Real-Time Pressure and Flow Response for Swath Control Technology

Thumbnail Image
Sharda, Ajay
Fulton, John
McDonald, Timothy
Zech, Wesley
Brodbeck, Christian
Major Professor
Committee Member
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Darr, Matthew
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Organizational Unit
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.

Dates of Existence

Historical Names

  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

Related Units

Journal Issue
Is Version Of

Auto-swath technology is being readily adopted by producers across the US because it can improve in-field equipment efficiency and reduce input usage leading to economic savings. Spray controllers with swath control use GPS to track of areas where inputs have already been applied and areas identified to receive no inputs. However, concerns exist for liquid applicators equipped with auto-swath technology about the system response when shutting ON/OFF of boom-sections or nozzles possibly impacting the desired spray pattern and rate. Therefore, an investigation was conducted to evaluate real-time boom dynamics, pressure and flow, for a typical agricultural sprayer using auto-swath technology. An 18.3-m sprayer was outfitted with commercially available individual nozzle and boom-section control was used to determine if difference existed between these different methods of ON/OFF control. Ten high frequency response pressure sensors were randomly mounted across the boom to measure nozzle tip pressure with another sensor located at the boom manifold to record overall system pressure. A flow meter just before the boom manifold provided system flow response. Two point row scenarios having 20° and 70° angles were conducted at 43.2 l/min application rate and 9.7 km/h ground speed. Auto-boom scenarios were conducted with and with-out flow compensation while auto-nozzle scenarios were conducted without flow compensation. Results indicated that 1) pressure deviation between -28% and 29% during 20° and 70° point row auto-boom scenarios resulted in the spray tip flow rate varying from -19.2% to 12.4 % during auto-boom scenarios; 2) nozzle pressure stabilization time (PST) was up to 19.3 sec. while moving OUT and INTO point rows,; 3) 20° point row presented an example of a scenario where the controller was unable to control the application rate during auto-swath initiation; and 4) the sprayer system dynamics were different for moving INTO versus OUT of point rows for all tests. These results suggest different control algorithms and possible hardware improvements are needed for these operating conditions to minimize application errors.


This is an ASABE Meeting Presentation, Paper No. 097320.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009