Main research question/goal
This project deals with all aspects related to an optimal spray application technique for plant protection products (PPPs) in orchards. The spray application efficacy is affected by sprayer design and operation, the structure and the seasonal development stage of the canopy and the environmental conditions. The complex process of pesticide dispersion in and from orchards is not yet fully understood. The spray should be sufficiently evenly distributed over the target to minimize abuse of MRL (maximum residue limit) thresholds. It is equally important to avoid the impact of pesticides on the environment by reducing off-target losses. The main objective of this project is to improve the understanding of pesticide dispersion in and from orchards to reduce environmental and health risks and support policies and normalization procedures for pesticide applications in orchards. The objective of this project is to improve the deposition of PPPs in orchard trees in order to 1) respect MRLs, 2) reduce the amount of PPPs used and 3) reduce drift from PPPs.Research approach
A novel simulation approach combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and canopy models will be used together with laboratory and field experiments to quantify the pesticide dispersion as affected by the abovementioned factors. This approach will result in a concise determination of optimized spray distribution to secure performance and efficacy and of measures for drift and off-target deposition reduction. Model development is supported by laboratory and field trials, investigating the most important technical and ecological effects.Relevance/Valorisation
This study will result in guidelines for a better use of available orchard spray application techniques related to machine operating parameters and spray nozzle characteristics and in a user-friendly orchard spray model to evaluate and optimize orchard spray applications. Valoriation initiatives will be started in case of the development of new spray application techniques.