2011 Comprehensive application technology and strategy to reduce pesticide use Midwest

Award Year 

The ornamental industry produces an abundance of flowers, nursery shrubs, andtrees to beautify the environment and improve our lifestyle. This abundance is predicated on the use of pesticides to protect them from pests. However, the application efficiency of conventional pesticide spray technologies for crop protection is very low. Consequently, excessive pesticides are often applied to target and non-target areas, resulting in greater production costs, worker exposure to unnecessary pesticide risks, and environmental contamination.The technology (more) that was transferred to the ornamental industry is a comprehensive and simple strategic pesticide reduction technology that was achieved by adjusting nozzle size and integrating it with application modifications.To facilitate the use and to complement the instructions, a scanning device was developed and integrated to quickly evaluate the quality of pesticide delivery, a user-friendly program to estimate spray displacement, and an easily built portable instrument for testing pressure gauges to monitor the spray quantity.The first process used for the technology transfer consisted of demonstrations of the technology in field trials. This was followed by actual grower trials in small acreages, which was then expanded to larger acreages when growers accepted the technology as away to reduce pesticide use. The technology also was transferred to growers and extension educators through demonstration trials in on farm research projects and workshops. Many nurseries in different states are now using the technology.Since 2005, the primary benefits to the ornamental nursery and floral growers who use the technology are the reduction of pesticide and water use by half and annual savings of over $200-$500 per acre associated with pesticide application costs. Consequently, this technology transfer has reduced pesticide costs, reduced the health risk to applicators, and diminished the adverse impact on the environment. (less)