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07 Oct 2020

Variable Rate Application of fungicides

Variable Rate Application of fungicides

By Cranfield University

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 was piloted. Phase 3 was to increase understanding of the spatial variation in winter wheat fields and to assess whether NDVI is a suitable basis for a VRA system. Information about within-field variation of winter wheat across the UK was extracted using Google Earth Engine.

The final part of this project is to assess the financial implications for variation rate applications and perform cost benefit analysis on this method.

For more information please contact Dr Toby Waine or Alex Ansell

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