Field sprayer for inter and intra-row weed control: performance and labor savings

J. Carballido, A. Rodríguez-Lizana, J. Agüera, M. Pérez-Ruiz


Studies of new tools and methods for weed control have been motivated by increased consumer demand for organic produce, consumer and regulatory demands for a reduction in environmentally harmful herbicide use, and the decreased availability of farm workers willing to perform manual tasks, such as hand weeding. This study describes the performance of a new sprayer system for commercial production that integrates two herbicide applications in a single pass, selective herbicide (SH) application in narrow bands over the crop row, and a non-selective herbicide (NSH) application between crop rows. A real-time kinematic (RTK) global positioning system (GPS) was used for auto-guidance in seeding and spraying operations. Conventional broadcast SHs and experimental treatments were applied at a constant nominal speed of 5.5 km h-1 for comparison. Trials in commercial sugar beet fields demonstrated the following: (i) average hand-weeding time can be reduced by 53% (ii) the new sprayer system reduced SH use by 76%, and (iii) sugar beet density did not change significantly during treatment. These results demonstrate the feasibility of using the new RTK-GPS controller sprayer system for differential and efficient herbicide application in inter- and intra-row zones in row crop production.


hooded sprayer; precision farming; herbicide application; site-specific management

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2013113-3812