LONDON, Ohio -- Spray drift may be the No. 1 concern of pesticide applicators, but there are ways to minimize the problem.



And visitors to Ohio State University's Farm Science Review can check out the latest in techniques and equipment that achieve that goal.



Erdal Ozkan, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer, will be on-hand at Farm Science Review at the chemical rinse pad area next to the Tobin Building on Beef St. to demonstrate various equipment and nozzles that can reduce spray drift.



One of the concepts that will be demonstrated is air-assisted spraying -- one of the most effective ways to reduce spray drift, if the equipment is used properly. Visitors will be able to see the difference in performance between a conventional sprayer and an air-assisted sprayer.



"Fifty to 75 percent of complaints that go through the Ohio Department of Agriculture are related to spray drift," said Ozkan, who also holds a partial research appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "It's very important to reduce spray drift because of the nature of field crop production systems. You don't want to contaminate one field while trying to protect another."



Air-assisted sprayers use air as the delivery medium to transport droplets from the nozzle to the canopy. OARDC research has shown that air-assisted sprayers capture and deliver two to four times as many droplets to the lower plant canopy compared to conventional sprayers. In addition, air-assisted sprayers help reduce spray drift.



"Air-assisted sprayers are not frequently utilized by farmers, but they show a great advantage over conventional sprayers, especially when controlling for soybean rust, where the goal is to get a better deposition and coverage of chemicals on leaves in the lower canopy," said Ozkan.



Ozkan, together with other Ohio State University researchers, will also demonstrate the use of low-drift nozzles, which can reduce the amount of drift up to 10-fold by reducing the spray volume, compared to conventional nozzles.



"The second focal point of discussions and demonstrations we will hold at Farm Science Review is to explain the results of a comprehensive field work we did that helps farmers to determine the most effective spray technology for controlling diseases like soybean rust and insects like soybean aphids, while reducing drift as much as possible," said Ozkan.



Collaborative research between OARDC, and the Application Technology Research unit of the USDA-ARS in Wooster has found that proper selection and operation of spray equipment and nozzles play a key role in controlling diseases like soybean rust -- especially in soybean fields with thick canopies where the need to reach the bottom portion of the plants is necessary for effective disease control.



Farm Science Review will be held Sept. 19-21 at Molly Caren Agricultural Center in London, Ohio. The event is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, and the academic units of the university's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.



Tickets are $8 at the gate or $5 in advance when purchased from county offices of OSU Extension or participating agribusinesses. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept 19-20 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 21. For more information, log on to fsr.osu.edu.



SOURCE: Ohio State University news release.