Pesticide loss reduction by automatic adaptation of spraying on globular trees

Journal ar
Journal of Agricultural and Engineering Research
  • Volumen: 78
  • Número: 1
  • Fecha: 01 January 2001
  • Páginas: 35-41
  • ISSN: 00218634
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1006/jaer.2000.0622
  • Document Type: Article
Pesticide treatments in citrus and olive tree orchards in Spain make up 30 and 42% of the production costs. One reason for the high cost of these treatments is due to the high percentage loss of pesticide out of the tree, due to the globular shape of their canopies and to the application of chemicals in the absence of trees. This wastage also produces an important environmental issue. The problem is similar in other cultures, and has lead to design alternative systems all over the world. With the aim of achieving a quality product and with consideration for the environment, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias has developed an automatic sprayer that, by means of an electronic control system, adapts the dose of product to the actual amount of leaf mass. The system is based on a cheap, 8-bit, conventional microcontroller, that receives information about the tree shape from two ultrasound sensors, and actuates through several electro-hydraulic valves mounted on a specially designed hydraulic circuit. The system allows the spraying higher doses in the central part of the tree, where there is more vegetation in globular shaped canopies. Under the conditions of our field test experiments, the system achieved savings of up to 37% of the product while maintaining the quality of the treatment. These savings depend on the size, shape and distance between trees in each particular orchard. © 2001 Silsoe Research Institute.

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