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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTELLIGENT SPRAY SYSTEMS FOR FLORAL AND ORNAMENTAL NURSERY CROPS

Location: Application Technology Research Unit

Project Number: 5082-21620-009-05
Project Type: Reimbursable

Start Date: Sep 01, 2009
End Date: Aug 31, 2014

Objective:
To develop two advanced and affordable spray systems that employ intelligent technologies to continuously match system operating parameters to crop characteristics, insect/disease pressures and microclimatic conditions during pesticide applications.

Approach:
Will develop two intelligent expert precision spraying systems implementing five main components to apply the amount of pesticides as needed. The first system will be an air-assisted variable-rate sprayer to be used for shade, flowering and ornamental trees in nurseries. The second system will be a hydraulic boom variable-rate sprayer to be used for flowering container plants in greenhouses and woody ornamentals in nurseries. Due to the similarity of crop structures, the use of the first system can be expanded to other specialty crops such as fruit trees and vineyards, and the second system can be expanded to berries and vegetables. The five components will be: a sensor-controlled unit to control spray outputs that match structures of specific floral and nursery crops, an expert subsystem to assist choosing proper chemicals and application schedules, a direct in-line injection unit to inject concentrated chemicals to individual nozzles to eliminate leftover disposals, a off-target recovery unit to prevent spray off-target losses including drift beyond target areas, and a fluid delivery subsystem to discharge spray outputs with variable rates. All the operations will occur as the sprayer moves past the canopy, providing uniform spray coverage of the canopy with minimum pesticide use and off-target loss beyond the target area. Speciality Crops Research Initiative.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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