Effect of sprayer settings on spray drift during pesticide application in poplar plantations (Populus spp.)
Grella, M.; Marucco, P.; Manzone, M.; Gallart, M.; Balsari, P.
Science of the Total Environment 578: 427-439
ISSN/ISBN: 1879-1026 PMID: 27836339 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.10.205
This study assessed spray drift generated by sprayer settings commonly used for pesticide application in poplar plantations (Populus spp.). Tests were conducted per the ISO 22866 methodology using a mounted air-assisted sprayer (Tifone VRP600) equipped with a swivel-cannon air conveyor (model Cannone 50S). Trials evaluated sprayer settings, combinations of nozzle types, airflow rates, and air direction in both adult and young poplar plantations. Overall, spray drift amounts registered downwind of poplar plantations were less than those obtained to derive reference drift curves during the EU Plant Protection Product registration process that used late-growth-stage fruit crops. In the adult poplar plantation, Venturi nozzles (TVI 8004 red) yielded the highest drift reductions compared to reference sprayer setting, especially at distances farthest from the sprayed area (86% between 40 and 47m). Highest total drift reductions were achieved when conventional nozzles (1.81mm ceramic disc-core) were combined with their spray direction modified for an inclined cannon spray unit. Alternatively, the young poplar plantation showed no drift reduction for distances farthest from the sprayed area, regardless of sprayer settings, which likely resulted from lower foliage density and widely-spaced rows. Yet, both Venturi nozzles combined with high fan flow rates and conventional nozzles combined with reduced fan flow rate showed total spray drift reductions of over 70% within the downwind sampling area. These experimental results represent the first set of data on spray drift amounts in poplar plantations, which is key for defining the reference curves and best practices to reduce spray drift in tall tree plantations.