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Growers not limited to one sprayer option for soybean rust

Agriculture.com Staff 03/17/2006 @ 1:52pm

When it comes to managing soybean rust with fungicides, a number of application options that provide effective coverage are available to growers.

According to the results of an Ohio State University study conducted at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio, a mix of sprayers and nozzles under certain production situations can provide relatively equal coverage of fungicide on soybean plants.

"The goal of the study was to determine which spray equipment would be the most effective against soybean rust," said Erdal Ozkan, an Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer and one of the researchers of the project. The research team included plant pathologists from Ohio State, and engineers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture ARS Application Technology Research Unit in Wooster. Soybean rust has yet to be discovered in Ohio, but researchers strive to prepare growers for its potential arrival.

Findings from the research include:

When using conventional sprayers, nozzles that provide medium spray quality, rather than fine or coarse, tend to provide a better penetration of droplets inside the plant canopy and better leaf coverage.

Spray hitting the target from two different angles may produce better coverage if the canopy is not dense. But in dense canopy conditions, flat-fan nozzles with a single spray pattern producing medium quality spray tend to provide a better penetration of droplets inside the canopy.

Air-assisted sprayers did a better job with penetration of droplets and spray coverage than a conventional sprayer.

Using a mechanical canopy opener, conventional sprayers may provide coverage and penetration nearly as good as those from air-assisted sprayers. However, the canopy opener will not be effective in reducing spray drift, which is achieved using air-assisted sprayers.

At 15 gallons per acre and seven miles per hour, and under dense canopy conditions, flat-fan nozzles provided better coverage and penetration into the canopy than hollow cone nozzles.

When it comes to managing soybean rust with fungicides, a number of application options that provide effective coverage are available to growers.

The results of the research were based on droplet coverage and deposition on a variety of artificial targets -- water sensitive paper and metal plates -- attached to a stake and placed inside the soybean plants in four replicated areas 50 feet wide and 150 feet long.

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