Application of herbicides and pesticides

This subject is described in detail in machinery texts. However, certain basic principles related to the covering of the leaf and soil by sprays will be mentioned. The application of liquids and wettable powders by means of sprayers may be adjusted in terms of pressure and nozzle type to provide the required spray rate. Cone nozzles produce a turbulent spray pattern suitable for fungicide and insecticide use, while fan nozzles produce a flat spray pattern for herbicide application. In periods of active plant growth fortnightly sprays may be necessary to control pests and diseases on newly expanding foliage.

• High volume sprayers apply the diluted chemical at rates of 600-1000 l/ha in order to cover the whole leaf surface with droplets of 0.04-0.10 mm diameter. Cover of the under-leaf surface with pesticides may be poor if nozzles are not directed horizontally or upwards. Soil applied chemicals, such as herbicides or drenches, may be sprayed at a larger droplet size, 0.25-0.5 mm in diameter, through a selected fan nozzle. The correct height of the sprayer boom above the plant is essential for downward-directed nozzles if the spray pattern is to be evenly distributed. Savings can be achieved by band spraying herbicides in narrow strips over the crop to leave the inter-row for mechanical cultivation.

Spraying Knapsack
Figure 16.10 Knapsacksprayer being used in nursery stock

• Medium volume (200-600 l/ha) and low volume (50-200 l/ha) equipment, such as knapsack sprayers, apply herbicides and pesticides onto the leaf at a lower droplet density, and in tree crops, mist blower equipment creates turbulence, and therefore increased spray travel, by means of a power driven fan. Ultra-low volume sprays (up to 50 l/ha) are dispersed on leaving the sprayer by a rapidly rotating disc which then throws regular-sized droplets into the air. Larger droplets (about 0.2 mm) are created by herbicide sprayers to prevent spraydrift problems, while smaller droplets (about 0.1 mm) allow good penetration and leaf cover for insecticide and fungicide use.

Fogging machines used in greenhouses and stores produce very fine droplets (about 0.015 mm diameter) by thermal and mechanical methods, and use small volumes of concentrated formulation (less than 11 in 400 m3) which act as fumigants in the air, and as contact pesticides when deposited on the leaf surface. Dust and granule applicators spread the formulations evenly over the foliage or ground surface. When mounted on seed drills and/or fertilizer applicators, granules may be incorporated into the soil. Care must be taken to ensure good distribution to prevent pesticide damage to germinating seeds or planting material.

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