Sensors 2011, 11(4), 4295-4311; doi:10.3390/s110404295
Article

Methodology for the Regulation of Boom Sprayers Operating in Circular Trajectories

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Received: 1 February 2011; in revised form: 23 March 2011 / Accepted: 11 April 2011 / Published: 13 April 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensors in Agriculture and Forestry)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: A methodology for the regulation of boom sprayers working in circular trajectories has been developed. In this type of trajectory, the areas of the plots of land treated by the outer nozzles of the boom are treated at reduced rates, and those treated by the inner nozzles are treated in excess. The goal of this study was to establish the methodology to determine the flow of the individual nozzles on the boom to guarantee that the dose of the product applied per surface unit is similar across the plot. This flow is a function of the position of the equipment (circular trajectory radius) and of the displacement velocity such that the treatment applied per surface unit is uniform. GPS technology was proposed as a basis to establish the position and displacement velocity of the tractor. The viability of this methodology was simulated considering two circular plots with radii of 160 m and 310 m, using three sets of equipment with boom widths of 14.5, 24.5 and 29.5 m. Data showed as increasing boom widths produce bigger errors in the surface dose applied (L/m2). Error also increases with decreasing plot surface. As an example, considering the three boom widths of 14.5, 24.5 and 29.5 m working on a circular plot with a radius of 160 m, the percentage of surface with errors in the applied surface dose greater than 5% was 30%, 58% and 65% respectively. Considering a circular plot with radius of 310 m the same errors were 8%, 22% and 31%. To obtain a uniform superficial dose two sprayer regulation alternatives have been simulated considering a 14.5 m boom: the regulation of the pressure of each nozzle and the regulation of the pressure of each boom section. The viability of implementing the proposed methodology on commercial boom sprayers using GPS antennas to establish the position and displacement velocity of the tractor was justified with a field trial in which a self-guiding commercial GPS system was used along with three precision GPS systems located in the sprayer boom. The use of an unique central GPS unit should allow the estimation of the work parameters of the boom nozzles (including those located at the boom ends) with great accuracy.
Keywords: boom; sprayer; GPS; circular trajectory; nozzle; flow control; surface dose; treatment uniformity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Garcia-Ramos, F.J.; Vidal, M.; Boné, A.; Serreta, A. Methodology for the Regulation of Boom Sprayers Operating in Circular Trajectories. Sensors 2011, 11, 4295-4311.

AMA Style

Garcia-Ramos FJ, Vidal M, Boné A, Serreta A. Methodology for the Regulation of Boom Sprayers Operating in Circular Trajectories. Sensors. 2011; 11(4):4295-4311.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Garcia-Ramos, Francisco Javier; Vidal, Mariano; Boné, Antonio; Serreta, Alfredo. 2011. "Methodology for the Regulation of Boom Sprayers Operating in Circular Trajectories." Sensors 11, no. 4: 4295-4311.

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