What Type of Spraying System is Best for My Tree Farm?

Compare agricultural spraying systems

What kind of spraying system are you currently using to protect your tree farm? Whether you’re operating a nursery, or growing fruits or nuts, your spraying regimen is an integral part of how you protect your trees and your yield.

Great advancements have been made in agriculture spraying technology over the last few years, so if it’s been awhile since you considered your options, you might be missing out.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the three types of agricultural spraying systems on the market today.

Conventional air blast sprayers

Air blast sprayers have been in regular use for integrated pest management since the early 1950s. True to their name, they will “blast” every tree in an orchard with chemical coverage (as well as every space in between the trees). For many years, the generally accepted school of thought in terms of agricultural spraying has been this: trees need to be protected, so overspraying is preferable to underspraying, just to be on the safe side.

However, recent agricultural research reverses the acceptance of the practice of overspraying, for several reasons:

  1. Pesticide drift. In addition to being wasteful, drift can settle on unintended targets, potentially damaging other crops on your land or neighboring farms’ crops. The latter can expose your operation to liability issues as well.
  2. Root damage. As overspray drips off your trees, it seeps into the ground and can eventually leach into the tree, damaging the root system and causing a failure to thrive. Over time, this can have potentially devastating effects on the health of the farm and reduce its sustainability.
  3. Groundwater contamination. Today’s consumers are increasingly interested in buying from environmentally friendly businesses. Overspraying will inevitably result in groundwater contamination, as the excess spray settles into the soil.

Ultrasonic spraying systems

In the early 2000s, agricultural spraying saw an improvement with the advent of ultrasonic spraying systems. Ultrasonic systems are able to sense the presence of objects, directing the spray nozzles to turn on when objects are sensed and off when nothing is detected, thus eliminating spray between trees. Operations that adopted ultrasonic spraying systems realized up to a 25% chemical cost savings.

While that savings is significant for many growers, the ultrasonic spraying technology does have limitations. It doesn’t solve the issues of pesticide drift, tree root damage or groundwater contamination because ultrasonic sprayers do not recognize the unique architecture of the tree canopy. So, while they are no longer spraying between trees, ultrasonic sprayers are still overspraying certain areas of the trees.

Density-based agriculture spraying system

Also in the early 2000s, the USDA began funding research to develop a density-based spraying system. Studies were conducted at universities across the U.S. to determine the potential chemical cost savings. These studies revealed that a density-based agriculture spraying system could yield chemical cost savings of up to 73%, with 87% less airborne drift and 68-93% reduction in spray loss on the ground, and equal or better crop protection.

The density-based agriculture spray system is based on LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology, which is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges. The LiDAR works in tandem with a GPS to guide the sprayer.

The LiDAR technology is a significant improvement over ultrasonic spraying system because it senses each tree’s canopy and foliage so that each tree gets exactly the right amount of spray needed.

In 2017, Smart Apply®, Inc. , of Indianapolis, Indiana, was exclusively chosen by the USDA to commercialize the LiDAR-based agriculture sprayer technology. As a result, the Smart Apply Intelligent Sprayer™ is now available across the U.S. and internationally.

Growers who have adopted the Smart Apply Intelligent Spray System have reported dramatically reduced chemical waste and significant improvements in profitability, sustainability and environmentally friendly growing operations.

If you’d like to see for yourself how the Smart Apply Intelligent Sprayer works, request a demo today. One of our Smart Apply® technicians will install a fully unlocked and operational Smart Apply system onto your existing air blast sprayer. He’ll also train your team on how to use it. Once you’ve seen it in action, you’ll understand how Smart Apply will save you money.

About Smart Apply

Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, Smart Apply, Inc. manufactures the Smart Apply® Intelligent Sprayer™, the only density-based, intelligent spray system available on the market today. At Smart Apply, we’re committed to helping tree and nut growers and nursery owners across the United States and around the world realize chemical cost savings, improved sustainability through healthier trees and plants, cleaner and safer groundwater and greater overall yields, with an easy-to-use, reliable system based on years of research and cutting-edge technology.

Learn more about the Smart Apply Intelligent Sprayer™:

Become a Smart Apply Dealer

If you’d like to partner with a company that’s revolutionizing agriculture spraying systems and get ahead of the curve, join the Smart Apply team today.

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