Intelligent sprayer developed at OSU debutsThe intelligent sprayer, developed by engineers at the College of Food Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State, and engineers at USDA-ARS at Wooster campus of the College (OARDC), is making its début at the Farm Science Review. This is the only sprayer of its kind in the world. It discharges pesticide sprays only when there is a target tree in sight, and it matches the pesticide spray rate to the target tree characteristics (height and leaf density) in real-time. A high speed laser scanner provides canopy characteristics of a tree. The intelligent sprayer is displayed at Farm Science Review, just south of the Farm Science Review Headquarters office.

Variable-rate applications using this intelligent sprayer can greatly reduce pesticide use and off-target contamination of environment for nursery and orchard growers. Field experiments demonstrated that compared to conventional sprayers, the intelligent sprayer provided more uniform spray coverage and deposition inside canopies with different foliage densities at different growth stages. In addition, the intelligent sprayer reduced spray volume by 47–73% with much less off-target loss on the ground, through tree gaps and in the air.

By accurately targeting spray applications, this new technology will significantly reduce the amount and cost of pesticides for growers, reduce the risk of environmental pollution by pesticides, and provide safer and healthier working conditions for workers.

Advantages of the intelligent sprayer over a conventional sprayer:

● Less chance of over spraying pesticides

● Less variations of spray deposition with growth stages

● More consistent spray deposition uniformity inside canopies at different growth stages

● Better spray trajectory control

● Less spray loss beyond tree canopies (40–87% less loss)

● Less airborne drift (up to 87% less drift)

● Reduction of the spray consumption (47–73% less spray mixture used)

● Less spray loss on the ground (68–93% less loss)