld trolley sprayer with two air assistance concepts; 2) a self-propelled sprayer; and 3) an autonomous self-propelled sprayer with remote control. All the sprayers considered were evaluated in terms of absolute and normalised canopy deposition, uniformity of distribution, and losses to the ground. In addition, the vertical liquid and air velocity distributions of the sprayers were assessed and compared with the canopy profiles and spray depositions. Yellow tartrazine (E-102 yellow) was used as a tracer for deposition evaluation. The results indicated that increasing the air velocity does not increase the efficiency of a spray application. In general, the modified handheld trolley sprayer showed the best results in terms of deposition and uniformity of distribution, especially at the lowest air assistance rate. These results were confirmed with evaluation of the uniformity of the air and liquid distribution. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
CitationLlop, J., Gil, E., Llorens, J., Gallart, M., Balsari, Paolo. Influence of air-assistance on spray application for tomato plants in greenhouses. "Crop protection", 01 Desembre 2015, vol. 78, p. 293-301.
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