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    Wind Tunnel and Field Evaluation of Drift from Aerial Spray Applications with Multiple Spray Formulations

    Published: 2012

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    The impact of tank mix adjuvants and a formulated fungicide on spray atomization and in-field movement under aerial application conditions was examined. High speed wind tunnel testing was conducted to determine droplet size resulting from treatments selected for evaluation in the field. These treatments included a “blank” (water plus a non-ionic surfactant) as well as five additional solutions with a formulated fungicide, four of which have an additional adjuvant. The wind tunnel testing measured droplet size using the flat fan nozzles and operational parameters (spray pressure, nozzle orientation, and airspeed) selected for field trials. These treatments were then evaluated in the field for both in-swath and downwind deposition, with a mass balance on the measured results used to compare each of the formulated product treatments to a reference treatment. Wind tunnel results showed the formulated product tank mixes resulted in significantly different droplet sizes than the water and non-ionic surfactant “blank” reference sprays. Additional adjuvants resulted in minimal changes in droplet size as compared to the formulated product mixture. However the polymer tested broadened the droplet size distribution. Drift modeling of the wind tunnel droplet size results demonstrated little difference between the formulated product and spray adjuvant spray mixtures. However, all treatment solutions significantly reduced modeled drift as compared to the reference treatment. While the field study results did highlight significant differences between treatments solutions, it also showed a great degree in data variability as a result of meteorological and sampling issues. These results have led the authors to conclude that field testing of potential drift reduction technologies under aerial application conditions will be cost prohibitive and likely would give highly variable results. Wind tunnel evaluations at certified laboratories offer a much quicker and inexpensive method for evaluating large numbers of nozzle and spray formulation treatments.


    drift, drift reduction technology, spray droplet sizing, active ingredient, spray adjuvants

    Author Information:

    Fritz, Bradley K.
    USDA-ARS, College Station, TX

    Hoffmann, W. Clint
    USDA-ARS, College Station, TX

    Wolf, Robert E.
    Wolf Consulting & Research LLC, Mahomet, IL

    Bretthauer, Scott
    Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL

    Bagley, W. E.
    Wilbur-Ellis Company, San Antonio, TX

    Committee/Subcommittee: E35.22

    DOI: 10.1520/STP104403