Special Issue "Development of Crop Protection Mechanical Engineering Technology, Evaluation of Efficacy and Safety of Pesticide Spraying"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Agricultural Biosystem and Biological Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 April 2023 | Viewed by 4886

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Xinyu Xue
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nanjing Institute of Agricultural Mechanization (NIAM), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, NO.100 Liuying Road, Nanjing 210014, China
Interests: precision agricultural aviation; digital agriculture; agricultural UAV; crop protection mechanical engineering; precision spray technology
Prof. Dr. Yubin Lan
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Center for International Collaboration Research on Precision Agricultural Aviation Pesticide Spraying Technology, Wushan Road, Guangzhou 510642, China
Interests: precision agricultural aviation; agricultural UAV; digital agriculture
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Songchao Zhang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Nanjing Institute of Agricultural Mechanization (NIAM), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, NO.100 Liuying Road, Nanjing 210014, China
Interests: precision agricultural aviation; digital agriculture; agricultural UAV; crop protection mechanical engineering; precision spray technology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The effective prevention and control of crop diseases and insect pests is an important guarantee for safe food production, and mechanized pesticide spraying is the most effective means of preventing and controlling crop diseases and insect pests. At present, pesticide spraying is facing problems such as pesticide waste and environmental pollution.

Precision pesticide application technologies, such as air-assisted spraying, electrostatic spraying, target spraying, and variable spraying and high-efficiency crop protection machineries, such as crop protection unmanned aircraft system (CPUAS), boom sprayers, and large high ground clearance boom sprayers, are the main methods and development trends for improving the utilization rate of pesticides, reducing the amount of pesticides used, and effectively preventing and controling crop diseases and insect pests.

This Special Issue, entiled the “Development of Crop Protection Mechanical Engineering Technology, Evaluation of Efficacy and Safety of Pesticide Spraying, therefore aims to publish high-quality articles that are related to mechanized crop protection, pesticide spraying, and the chemical control of pests and diseases. The purpose of the Special Issue is to display the latest study results and ti discuss cutting-edge research as well as to predict the development trends in mechanical engineering technologies for crop protection.

Research papers and review articles focusing on recent advances as well as papers presenting perspectives on pest and disease management, efficient pesticide spraying, spraying theory, pesticide spraying systems and components (nozzle, mixing apparatus, electrostatic spraying systems, target spraying systems, variable spraying systems, etc.), mechanized pesticide spraying application, and the evaluation of the efficacy and safety of pesticide spraying are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Xinyu Xue
Prof. Dr. Yubin Lan
Dr. Songchao Zhang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • precision spraying technology
  • spraying theory
  • spraying systems and components
  • intelligent crop protection machine
  • unmanned crop protection machine
  • crop protection unmanned aircraft system (CPUAS)
  • pesticide spraying evaluation
  • precision agriculture

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Efficiency of Fungicide Application an Using an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Pneumatic Sprayer for Control of Hemileia vastatrix and Cercospora coffeicola in Mountain Coffee Crops
Agronomy 2023, 13(2), 340; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020340 - 24 Jan 2023
Viewed by 374
Abstract
Coffee production and marketing is one of the main global commercial activities, but crop yields depend on several factors, among which plant health. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of spray droplet deposition in coffee crops grown in a [...] Read more.
Coffee production and marketing is one of the main global commercial activities, but crop yields depend on several factors, among which plant health. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of spray droplet deposition in coffee crops grown in a mountain region, associated to the efficacy of the control of fungal diseases. The application efficiency, using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and the efficacy of the products applied were tested. Water-sensitive paper tags were used to analyze the application efficiency; agronomic efficiency, vegetative vigor, yield, and physiological parameters were used to determine the fungicide efficacy. Droplet coverage in the upper canopy layer using a pneumatic sprayer (28.70%) was 4.11-fold higher than that found in the same layer for application using a UAV (6.98%) at the rate of 15 L ha−1. The highest droplet depositions by using a UAV were found for the rate of 15 L ha−1: 1.60, 1.04, and 0.43 µL cm−2 in the upper, middle, and lower layers, respectively; the deposition in the upper layer with application using a pneumatic sprayer was 42.67 µL cm−2, and therefore, a 26.7-fold higher deposition. The results denote that the control of fungal diseases through fungicide applications using a UAV is efficient for mountain coffee crops. Full article
Article
Comparison of Droplet Distribution and Control Effect of Wheat Aphids under Different Operation Parameters of the Crop Protection UAV in the Wheat Flowering Stage
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 3175; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12123175 - 15 Dec 2022
Viewed by 523
Abstract
Aphid is one of the main insect pests of wheat in the flowering stage, so timely and effective control of wheat aphids plays an important role in ensuring wheat yield. The crop protection Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is widely used in the control [...] Read more.
