Measuring and modeling the movement of spray droplets into off-target areas

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American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers
Steward, Brian
Hanna, H. Mark
Extension Agricultural Engineer
Dixon, Philip
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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The Department of Statistics seeks to teach students in the theory and methodology of statistics and statistical analysis, preparing its students for entry-level work in business, industry, commerce, government, or academia.

The Department of Statistics was formed in 1948, emerging from the functions performed at the Statistics Laboratory. Originally included in the College of Sciences and Humanities, in 1971 it became co-directed with the College of Agriculture.

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Spray drift can cause significant environmental harm and is a problem for the agricultural chemical application industry. Models help predict the distance of smaller, drift-prone droplet travel from wind tunnel studies, but field testing is required to validate predicted drift from these models. The purpose of this research was to investigate spray drift from three different spray quality nozzles into an off-target area up to 30 m from the end of the spray boom with varying cross-boom wind velocities. Field tests were carried out using a UTV-mounted boom sprayer driving perpendicular to the wind direction. Using pink spray dye, off-target droplets were collected on white Kromekote droplet collection cards spaced on 2 m intervals to 30 m downwind. Tests were done during four days with differing wind speeds less than 15 mi/h. Three different spray quality nozzles were used: fine, medium and very coarse. Each individual card was scanned with a flatbed scanner. The resulting images were analyzed with DepositScan software which found the number, area and diameter of the droplets on each card. The number of droplets collected on cards, decreased with distance from the boom to a low, but non-zero number of droplets were found on cards out to 30 m. Using a statistical model, there was a clear extension of off-target application rates into the 2 to 10 m distance away from the boom depending on droplet size and a low probability of substantial off-target application rates in the 10 m to 30 m region.
This presentation is published as Steward, Brian L., H. Mark Hanna, Philip M. Dixon, and Rithana K. Mompremier. "Measuring and modeling the movement of spray droplets into off-target areas." In 2019 ASABE Annual International Meeting. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 2019. ASABE meeting paper No. 1901496. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASABE. DOI: 10.13031/aim.201901496. Copyright 2019 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Posted with permission.