SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 April 2024

The Effectiveness of Different Drift-Reduction Mechanisms in Drone-Spray Conditions and How It Compares to Ground Applications


The adoption of drones as spray systems is rapidly growing around the world because their versatility enables the treatment of crops in any terrain or growth stage, the adoption cost is lower than traditional ground or aerial spray systems, and they are easy to operate. However, the spray volumes are limited to a maximum of about 20 L/Ha, and extended range nozzles are typically used to maximize treatment coverage. At pressures typically used in drone-spray applications, these nozzles form fine droplets, which are prone to drift. Therefore, the use of a drift-reduction adjuvant is advisable. In this work, we report the effect of two types of drift-reduction agents or drift-reduction mechanisms over the formation of driftable fines in drone-spray applications and how it compares to ground application conditions. We evaluated the effect of these products on the spray drift of different pesticides and pesticide combinations, more specifically herbicides and soluble liquid formulations, testing the effect of the increased pesticide concentration in the spray solution. Overall, we observed an impact from the pesticide concentration, pesticide combination, and the type of adjuvant or drift retardant used. The polymer-based drift retardant was more effective at reducing drift in drone applications for the tested systems, and we explored the limited effect observed with the emulsion-based drift retardant from a mechanistic standpoint, demonstrating how the preservation of a nonhomogeneous phase is critical for the effect of these systems.

Author Information

Naue, Jeferson, A.
Momentive Performance Materials, Pearl River, NY, US
Xu, Yi
Momentive Performance Materials, Pearl River, NY, US
Policello, George, A.
Momentive Performance Materials, Pearl River, NY, US
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Pages: 36–48
DOI: 10.1520/STP165120230014
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-7750-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-7749-9