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Hand held imaging fluorometer for optimising crop spray deposits trialled on cherry orchards in Kent

Prototype hand held imaging fluorometer for optimising crop spray deposits trialled on cherry orchids in Kent

cropspraying hand held prototypemaira

cropspraying hand held prototype farmjpg

“We have developed our first prototype of a hand held imaging fluorometer, which measures the spray deposits on crops,” reports CTG’s specialist Maira Butt. “Field trials were carried out last month to test the prototype on Cherry orchards in Sevenoaks, UK. These trials have helped in our understanding of how well the device is functioning practically e.g. battery life, spray coverage analysis. These insight will be used to further enhance the development of our commercial product," concluded Maira.

CTG is working with a number of the UK’s leading horticultural producers, under a Innovate UK funded project,  who recognise the importance of setting new standards of best practice for crop spraying. This new technology will enable spray operators to determine and optimise sprayer performance e.g. according to crop structure, growth and weather conditions, as well as quality assure spray applications and check for off-target contamination. It is anticipated that this technology will readily transfer throughout agriculture and horticulture industry.

Background:
Crop sprayers throughout the world are used to making spray applications of pesticides and other agrochemicals to crops as a vital part of crop protection and production. However, although sprayer operators are provided with instructions on the dose, spray volume and quality to be applied and sprayer manufacturers provide standard methods of setting up sprayers, they have no ready means of measuring the results of their spray applications in the field in terms of the amount, cover and distribution of spray deposit achieved, nor benchmarking them against best practice. The results of spray applications are variable because they are greatly affected by the method of spray application (sprayer type and set up), crop growth stage and architecture and meteorological conditions at the time of application. If spray deposits could be easily measured in the field, spray applications could be optimised, achieving better, more consistent results and avoiding wastage. Current methods of assessing spray deposits in the field (water sensitive papers, visual inspection) are unsatisfactory and seldom implemented.

The CTG hand held imaging fluorometer captures and analyses fluorescent images of spray deposits from a suitable (e.g. food grade) fluorescent tracer on plant surfaces so that spray deposits (amount, cover, variation) can be rapidly quantified by spray operators in the field. This will enable spray operators to determine and optimise sprayer performance as well as quality assure spray applications.

For more information, please contact John Attridge, Technical Director, or Ellen Keegan, Communications Manager.

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