Development of two portable patternators to improve drift control and operator training in the operation of vineyard sprayers

E. Gil, A. Landers, M. Gallart, J. Llorens


Spray drift can be defined as the quantity of plant protection product that is carried out of the sprayed area by the action of air currents during the application process. Efficacy of pesticide applications in orchards and vineyards is highly dependent on matching the canopy characteristics with the liquid distribution on a vertical plane, this being influenced by the type of sprayer, the nozzle orientation and air outlet adjustment. Two simple vertical patternators were designed and developed with the express purpose to be used in field conditions for the adjustment of vineyard canopy sprayers. Three different orchard sprayers were selected for comparative field trials of two new patternators with an already commercially available portable vertical patternator designed at University of Turin (Italy). The objective was to evaluate their efficiency in terms of spray recovery, symmetry and repeatability. Results show the ability of the two prototypes to measure the vertical distribution of liquid, as well as the important similarities between the liquid distribution profiles obtained with both patternators in comparison to the reference one. Trials conducted with the three different orchard sprayers show the suitability of this kind of tool, not only for research purposes but also for training activities and as part of the sprayer calibration process. Important benefits from both an economic and a sustainable point of view can be obtained regarding adequate liquid distribution according to the crop characteristics, this being especially interesting in field conditions.


vertical patternator; crop profile; sprayer; nozzle adjustment

Full Text:



Ade G, Venturi P, 1994. Verifica dell'efficienza di una parete lamellare per il controllo della distribuzione delle irroratrici. Atti delle Giornate Fitopatologiche 1: 115-122.

Balsari P, Tamagnone M, 1995. Una atrezzatura mobile per il controllo della distribuzione delle macchine irroratrici per le colture arboree. Rivista di Ingegneria Agraria 1: 27-35.

Balsari P, Oggero G, Tamagnone M, 2000. Il controllo funzionale delle irroratrici per le colture arboree in Piemonte. Quaderni della Regione Piemonte. Agricoltura. Supplemento al n. 21, Torino, Italy. 66 pp.

Balsari P, Ade G, Cerruto E, Giametta G, Guarella P, Marucco P, Pergher G, Vieri M, 2004. Are vertical spray patterns an efficient instrument that can improve the adjustment of air-assisted sprayers in vineyard? Proc of the First Europe Workshop on Standardized Procedure for the Inspection of Sprayers in Europe, Braunschweigh (Denmark), Apr 27-29. pp: 146-153.

Balsari P, Gioelli F, Tamagnone M, 2007. A new vertical patternator for the determination of vertical spray pattern. Proc of the Second European Workshop on Standardised Procedure for the Inspection of Sprayers – SPISE 2, Straelen (Denmark), Apr 10-12. pp: 106-110.

Biocca M, Mattera E, Imperi G, 2005. A new vertical patternator to evaluate the distribution quality of vineyards and orchards sprayers. Proc of the 7th Fruit, Nut and Vegetable Production Engineering Symposium – Frutic 05, Montpellier (France), Sept 12-16. pp: 653-659.

Cerruto E, Giuseppe E, Failla S, 2010. Assessment of distribution profiles in vineyard by means of a patternator. Proc of the Third International Congress of Mountain Viticulture, Castiglione di Sicilia, Catania (Italy), May 12-14. pp: 92-97.

De Snoo GR, de Wit PJ, 1998. Buffer zones for reducing pesticide drift to ditches and risks to aquatic organisms. Ecotoxic Environ Safety 41: 112‐118. PMid:9756699

Gil E, Badiola J, 2007. Design and verification of a portable vertical patternator for vineyard sprayer's calibration. Appl Eng Agric 23: 35-42.

Keen RM, 2010. Development of a low-cost vertical patternator. Available in: [12 October 2012].

Kûmmel K, Gôhlich H, Westphal O, 1991. Development of practice-oriented control test methods for orchard sprayer machines by means of a vertical test stand. Proc of the British Crop Protection Council and the Association of the Applied Biologist, Swansea (UK), Jan 7-9. pp: 27-33.

Landers A, Gil E, 2006. Development and validation of a new deflector system to improve pesticide application in New York and Pennsylvania grape production areas. ASABE Annu Int Meeting, Portland (USA), Jul 9-12. Paper 061001.

Landers A, Balsari P, Gil E, 2012. Putting the spray onto the target - the development and demonstration of vertical patternators for fruit growers. ASABE Annu Int Meeting, Dallas (USA), Jul 29-Aug 1. Paper 121336783.

Nuyttens D, De Schampheleire M, Baetens K, Sonck B, 2007. The influence of operator-controlled variables on spray drift from field crop sprayers. T ASABE 50(4): 1129-1140.

Ozkan HE, Reichard DL, Zhu H, Ackerman KD, 1993. Effect of drift retardant chemicals on spray drift, droplet size and spray pattern. In: Pesticide formulations and applications systems: 13th volume (Berger PD, Devisetty BN, Hall FR, eds.). Am Soc Test Mat, Philadelphia (USA), pp: 173‐190.

Pergher G, 2004. Field evaluation of a calibration method for air-assisted sprayers involving the use of a vertical patternator. Crop Prot 23: 437–446.

Pergher G, Gubiani R, 1997. A comparison of methods for assessing vertical spray distributions from air-assisted sprayers. EPPO Bull 27: 227-234.

Pergher G, Gubiani R, Gasparinetti P, Del Cont Bernard D, 1994. Voluntary testing of plant protection equipment in Northern Italy. Acta Hortic 372: 59-66.

Pergher G, Balsari P, Cerruto E, Vieri M, 2002. The relationship between vertical spray pattern from air-assisted sprayers and foliar deposits in vine canopies. Aspect Appl Biol 66: 323-330.

Porskamp HAJ, Huijsmans, JFM, Van Zuydam, RP, 1993. Measuring system for the spray output distribution of orchard sprayers. Proc of the II Int Symp on Pesticides Application Techniques, Strasbourg (France). Sep 22-24. pp: 365-371.

R Development Core Team, 2011. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Available in: [12 October 2012].

Schmidt K, Koch H, 1995. Adjustment of spraying equipment and distribution of pesticide deposits in fruit production (in German). Nachrichtenblatt des Deutschen Pflanzenschutzdienstes 47: 161-167.

DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2013113-3638