LiDAR image of winter wheat generated using the Agri-Epi Sensor Platform at Cranfield University

Variable Rate Application of Plant Protection Products

Excess plant protection product use can lead to environmental damage, disease resistance and excess spending from farmers.

Variable Rate Application (VRA) systems exist but these lack a full understanding of the fundamental relationship between the spray, how it is sprayed, plant physiology and the degree of spatial variation.

This project co-funded by AHDB, Douglas Bomford Trust and Frontier Ag focuses on winter wheat and fungicide application. This is achieved through the PhD of Alex Ansell in partnership with Silsoe Spray Applications.

The aim of the project is to develop the basis for a VRA system. Phase 1 involved a detailed review of the technology and state of the art in dose adjustment and optimisation for plant protection product application.

Phase 2 focused on understanding the temporal variation effect on the amount of spray deposited on the plant, and the potential for reducing application rates.

A novel non-destructive method of spray detection is being developed as current methods of spray sampling are destructive.

Concurrently 3D imagery techniques using the Agri-Epi Sensor Platform in the CHAPs Glasshouse have been employed to investigate spray application detection across growth stages.

The current focus of the project (Phase 3) is to increase understanding of the spatial variation in winter wheat fields and to assess whether NDVI is a suitable basis for a VRA system. The final phase of the project is to perform a cost benefit analysis for Variable Rate Plant Protection Products.

For more information please contact Dr Toby Waine or Alex Ansell

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