Aphid is one of the main insect pests of wheat in the flowering stage, so timely and effective control of wheat aphids plays an important role in ensuring wheat yield. The crop protection Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is widely used in the control of wheat pests and diseases nowadays. In order to screen out the suitable operation parameters of the crop protection UAV to control the wheat aphids, this study conducted wheat aphid distribution investigation tests and droplet distribution tests. With the P20 electric four-rotor crop protection UAV (Guangzhou Jifei Technology Co., Ltd., Guangzhou, China) as the test equipment, four levels of flight speed (FS: 3, 4, 5, 6 m/s) and three levels of flight height (FH: 1.5, 2, 2.5 m) were combined as operation parameters, tests were carried out to compare the density and uniformity of droplet coverage, and the wheat aphid control tests were carried out by using the optimized operation parameters. The results of the wheat aphid distribution investigation test showed that aphids mainly distributed in the lower layer of the wheat plant canopy, accounting for more than 90.61%. The results of the droplet distribution test showed that with the increase in FS and FH, the coverage density and the droplet distribution uniformity in the upper and lower layers of wheat showed a downward trend under the condition of considering the boundary overlap of spraying width (SW) in multi-routes. Through the comparison of operation efficiency and droplet distribution quality, two combinations of parameters A1 (FS: 3 m/s, FH: 1.5 m) and B1 (FS: 4 m/s, FH: 1.5 m) were selected for the aphid control effect test. The results of the control test showed that the average control effect of A1 (92.05%) on aphids was 10.3% higher than that of B1 (81.75%) 7 days after pesticide application, which indicated that improving the droplet distribution uniformity in the lower layer of wheat could significantly improve the control effect of aphids. This study result could provide reference for the same type of crop protection UAV to control the same type of wheat diseases and insect pests in the same growing stage. Full article
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Article
Experimental Study of the Droplet Deposition Characteristics on an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Platform under Wind Tunnel Conditions
Agronomy 2022, 12(12), 3066; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12123066 - 03 Dec 2022
Viewed by 342
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are widely used in field pesticide spray operations due to their wide applicability and high operational efficiency. However, their high spray height and fine pesticide droplets lead to a greater risk of drift and likely different droplet deposition outcomes [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are widely used in field pesticide spray operations due to their wide applicability and high operational efficiency. However, their high spray height and fine pesticide droplets lead to a greater risk of drift and likely different droplet deposition outcomes compared to the expectation. So far, most of the previous studies have used direct field methods on UAVs’ droplet deposition characteristics and there have been few carried out in wind tunnels. Thus, in this paper, a simulated UAV platform equipped with TeeJet 80-015 VP fan nozzles was utilized to study the droplet deposition characteristics in a wind tunnel. The droplet deposition amount and drift potential reduction percentage (DPRP) under different spray parameters were obtained. The results showed that when the rotor was open, the deposition amount in the target area increased by 2.6 times and the drift deposition amount decreased by 7.3 times when spraying tap water at 3 m/s wind speed and 3 bar pressure. Faster wind speeds led to greater drift deposition amounts and a lower DPRP, but higher pressures resulted in greater drift deposition amounts and a larger DPRP. The 30 g/L PEG-20000 solution has a higher droplet size and smaller relative droplet spectrum width RS, resulting in the deposition amount in the target area increasing by 9.13% on average and the drift amount decreasing by 24.7% on average, and it can be used as an anti-drift additive when needed. The research results can provide reference and technical support for UAV wind tunnel tests and field operation specifications. Full article
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Article
Research on Precise Fertilization Method of Rice Tillering Stage Based on UAV Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Prescription Map
Agronomy 2022, 12(11), 2893; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12112893 - 18 Nov 2022
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Tillering fertilization is an important part of field management in rice production. As the first peak fertilizer requirement period of rice, tillering fertilization directly affects the number of tillers and the growth of rice in the middle and late stages. In order to [...] Read more.
