Intelligent spray technology targets pesticide application

Pesticides are essential to protect food crops but often harm other organisms when they are not on-target or drift in the wind. Iowa State University in collaboration with Ohio State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service are finding ways to more precisely apply pesticides for maximum benefit.

Focusing on apple pest and disease management, scientists are studying the potential to combine a precision, intelligent sprayer technology that pinpoints where to spray with an innovative early-warning system that signals when to spray based on weather data and disease indicators.

This system would be far superior to the current approach of timing pesticide spraying according to pre-set dates rather than actual risk assessment. Research findings show it may be possible to reduce pesticide use on apples by between 30% and 70% with the new system.

Researchers have been sharing their study results on this cost-effective, ecologically sound technology throughout the Midwest via podcasts, blog posts, videos, a website and during field days.

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