AERIAL APPLICATION RESEARCH FOR EFFICIENT CROP PRODUCTION
Project Number: 6202-22000-028-00
Start Date: Sep 24, 2008
End Date: Sep 18, 2013
1) Improve existing aerial application technologies to maximize efficiency and biological efficacy of crop production and protection compounds with minimal spray drift and impact to non-target systems.
Subobjective 1A: Develop and implement standard procedures for evaluating drift reduction technologies (DRTs) and assessing biological impacts of sprays in crop canopies.
Subobjective 1B: Develop and optimize the use of autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for pest control.
Subobjective 1C: Assess biological impacts of spray drift.
2) Develop remote sensing and variable rate aerial application systems that enhance detection, prevention, and control of plant diseases, nutritional deficiencies, or insect damage in annual and perennial crops.
Subobjective 2A: Characterize spatial variability of crop conditions using multispectral imaging to develop treatment maps for use with site-specific aerial application systems.
Subobjective 2B: Integrate remote sensing and variable rate aerial application technologies to optimize crop management strategies.
Subobjective 2C: Develop sensors that rapidly and/or remotely detect pest presence, crop condition, spray droplets, and volatile organic compounds.
Subobjective 3D: Adapt autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for remote sensing of crop conditions.
3) Develop, enhance, and implement decision support systems that improve user ability to select and operate application equipment and schedule spray treatments that optimize biological efficacy.
Subobjective 3A: Correlate aerial spray dispersion model estimates with off-target biological effects and in-swath deposition.
Subobjective 3B: Develop and implement crop growth and management decision systems to optimize aerial applications.
Utilizing engineering and biological principles, laboratory and field studies will be conducted to evaluate the effects of various aerial application parameters, such as spray formulation and droplet size spectrum, on aerial application efficiency and biological efficacy. Efforts will focus on the integration of remote sensing and variable rate application systems to maximize the efficacy of crop production materials while minimizing any off-target impact from these sprays. Decision support systems will be developed that help applicators, farmers, and crop consultants in making the correct treatment decisions to protect a crop from pests. This project will develop and implement new and improved aerial application technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable crop production and protection.