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Characterization of the movement of spray drift past a shelterbelt



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Pesticide use is an important component of the agricultural industry. Pesticides are typically applied to crops as a droplet spray, and these droplets are susceptible to off-target movement due to wind, which is called spray drift. It has recently been recognized that shelterbelts may protect vulnerable downwind areas from spray drift. There is a need to characterize the movement of spray drift past a shelterbelt to better understand the extent of this protection and the variables which affect it. The variables investigated in this research may be classified as meteorological conditions, spray application settings, and shelterbelt properties.This research investigated the movement of spray drift past a 5 m tall carragana/chokecherry shelterbelt. Spray was applied using a conventional sprayer that travelled on a path that was upwind and parallel to the shelterbelt. A tracer substance was mixed into the spray solution, and the deposition and airborne concentration of drift was measured using a variety of collectors placed at perpendicular distances up- and downwind of a shelterbelt. The mass of drift deposit on the collectors was determined using spectrofluoremetry and standard solutions.When the spray swath was a distance of 3H (where H is the height of the shelterbelt) upwind of the shelterbelt, it was found that the ground deposition of drift at a distance of 0.5H downwind of the shelterbelt was reduced by approximately 74%, compared to the drift deposit at 0.5H upwind. The reduction over the same downwind distances was 29% in the open field setting. The airborne drift cloud was attenuated by the shelterbelt and the airborne concentration of drift exiting the shelterbelt was reduced by approximately 85% of the entering drift. The airborne drift concentration profile indicated that there was a greater proportion of drift travelling over the top of the shelterbelt rather than passing through the shelterbelt, with the peak concentration occurring at approximately 1.2H.Qualitative and multiple linear regression analyses were used to determine the significance of a number of meteorological and controlled variables on the deposition of drift. It was found that the mass of drift deposited downwind of the shelterbelt increased with a higher wind speed, higher temperature, and lower relative humidity. For the range of meteorological conditions sampled, the effect of wind direction and atmospheric stability were found to be insignificant. Finer spray qualities and higher shelterbelt optical porosity produced greater airborne drift and deposition downwind of the shelterbelt. With increasing upwind sprayer distance, the mass of drift deposited within the shelterbelt decreased.



spray drift, shelterbelt, drift mitigation, windbreak



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering


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