Six Steps to Calibrate and Optimize Airblast Sprayers
By Gwen Hoheisel, WSU Regional Extension Specialist
The idea behind any pesticide application is to get every drop to the crop. Spray or drift that goes into the air clearly missed the target leading not only to negative environmental and health effects, but also a waste of money. Pesticide applications are the most frequent operation carried out in the orchard or vineyard, and chemical control is the second highest cost of production (i.e., pre-harvest operations) in orchard systems with material costs for a single spray ranging from $40 to > $100/acre depending on the crop and chemical (Freeman et al., 2008). So any waste, or improvement, can have a significant economic impact. .
Proper maintenance and operation of a sprayer is the first step in optimizing spray quality. This article will discuss 6 steps to calibrate and optimize sprayer output. However, there is an assumption that the mechanical parts of a sprayer—like the hoses, pressure gauges, pumps, and agitators—are working properly.
Optimizing spray applications takes time initially, but will pay off with better coverage, improved pest control, and less culls. (more…)
Dr. Ute Chambers explains how the WSU Decision Aid System (http://das.wsu.edu) can be used as a tool for making decisions for managing pests in your orchard. She also spoke about some new features including e-mail alerts/notifications for specific pesticide model events and pest monitoring through a new mobile web application for your smart phone or tablet.
Dr. Desmond R. Layne provides an overview and specific examples of resources that people in the fruit industry can use for self-education. He distinguishes unbiased, research-based, peer-reviewed information with other types such as that provided by the general public or commercial companies.
Dr. Lee Kalcsits provides an educational presentation reviewing root function and physiology in the orchard during the program “Roots: Foundation of Your Orchard’s Success” at the 2014 WSHA Annual Meeting, Kennewick, WA, December 3, 2014.
On January 19, 2015 David Granatstein spoke at the Lake Chelan Hort Day about why weed control is needed in orchards, weed control options, herbicides and other choices, and economics. He also discussed the results of non-chemical weed control research.
When researchers think about weed control in crop production, we often think about 'short-term' results, i.e. weed control after 30 days, weed control after 90 days, weed control at harvest, etc. But weeds and weed control efforts in one cropping season can significantly influence the density and composition of weeds in following years. The carryover between seasons is accomplished via the weed seedbank and weed control successes and failures are reflected by changes that occur in this reservoir (Figure 1). In good years, weeds are successfully controlled and few to no seeds may enter the seedbank. In bad years, when weeds escape management strategies, rogue plants may flower, set seed, and contribute to this genetic stockpile. Think about these steps to manage the seedbank.
Weed size is a significant factor influencing the management of weeds with foliar applied herbicides. Larger weeds are notoriously difficult to control, as compared to smaller-sized plants. Herbicide escapes can compete with the current crop by competing for light, nutrients, and water. Weed escapes can also affect crop performance in following seasons via the seeds that they contribute to the soil seedbank.
Brown Marmorated stink bug is an invasive pest unintentionally brought over from Asia which poses a significant risk to tree fruit producers. With 3.1 billion dollars of tree fruit at risk in Washington it is important to understand this new pest and potential controls in the case that it becomes an agricultural problem in Washington state. The following is a summary of Brown Marmorated Stink Bug information and research updates presented at the 2016 Orchard Pest and Disease Management Conference.
This document is meant to provide simple, easy to follow recommendations for water quality sampling under the FSMA Produce Safety Rule for Agricultural Water testing. The methods described here are not meant to be prescriptive, as there are many ways to take a water sample, but represent best practices used by researchers at the Western Center for Food Safety, and FDA Center of Excellence at UC- Davis. Guidance documents from FDA regarding water sampling are expected soon, and this document will be adjusted, should FDA recommendations be different from what has been described
Now that we are in the midst of cherry harvest, it’s a good time to inspect your orchard for Little Cherry Disease. This disease is caused by one or a combination of pathogens – Little Cherry Virus 1, Little Cherry Virus 2, and Western X phytoplasma. The foliage appears normal, but the fruit are small, poorly colored, and lacking flavor. Once infected, the tree cannot be cured, and should be removed to prevent the disease from spreading in the orchard.