Reducing Pesticide Drift by Considering Propeller Rotation Effects From Aerial Application Near Buffer Zones
- Steven Thomson
- Alvin R Womac
- Joseph E Mulrooney
Off-target drift of chemical from agricultural spraying can damage sensitive crops, destroy beneficial insects, and intrude on human and domestic animal habitats, threatening environmental quality. Reduction of drift from aerial application can be facilitated at the edge of a field by offsetting spray ½ or 1 boom width from the field edge or by switching off one boom. For single boom application (and especially when spraying in a cross wind), there is some question whether off-target drift of sprayed crop protection agent is influenced by which boom is spraying and if direction of propeller rotation has any effect. An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of propeller wash rotation on aerial spray drift from turbine-powered aircraft. Spray samplers were placed at three sample lines to collect drift fallout and air-entrained particles 104, 134, 195, and 317 meters downwind, perpendicular to the flight path. An aqueous mixture of malathion was applied from the aircraft through fifty hollow cone nozzles. Five total replications were conducted over two days. Each replication had four treatment combinations of actively spraying boom and airplane direction. Results showed that neither active boom nor boom location (upwind or downwind) was statistically significant for either sampling method at the 0.05 level. Blocking the study to account for weather differences increased statistical precision. Thus when analysis was limited to the second day of testing, propeller wash direction was significant at the 0.10 level for the fallout sheets (P = 0.0773), and at the 0.05 level for high volume (Hi-Vol) air samplers (P = 0.0200). Higher concentrations occurred when propeller wash spiraled downwind. Based on results of this study, recommendations for pilots spraying with a single boom near a boundary is to spray so that propeller wash rotation occurs upwind.
- Joan LeeEditorial Assistant