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Develop and optimize SSCD systems for orchard-scale use considering design challenges such as: direct injection vs. common tank pre-mixes, orchard piping hydraulics, residue management and re-capture of spray materials, and economies of scale.

Year 1 Experiments:
Activity 1: Testing the basics.  Design a basic system for use by the pest management and horticultural teams based on “proof of concept” systems

  • Nozzles every 6 feet; offset by 3 feet. (Closer in denser canopies)
  • Target 70 gallons/acre with a maximum of 2-3 minutes per spray.¬† Rate/acre will likely be achieved in a shorter time frame.
  • Flush system with water and air 24 hours after application.

Activity 2: Create an engineering playground.  Test 4-6 systems for back flow, nozzle selection, pressures, etc.  Conduct numerous trials of different parts to optimize the system to solve some of the complexities of the system.

Team Members:
Washington: Qin Zhang, Manoj Karkee, Ajay Sharda
Michigan: John Wise and Ron Perry
New York: Andrew Landers
Consultants: John Nye (Trickl-eez Irrigation), Stuart Styles (Irrigation Training and Research Center at CA Polytechnic State University)

Previous Work:
1966    Lombard et al.      1st experiments for application of pesticides, nutrients, and growth regulators through “solid-set” irrigation delivery
Results: Inadequate pest control due to mechanical hydraulics available at that time

2006    Agnello & Landers    New attempt using state-of-the-art low-volume microsprinklers above the narrow trellised canopy of a high-density apple orchard.  Pesticide solutions were mixed in a tank, pumped along two small lateral pipes suspended from the top and middle trellis wires in each row, and emitted into the tree canopy.
Results: Applications were quick and efficient, providing coverage and pest control equivalent to tractor sprayers

 2010    Michigan trials    Further development of a “proof of concept” system testing various irrigation line configurations and 5 different emitters.
Results: Determination that the system will work, but needs optimization for different canopies and application of materials. 


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