The use of an agricultural airblast sprayer with improperly positioned or defective nozzles results in spray drift, poor pest control and inaccurate application. It has been estimated that only 55% of a pesticide spray may hit the target. The use of a vertical spray patternator reveals exactly where the spray is deposited and allows the farmer to adjust the sprayer to its maximum efficiency. A patternator can help increase the amount of spray that hits the target plant, thereby increasing efficiency and efficacy. Use of a patternator can reduce spray drift by up to 90% and reduce pesticide use up to 20%. The goal of this project was to design an inexpensive, efficient patternator that is easily constructed and performs better than a Cornell patternator and is substantially lower in cost.
The original Cornell patternator developed in 2006 had a material cost of $489. A modified Cornell patternator was developed for this project with a material cost of $128. Two additional patternators were designed, the SARE and SARE WITH SCREENS patternators. One of the goals of this project was to develop an efficient patternator with a total material cost of under $100. The SARE patternator has a cost of $93 for materials.
Each patternator was divided into seven panels of 1′ by 3′. The amount of spray captured by each of the panels on the three patternators was measured with three replicates. Two different sets of spray discs were also used. The amount of spray captured by each panel was compared statistically. The use of Tukey’s HSD test revealed most of the panels on the SARE and SARE with screens patternator captured significantly greater amounts of spray than the Cornell patternator. Statistical analysis showed the SARE developed patternators were far superior to the Cornell patternator. The total recovery of spray by the three patternators paralleled the statistical results. The SARE patternator captured between 62 and 63% of the total sprayer output, while the modified Cornell patternator only captured 13 to 18%. On average, the new patternator designs represent an almost four fold increase in spray material captured versus the Cornell patternator. The SARE patternator with its high percentage recovery and low material cost would be the patternator of choice of the three models tested.
The two SARE patternators outperformed the Cornell patternator to such an extent that additional work is warranted. Which patternator is more indicative of how the spray is actually being applied in the vineyard? A patternator that closely mimics the actual results when spraying crops would be the most beneficial. Additional research is needed to determine which patternator gives results closest to actual spraying in a fruit crop. The patternator design with the most accurate representation of the actual spray material deposited will help farmers be more efficient and economical in their pesticide spraying.
This will be an engineering project unlike a field test of a new method that would allow the use of plots and blocks with replicates and the resulting statistical analysis. I will attempt to develop two different versions of a vertical spray patternator. An engineer will be consulted on the patternator designs and offer ideas for improvement or modification. The goal will be to develop a patternator that has $100 or less in newly purchased material costs. Patternators will be built and then tested for their ability to quantify the spray pattern. A Cornell patternator will also be built to allow comparisons between the various designs. Spray patterns will be tested before any modifications are done to the sprayer and then tested again after the sprayer has been modified based on the previous spray patterns generated by the patternators. I will also test the use of the patternators with new versus older used nozzles.
The spray generated by the sprayer will be collected by the various panels of the patternator and measured in milliliters. One test will measure the amount recovered by the patternator as compared to the total ouput of the sprayer. First the total spray output of the sprayer in a given amount of time will be measured. Then the amount of spray captured by the patternator in the same amount of time willb e measured and compared to the total output of the sprayer. Three replicates willb e done for each test. This will show the percentage of spray recovered by the patternators. The percentage o fpray recovery willb e compared to the recovery percentage of the Cornell patternator. The vertical patters generated by the patternators willb e compared and illustrated in graphs. Three replicates will be done for each vertical pattern. The results for the patternators developed in thsi project will be compared to the Cornell patternator to show the improvements in design and cost. Three replicates of spray patterns for old versus new spray noxx;es will also be done for each patternator.