Orchard Sprayer Field Day

Fungicides and insecticides are a significant production cost in an orchard. Are you using those materials in the most effective and cost efficient manner? Orchard owners, managers, employees and anyone who works with fruit production is invited to attend the Orchard Sprayer Technology Field Day scheduled for Thursday, August 3 at Bauman Orchards in Rittman. The orchard is located at 161 Rittman Ave in Rittman Ohio, 44270. The field day begins with sign-in at 2:30 pm and concludes with a light meal served around 6:30 pm. The field day is presented by OSU Extension, USDA-ARS and Bauman Orchards.

The field day will focus on teaching and demonstrating how to calibrate air blast sprayers for orchard use. Determination of sprayer output and learning how to adjust that output is one part of sprayer calibration. Another important part is to determine where that spray is going, and its distribution pattern over the fruit tree. Dr. Erdal Ozkan, OSU Extension Sprayer Technology Specialist, will demonstrate the use of a vertical “patternator” which records the volume distribution of a spray application from the bottom to the top of a fruit tree. Dr. Ozkan will show field day participants how to use this information to adjust sprayer nozzles for more cost effective spray coverage.

The field day will also highlight sprayer demonstrations with sprayers provided by the George F. Ackerman Company and by Fred’s Water Service. Dr. Heping Zhu, USDA-ARS lead scientist on the “intelligent” sprayer system, along with personnel from his lab will demonstrate the intelligent sprayer. The intelligent sprayer uses a laser system to “read” the fruit tree canopy and tree spacing. Spray volume, spray pattern, and nozzle output are changed on the go based on these readings. Trials with the intelligent sprayer have shown reductions in pesticide use of 47-70% compared to conventional orchard sprayers and annual chemical savings of $140 to $280 per acre.

After the sprayer calibration and sprayer application demonstrations, there will be time for discussion with Dr. Ozkan, Dr. Zhu, and representatives from the sprayer companies. Following the discussion time, the field day will conclude with a light meal served by BG’s Main Event of Rittman and provided courtesy of field day sponsors. Field day participants will have the opportunity to visit displays set up by field day sponsors before and after the field day demonstrations. Field day sponsors include: CPS: Dave O’Brien, Columbus Irrigation, Sterling Farm Equipment, Miller Chemical, Farmers National Bank, Wayne Savings Community Bank, Farm Credit Mid-America, Farmers State Bank, Fred’s Water Service and the George F. Ackerman Company.

Pre-registration is requested by Thursday, July 27 to help with planning meal numbers and handout materials. The cost to attend the field day is $5/person. Pre-register by contacting the Wayne County Extension office at 330-264-8722 or by email to office assistant Lisa Parker at: parker.1269@osu.edu . An information flyer and registration form is available on the Wayne County Extension web site at: http://go.osu.edu/orchardsprayerday.