A new method to estimate the spatial correlation between planned and actual patch spraying of herbicides

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

On/off patch spraying based on weed maps is used in site-specific weed management. Two prerequisites for realising patch spraying are accurate weed detection and targeting of the herbicides on weed patches. There is plenty in the literature about weed detection, but little attention has been paid to the spatial accuracy of herbicide application. This study was conducted in order to assess the extent to which patch-sprayed herbicides are targeted precisely according to pre-loaded prescription maps and to evaluate a new spatial assessment method. The new method consisted of spraying with red Ponceau 4R dye, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery and spatial image analysis based on a geographic information system (GIS). The sprayed dye was clearly visible in aereal images and the locations of the sprayed areas were compared with the locations given by the prescription maps. Four different commercial sprayers with boom section width in the range of 0.5 to 3 m and driving speed in the range of 2.5 to 8 km h−1 were used in ten experiments. All the experiments were carried out in autumn in stubble fields. The results showed that the new method was fast and reliable. The incorrectly sprayed area outside targeted areas on prescription maps averaged 81% for three different sprayers with 3 m boom sections, and 5% for a sprayer with 0.5 m boom sections (individual spray nozzle control). The target areas not sprayed within the planned weed patch areas averaged 6% of the pre-defined patch area for sprayers with 3 m boom sections, and 14% for the sprayer with 0.5 m boom sections. This study revealed that the sprayer with 0.5 m boom sections had a controller that was not quick enough at opening and closing spray nozzles at normal driving speeds. Log files from the sprayer console overestimated the sprayed area by 24% and were less accurate than the spatial analysis of the sprayed areas.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPrecision Agriculture
Pages (from-to)713-728
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 228777358