Improving design to minimize costs and risks associated with pest control in strawberries

2008 Annual Report for ONE08-087

Project Type: Partnership
Funds awarded in 2008: $9,971.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2009
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Andrew Landers
Cornell University

Improving design to minimize costs and risks associated with pest control in strawberries


Two cooperating NY strawberry growers worked with researchers at Cornell University and Cornel Cooperative Extension to evaluate a novel strawberry sprayer. In an excellent growing season, spray volume was increased as the season progressed using a hoop sprayer. Results, to date, are varied, showing how variety and growth structure can affect deposition, particularly in the bottom of the crop canopy.

Objectives/Performance Targets

The development of a hoop sprayer
Two prototypes were built at Cornell University and fitted to the growers sprayers in early May 2008. The hoop sprayers fitted well onto the boom sprayers and were connected to the existing plumbing system.

Ascertain the deposition of tracer onto the strawberry plants using the hoop sprayers.
Deposition onto the crop was measured by adding Pyranine fluorescent tracer into the sprayer tank to make a 0.05% solution. Leaves were picked from the top, middle and bottom part of the canopy. Three leaves from each area were placed into plastic bags and sealed. 10 plants per treatment were selected, there were five replicates.
All leaf and fruit samples were kept cool and transported to Geneva. Samples were collected from 2 farms, on two separate occasions, in May and in June.

Ascertain the biological effectiveness of using the hoop sprayers to apply spray.
The data was collected and is currently being analysed using SAS statistical software.

Extension meeting
A very successful extension meeting was held for growers on the 2nd July at John Hand, Hand Melon Farm, Greenwich, NY on the 2nd July. Approx 20 people attended. Our host, John Hand, drove the tractor and regular boom sprayer with clean water in the tank, this was followed using the hoop system. Growers were able to see the techniques and see penetration in a mature crop of strawberries, prior to market. A great discussion followed and growers, some who had travelled a good distance, appeared extremely interested in the project.

The objectives were successfully met and all equipment performed well.


We accomplished all we set out to do, we evaluated the two hoop systems on growers farms, on time, and with interesting results. All milestones were met, in a timely fashion with one exception. The weather was exceptionally good for strawberries so this year early and mid canopy development occurred extremely rapidly.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

We made an impact with the growers involved, both the cooperating growers and the visitors to the extension meeting. This project clearly shows that there are other interesting methods of applying pesticides besides the regular boom sprayer. The concept of adjusting spray volume along with the number of nozzles certainly provided an interest and therefore has educational merit. We have contributed to the scientific knowledge of such a system based on one year of trials.


Laura McDermott

berry Extension Support specialist
Cornell cooperative extension
415 Lower Main St
Hudson Falls, NY 12839
Office Phone: 5187462562
Marvin Pritts

Cornell University
134A Plant Sciences Bldg
Ithaca, NY 14853
Office Phone: 6072551778
John Hand

Hand Melon Farm
533 Wilber Ave
Greenwich, NY 12834
Office Phone: 5186922376