Wednesday, July 31, 2013
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Ohio: Air-Assist Spray Demonstration at Aug. 8 Field Day

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Growers will have the opportunity to review results of research to improve the efficacy of fungicide distribution during a live demonstration by experts from Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at a spray technology workshop Aug. 8.

The Spray Technology Field Day will review the results from a 2012 air-assist sprayer trial that sprays vertically instead of horizontally, which is traditional. Researchers used the modified technology on pumpkins to test how effectively the sprayer distributed fungicide to the top and bottom of the plants, said Jim Jasinski, an Ohio State University Extension educator and coordinator of the Integrated Pest Management program.

The program will feature presentations from researchers and educators with OSU Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms, respectively, of the college.

Using a custom-designed, modified air sprayer, researchers have been testing how vertical spraying helps the spray go deeper into the plant canopy, which is significant in terms of how well the fungicide can prevent disease, Jasinski said.

“Traditional hydraulic boom sprayers have difficulty penetrating the deep canopy of certain crops like pumpkin where most of the spray goes across the top of the foliage,” he said. “In pumpkin, powdery mildew attacks both the top and bottom of the leaves making it essential to have good spray coverage on both surfaces.

“In an effort to get better coverage, we modified a cannon sprayer to blow air along the length of the boom vertically into the canopy which carries more fungicide to the target. Using this air-assist sprayer, a curtain of air moves the plant leaves back and forth and allows the fungicide to reach the inner canopy and the bottom of the leaves, which improves efficacy.”

The modified Jacto Cannon sprayer is designed to be used with a hydraulic boom sprayer, Jasinski said.

“I think the idea of using air-assist sprayer technology to increase fungicide or insecticide efficacy will be valid for other crops with big canopies” he said. “We are researching the right nozzle combination with air assist to maximize spray penetration and deposition.”

Jasinski said this kind of spray technology could also be used with squash, cucumbers and melons, and that he would like to see how it works with tomatoes and peppers.

The field day will also feature a clinic reviewing proper techniques to perform sprayer calibrations.

The workshop is from 5-7 p.m. at the Western Agricultural Research Station, 7721 South Charleston Pike in South Charleston. The event, which will include refreshments, is free and open to the public but registration is encouraged by contacting Jasinski at 937-462-8016 or jasinski.4@osu.edu.

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