Final Report: This is completed project for the Washington Grape & Wine Research Program
Date: June 30, 2019

Title: Assessment of Application Technologies in Wine Grapes
Project Duration: 2015-2017+1yr extension

Principal Investigator(s): Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel
Organization: Washington State University
Address: 1121 Dudley Ave., Prosser, WA 99350
Telephone: 509-788-5459

Co-PI(s): Michelle Moyer
Organization: Washington State University
Address: 24106 North Bunn Rd Prosser, WA 99350
Telephone: 509-786-9234

Co-PI(s): Lav Khot
Organization: Washington State University
Address: 24106 North Bunn Rd Prosser, WA 99350
Telephone: 509-786-9302

Cooperator(s): Bill Riley
Organization: Ste Michelle Wine Estates
Description of participation:
Coordination of field trials on 90-100 acres at SMWE, plus the use of a directed sprayer with standard hollow cone nozzles.

Project Summary:

Improper spraying can lead to significant economic losses and negative environmental impacts from off-target drift. The axial fan rotation on conventional airblast sprayers produces non-symmetrical spray deposition and due to the high velocity of air, spray can travel through the canopies missing the target. There are methods to optimize airblast sprayers to increase coverage in vineyards, but other sprayer designs also show promise. Adoption of these newer technologies has been slow and none of these sprayers have been evaluated in Washington vineyards.

This study evaluates novel, commercially available sprayers and nozzle technologies. Large plots are sprayed through the season with a single sprayer. We measure canopy deposition, in-field drift (aerial and ground), mildew control, operating efficiency. There are also small plot field studies assessing optimization of axial fan sprayers testing the number of nozzles open and three different nozzles (disc-core, one-piece, and air-induction). Lastly, Extension and outreach objectives include dissemination of information through written material, grower meetings, and the development of a short course for viticulturist and a one-day sprayer technology class.

Evaluation of spray equipment will provide information to develop best management practices (BMPs) for alternative spray technologies which should help growers operate technologies appropriate for the needs of various systems and farm operations. We hope this project establishes a foundation for learning and changing application practices. In addition, it should serve as a model of how projects can train the next generation of Extension faculty. It is applied research, translated to education, and funded partially by cooperating partners and WSU Extension.

Project Major Accomplishments:

  • Accomplishments for specific objectives funded are listed below, but a major accomplishment from the team is the significant number of other projects leveraged from this project.
  • Partial funding of a fluorometer (also funded by blueberry and tree fruit industries) equipped our lab for deposition studies. This includes: 1) evaluation of drones used for spraying in vineyards, 2) data for a mechanistic model used by EPA, 3) WSDA and NIFA-FFAR grants for development of novel spray technologies.
  • Margaret McCoy, PhD student on this project, has been awarded a NIFA Fellowship that funds her salary and research for the next two years. She needed to show industry support and did so with this grant. She will be studying electrostatic sprayers in more depth and creating Extension curriculum for the grape industry.
  • A second PhD student, Haitham Bahlol, who is in Dr Khot’s lab was funded through other sources but was able to conduct additional research to help this project. Haitham has built and tested a smart analytical spray system (SASS) that was tested with sprayers from this project. The SASS measures air and vertical spray patterns. It is being used in the EPA grant (mentioned above) to assess different sprayers.
  • Data from this project was used to inform legislatures and participants of the Senate Bill 6529 (2018) establishing a Pesticide Application Safety chaired jointly by Senator Rebecca Saldaña and Representative Tom Dent. Hoheisel’s participation included touring the state with committee and presentations on technologies used that minimize drift. A final report of SB6529 was created by DOH.

Read more by downloading the full report above.

Pest & Disease // Technology // Viticulture //