60-70 % of all active ingredients used in Belgian agriculture are for horticulture. Sustainable use of plant protecting agents in orchards requires instruments to optimize the distribution methods of these agents. Distribution should be sufficiently even over the target to minimize abuse of MRL (maximum residue limit) thresholds. It is equally important to avoid the impact of pesticides on the environment by reducing drift and deposition. On both aspects, progress has been slow in orchard applications due to the complex nature of pesticide dispersion under the influence of the environmental conditions, the structure and the seasonal development stage of the canopy and the sprayer design and operation.
The main objective of this project is to improve the understanding of pesticide dispersion in and from orchards to reduce environmental and health risks and support policies and normalization procedures for pesticide applications in orchards. A novel simulation approach combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and canopy models will be used together with laboratory and field experiments to quantify the pesticide dispersion as affected by the above mentioned factors. This approach will result in a concise determination of optimized spray distribution to secure performance and efficacy and of measures for drift and off-target deposition reduction.
PCFruit, Department of Ecology
Catholic University of Leuven, BIOSYST-MeBioS
Donald Dekeyser, David Nuyttens