Spray drift research is an ongoing endeavor of the agricultural industry to help ensure chemical is applied as efficiently as possible. All spray applications involve an optimization of droplet size that allows for the highest level of efficacy while maintaining the highest level of safety. This relates to droplet size as the spray must contain droplets that are small enough to be effective while large enough to be safe.
New technology will pose new questions to ask and work towards answers. As drone application becomes more viable, evaluation of the spray must have established methodology and be evaluated. As artificial intelligence takes hold, the concepts of spray coverage and spray rate may be challenged in a move towards greater environmental awareness.
The EPA works with companies in the agricultural space to help maintain this balance of safety and efficacy. As new products come to the market, testing in a wind tunnel is often an early evaluation step. This helps to evaluate viability of specific tank mixes and nozzle combinations to meet product label requirements.
By looking at adjuvants, nozzle design and structure around the nozzle, it is possible to limit the driftable droplets. As one would expect, the smaller the droplet, the more likely the droplet is to linger in the air and drift in the wind. The EPA and industry at large are working to improve on-target spray rates to ensure both continued efficiency in the field as well as avoiding any unintended consequences of the nearby area.
Spray Analytics has the testing capability to perform wind tunnel testing and has experience with designing experiments to simulate spray drift in the field. By partnering with the University of Dayton Aerospace, our capabilities to do both traditional spray drift studies as well as out of the box aerodynamic studies are unique to spray research. Our goal is to work with our customers and the EPA in producing studies to ensure agricultural sprays are as safe as possible while providing the effectiveness necessary for the sprayers.
As new technologies emerge, Spray Analytics is positioned uniquely with consulting options, instrument rental and a partnership with the University of Dayton Aerospace Department to provide research and development of new spray technologies.