Tillering fertilization is an important part of field management in rice production. As the first peak fertilizer requirement period of rice, tillering fertilization directly affects the number of tillers and the growth of rice in the middle and late stages. In order to investigate a method of constructing an accurate fertilizer prescription map in the tillering stage using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing nitrogen demand diagnosis and reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer while ensuring the rice yield, this study realized the diagnosis of the rice nitrogen nutrient demand using UAV hyperspectral remote sensing during the tilling stage fertilization window. The results showed that the fertilizer amount was determined using the characteristic waveband and remote sensing. The results showed that five rice hyperspectral variables were extracted in the range of 450–950 nm by the feature band selection and feature extraction for the inversion of rice nitrogen content, and the inversion model of rice nitrogen content constructed by the whale-optimized extreme learning machine (WOA-ELM) was better than that constructed by the whale-optimized extreme learning machine (ELM). The model coefficient of determination was 0.899 and the prescription map variable fertilizer application method based on the nitrogen content inversion results reduced the nitrogen fertilizer by 23.21%. The results of the study can provide data and a model basis for precise variable fertilizer tracking by agricultural drones in the cold rice tillering stage. Full article
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Article
Effects of Leaf Surface Roughness and Contact Angle on In Vivo Measurement of Droplet Retention
Agronomy 2022, 12(9), 2228; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12092228 - 19 Sep 2022
Viewed by 703
Abstract
Droplet retention during pesticide application is a serious problem because run-off droplets flow out of the target area and pose a hazard to human health and the environment. The present study was conducted with the aim to measure the droplet retention of sprayed [...] Read more.
Droplet retention during pesticide application is a serious problem because run-off droplets flow out of the target area and pose a hazard to human health and the environment. The present study was conducted with the aim to measure the droplet retention of sprayed droplets on crop leaves in vivo using a constructed test system. In the measurement, three crop species with different surface properties (tomato, chili pepper, and winter wheat) were selected for droplet retention determination, and the variations in the time intervals of maximum retention and stable retention were determined. Contact angle and surface roughness (Ra), which are the most important surface properties of crop leaves, were used as independent variables. The Ra values of tomato, pepper, and winter wheat were 24.73 μm, 5.28 μm, and 17.59 μm, respectively, while the contact angles of tomato, pepper, and winter wheat were 97.67°, 70.07° and 131.98°, respectively. The results showed that the curves of droplet retention on sprayed tomato and wheat leaves had similar patterns over time and could be divided into four periods (rapidly increasing period, slowly increasing period, collapsing period, and stable period). The maximum droplet retention on tomato leaf surface was Rmax = 0.169 gcm2, and the stable retention was Rst = 0.134 gcm2. The maximum droplet retention on the surface of winter wheat leaf was Rmax = 0.244 gcm2, and the stable retention was Rst = 0.093 gcm2. However, droplet retention on pepper leaves was different from that on tomato and wheat leaves. The curve pattern of droplet retention on pepper leaves over time showed two peaks and two valleys. Moreover, the maximum retention, Rmax, was in the range of 0.149~0.151 gcm2, and the stable retention was Rst = 0.077 gcm2. It is expected that the obtained results can be used to characterize the properties of crop leaves and that this study can contribute to the improvement of droplet retention for effective chemical application and the reduction in the environmental pollution caused by agricultural pesticides. Full article
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Article
The Effects of Adjuvants on the Wetting and Deposition of Insecticide Solutions on Hydrophobic Wheat Leaves
Agronomy 2022, 12(9), 2148; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12092148 - 09 Sep 2022
Viewed by 848
Abstract
Pesticide droplet deposition determines the efficacy of pesticide solution and is a critical process in pesticide application. Adding spray adjuvants can improve droplet deposition to a certain extent, but there are currently many types of adjuvants with different properties. The improper selection or [...] Read more.
