CANOPY STRUCTURE AND DEPOSITION EFFICIENCY OF VINEYARD SPRAYERS
AbstractA field study was performed to analyse how deposition efficiency from an axial-fan sprayer was affected by the canopy structure of vines trained to the High Cordon, Low Cordon and Casarsa systems, at beginning of flowering and beginning of berry touch growth stages. An empirical calibration method, providing a dose rate adjustment roughly proportional to canopy height, was used. The canopy structure was assessed using the Point Quadrat method, and determining the leaf area index (LAI) and the leaf layer index (LLI). Spray deposits were measured by colorimetry, using a water soluble dye (Tartrazine) as a tracer. Correlation between deposits and canopy parameters were analysed and discussed. Foliar deposits per unit leaf area were relatively constant, suggesting that empirical calibration can reduce deposit variability associated with different training systems and growth stages. Total foliar deposition ranged from 33.6% and 82.3% of total spray volume, and increased proportionally with the LLI up to LLI<4. Deposits on bunches significantly decreased with the LLI in the grape zone. The results suggest that sprayer efficiency is improved by a regular, symmetrical canopy, with few leaf layers in the grape zone as in Low Cordon. However, a LLI<3 over the whole canopy and >40% gaps in the foliage both reduced total deposition, and may increase the risk for larger drift losses.
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