Increase Efficiency With Aerial Application

Aerial applicationIncreased efficiency is a major focus of today’s aerial applicators.

The techniques of pesticide application have unfortunately not been developed to the same extent as the pesticides themselves. Today the aerial applicator industry in the U.S. is highly favored with the presence of a large number of modern turbine powered aircraft; however, it is used with technology from the near middle ages and to actually disperse the chemicals. Yes, we have sophisticated turbine engines and air conditioned cabins, and yet in most instances we continue to install crude hydraulic spray nozzles from the mid-1950s to atomize the products.

Conclusions from field experience: Low volumes can provide superb coverage provided that the applicator adjusts his application equipment to match the droplet size to the product and conditions. In my view, it’s an absolute necessity to conduct application tests with the equipment and products to identify the optimal adjustment to obtain consistently good results. We need to abandon the old concept of gallons of water and to tailor make applications to match the prevailing conditions.

Proper Measuring Tools

There are several tools that can be used to measure the efficiency of product application. These include the following:

Mylar cards: This is probably one of the oldest methods and in my experience is practically worthless since only the very large droplets, or a few droplets settle within a “no wind” condition will impact and it bears little or no relationship to the real deposit of the product on the crop.

Water sensitive cards: As can be seen in the Graph 1, the popular water sensitive cards have a very low collection efficiency when placed horizontally. The practice of using cards in the horizontal position often leads to erroneous conclusions regarding the effective swath width and the degree of crop coverage. The leaves of the crops are much more efficient at collecting smaller droplets due to their shape and the presence of minute hairs. From an efficacy standpoint all product collected on horizontal cards at ground level within the crop is a measure of lost or wasted product. However, the cards can be used more effectively when inclined at 45 degrees facing the direction of the prevailing wind, with a much higher collection efficiency especially so for the smaller droplets.

Fluorescent tracer products: These types of products permit a visual and photographic assessment of crop coverage and penetration utilizing a “black light” during a night visit to the field. The more effective products are fine powders that are sometimes difficult to mix into a slurry, but are much brighter than the soluble type of product.

Chemical analysis of the deposit: In many respects this technique produces an absolute value, but it does not reflect on the distribution within the plant. The data can still be utilized for crop residue studies and calculation of the “total recovery” of the product within the field.

Individual product performance: Each of the methods has an academic value however the only true measurement that matters on an economic basis is “Did the product work?” In my opinion, we need to seriously consider that we are applying chemical products for a specific purpose to control pests, diseases, or weed control — not painting cards.

Why is this relevant? It is a well-established fact that the pyrethroid insecticides have not been performing as well as expected in many cases, especially within the U.S., yet they continue to deliver excellent performance and are well known for their effect of “rapid knockdown” throughout Argentina and Brazil. The reason is that these products work by contact and ingestion action with no vapor effect, which means that for good results they must be delivered to the target insect. In the U.S., practically all product labels specify high volumes of water such as 2 gallons to 5 gallons per acre. This means that the products are highly diluted with water, furthermore, when applied in high volumes of water most of the product is delivered in large spray droplets resulting in grossly inadequate crop penetration and minimal contact with the insects — so growers have to wait for the insects to find the product.

However, in Argentina and Brazil, most applicators apply the products using low and very low volumes (ULV) typically applying insecticides at 2 liters to 10 liters per hectare (0.1 gallon to 1.0 gallon per acre), with the products being mixed with a non-volatile oil under adverse conditions to protect against evaporation loss.

Rust In Focus

The same principles apply to the control of Asian rust, since for adequate control we must have excellent crop coverage. This can be best achieved through low volumes utilizing oils and adjuvants to minimize evaporation losses and to maximize crop coverage. During the past four seasons very large areas of soybeans in Argentina and Brazil have been treated successfully using low volumes of 2 gallons to 4 gallons per acre using ground equipment and 0.5 gallon to 1.0 gallon per acre by aircraft with results significantly superior to that obtained with high volumes.

The key to success is the production of uniform droplet size and not volume of water. In seeking to obtain increased spray coverage it is far more important and more economical to decrease the droplet size than to increase the spray volume. Many entomologists/agriculturalists have always thought that higher volumes meant better coverage; this is erroneous, as high volumes actually result in poor control with inconsistent results in addition to higher application costs.

Do low spray volumes work? What are the advantages of lower spray volumes? Lower volumes have been proven to be more effective then high volumes in Brazil and Argentina for all categories of application including insect control, rust control, and crop desiccation using glyphosate. Within my personal clients-growers and custom applicators —many million hectares have been successfully treated last season using volumes of 1 gallon per acre or less, with the best results for rust control with aircraft around to 0.5 gallons per acre. With ground equipment, the best results are with 2 to 4 gallons per acre depending on forward speed of the equipment.

Low volumes are more effective for several reasons. The most important is that the chemical ingredient is more concentrated, enabling higher efficacy, in that one spray droplet may be adequate to kill a particular insect. For mechanical reasons, it is easier to atomize a lower volume of liquid using smaller spray nozzles. Rotary atomizers have been proven to be more effective in producing the necessary narrow droplet spectrum; however, they require skill and experience in operation.

In addition, there is longer residual action from chemical deposit. When applied in oils, the products are more resistant to wash-off by rainfall.

Other advantages include higher productivity of the aircraft since less time is wasted refilling with water and in terms of hectares per hour. This also means that spraying can often be finished before mid-day, when the weather is usually less favorable.

Leave a Reply

Equipment Stories

BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
John Deere F4365
Equipment2016 Product Of The Year Voting
September 13, 2016
For the ninth year in a row, CropLife IRON magazine is once again honoring this year’s Product of the Year. Below you Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerBridging Crop Nutrition Science And Technology
September 7, 2016
The future seemed to draw nearer for the 1,600-plus attendees of the co-located InfoAg and International Precision Agriculture conferences in St. Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Precision AgPrecision Ag Aids Fertilizer Programs
September 6, 2016
Whatever the farm economy may look like, retailers need to continue to develop a sound fertility program to reach the Read More
Trending Articles
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Latest News
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsNY Times: Bayer-Monsanto a Bad Deal for Farmers
September 15, 2016
Via NY Times: Don Halcomb, a 63-year-old farmer in Adairville, KY, is expecting his profit to vanish this year, largely Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Merger Creates New Global Ag Giant
September 14, 2016
During the whole of 2016, many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry have concluded the best Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More