Pesticide droplet deposition determines the efficacy of pesticide solution and is a critical process in pesticide application. Adding spray adjuvants can improve droplet deposition to a certain extent, but there are currently many types of adjuvants with different properties. The improper selection or unreasonable use of adjuvants may be counterproductive, increasing the loss of pesticides or causing crop damage. In this study, the adjuvants methylated plant oil (Beidatong), alkoxy modified polytrisiloxane (Silwet408), hyperbranched fatty alcohol ether modified polymer (ND500), and polymers adjuvants (G2801) were selected through surface tension, contact angle, the determination of the maximum retention (Rm) and point of run-off (POR), and field deposition to explore the effect of adjuvants on the wetting and deposition performance of pesticides on wheat leaves. Compared with Beidatong and G2801, Silwet408 and ND500 could significantly reduce the surface tension of pesticides and greatly promote the wetting properties on wheat leaves, but Rm and POR value on wheat leaves were reduced. The field test results also showed that the deposition amount of the adjuvant Silwet408 and ND500 on wheat was slightly lower than that of the adjuvant Beidatong and G2801. Studying the effects of adjuvants on the wetting and deposition properties of insecticide solutions can provide practical guidance for the use of adjuvants. Full article
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Article
Characteristics on the Spatial Distribution of Droplet Size and Velocity with Difference Adjuvant in Nozzle Spraying
Agronomy 2022, 12(8), 1960; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12081960 - 19 Aug 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 694
Abstract
The spatial distribution of droplet size and velocity affects the deposition and distribution on the target. In order to investigate the influence of different adjuvant and pressures on the spatial distribution of droplet size and velocity in atomization area of different nozzles, air [...] Read more.
The spatial distribution of droplet size and velocity affects the deposition and distribution on the target. In order to investigate the influence of different adjuvant and pressures on the spatial distribution of droplet size and velocity in atomization area of different nozzles, air induction flat fan nozzle IDK120-03, multi-range flat fan nozzle LU120-03 and anti-drift flat fan nozzle AD120-03 were selected. Phase Doppler Interferometer (PDI) was used to analyze and compare the distribution of droplet size and velocity in the atomization area of three nozzles when four typical adjuvant Maisi, Maidao, Adsee AB-600 and Surun sprayed at different pressures. The results show that the volume median diameter of droplet size has no obvious change along the vertical direction of the nozzle center and increases with distance in the horizontal direction, the droplet size decreases with increasing pressure at the same position, the adjuvant all increases the droplet size (about 12%, 12%, 10% and 9% for Maisi, Maidao, Surun and Adsee AB-600, respectively), IDK120-03 nozzle droplet size is the largest and LU120-03 nozzle is the smallest in the same position. For droplet velocity distribution, droplet velocity decrease in distance along the vertical and horizontal direction, respectively, the droplet velocity increases with increasing pressure at the same position, compared with water, the droplet velocity increased by about 13%, 9%, 8%, and 4% for Maisi, Maidao, Surun, and Adsee AB-600, respectively, the velocity of AD nozzle is the largest and IDK nozzle is the smallest at the same position. The experiment can provide a basis for the selection of adjuvants and nozzles in pesticide application, and provide a data base for studying the distribution of droplets on the target. Full article
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Review

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Review
Key Technologies for an Orchard Variable-Rate Sprayer: Current Status and Future Prospects
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010059 - 24 Dec 2022
Viewed by 348
Abstract
An orchard variable-rate sprayer applies the appropriate amount of plant protection products only where they are needed based on detection data from advanced sensors, a system that has attracted increasing attention. The latest developments in the detection unit, variable control unit, and signal-processing [...] Read more.
An orchard variable-rate sprayer applies the appropriate amount of plant protection products only where they are needed based on detection data from advanced sensors, a system that has attracted increasing attention. The latest developments in the detection unit, variable control unit, and signal-processing algorithm of the variable-rate sprayer are discussed. The detection of target position and volume is realized with an ultrasonic sensor, a laser scanning sensor, or other methods. The technology of real-time acquisition of foliage density, plant diseases and pests and their severity, as well as meteorological parameters needs further improvements. Among the three variable-flow-rate control units, pulse width modulation was the most widely used, followed by pressure-based, and variable concentration, which is preliminarily verified in the laboratory. The variable air supply control unit is tested both in the laboratory and in field experiments. The tree-row-volume model, the leaf-wall-area model, and the continuous application mode are widely used algorithms. Advanced research on a variable-rate sprayer is analyzed and future prospects are pointed out. A laser-based variable-rate intelligent sprayer equipped with pulse width modulation solenoid valves to tune spray outputs in real time based on target structures may have the potential to be successfully adopted by growers on a large scale in the foreseeable future. It will be a future research direction to develop an intelligent multi-sensor-fusion variable-rate sprayer based on target crop characteristics, plant diseases and pests and their severity, as well as meteorological conditions while achieving multi-variable control. Full article
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