Research project Optimal spray application of plant protection products
Main research question
The overall objective of OPTiSPRAY is to support farmers, contractors and advisors in choosing the optimal spray application technique according to crop (development), target organism, and type of plant protection product (PPP). To this end, a user-friendly decision tool (OPTiSPRAY spray app) will be developed that allows them to select the most efficient sprayer setting and/or application technique. The aim is to optimise deposition on the target organism and minimize the use of PPP and losses to the soil.
Central to the development of the decision tool is the development and validation of a CFD-based model that simulates spray applications for three model crops (potatoes, wheat, Brussels sprouts) as well as a flat-field weed control. As input to the model, spray application techniques and settings will be characterised through lab tests (e.g. droplet characteristics, spray distribution, air velocities) and field tests (deposition and coverage). In addition, dose-response curves for herbicides will also be defined, which will also serve as input for the model. Finally, a techno-economic evaluation will be carried out to quantify the costs and benefits of improved spraying technologies.
Global agriculture relies heavily on PPP to control plant diseases and pests. Reducing the negative impacts of PPPs is a major global societal challenge. This project aims to support Flemish farmers and the crop protection application industry to fully exploit the potential of existing and innovative techniques, thus reducing PPP use and possible losses to the environment.