Step 9: Crop protection
Within an integrated form of crop protection it is important that the crop protection proceeds in a good and efficient manner so that no crop protection agents are wasted. There are three possible options for this: boom, section or cap control, spraying based on BOS systems and variable spraying.
Boom, section or cap control
The boom width of a sprayer is not much used anymore due to the large working widths of sprayers. However, overlap can also be saved by switching off the entire tree in time. Sprayers are getting an increasing working width and are therefore divided into sections that can be switched on and off independently of each other. When a plot has a slope, these sections can be switched off so that no spraying is done outside the plot. Most sprayers have three-meter sections. In addition, there are also sprayers that can not close the boom per section, but per cap. This allows for even more precise and efficient spraying because there is hardly any overlap. This control of boom, caps or sections can be done manually from the tractor or automatically via the GPS system of the sprayer. By loading fields into the GPS system, the sprayer knows where the field boundaries run and when a spray boom exceeds these field boundaries, this section or cap will be closed. The GPS also registers where there has already been sprayed so that the tree, section or cap can also be closed here and there is no more overlap.
When a sprayeris equipped with automatic section or cap closure it is also important that the field boundaries of a field are measured. As a result, spraying will never again be carried out outside the plot, as a result of which fewer plant protection products will end up in the surface water.
A Decision Support System is a software package that helps the grower with crop protection. At van den Borne we use a Dacom system. Dacom uses the following data to determine the disease pressure and to calculate corresponding advice:
- Weather data: These are measured via the weather pole (photo1) and data from the KNMI is also used.
- Crop data: These are measured in the field using close sensing and remote sensing sensors.
- Spray data: Cloudfarm registration data is used, supplemented with spray data from the spray computer.
All these data are used to calculate when the weather is favorable for the disease to infect the plant. It will also be examined whether the sprayings carried out still work sufficiently. Below is a BOS system, which shows which fields should be sprayed with what type of agent. For example, immediate action must be taken on the red fields and no action is required on the green fields.
By using these BOS systems, spraying is only carried out when necessary, and spraying is always carried out at the right time. This makes spraying very efficient and requires less spraying.
Normal crop protection advice is based on the whole plot, so the dosage should be sufficient on the whole plots. This does not mean, however, that the dosage also has to be the same on the whole plot. Based on soil and crop data, the dosage can be adjusted in places where there is less crop or where there is a different soil condition. As a result, plant protection products can also be saved. An example of this is the variable spraying of a soil herbicide. A soil herbicide can bind to clay particles in the soil and therefore do its job less. If more lutum particles are present in the soil, more agent is bound and the dose must therefore be higher. In places with fewer lutum particles, so a lower dose.
Another form of variable spraying is Spot spraying, which is a technique where spraying is only done in places in a field where, for example, weeds are present. As a result, there can be enormous savings of plant protection products and, in addition, the crop is less inhibited by the herbicide spraying. An example of this are the
camera systems from Agrifac and Steketee, for example, that focus on recognizing weeds using self-learning software systems. In this way, weed control can only be applied on the spot where the weeds grow. The figure below shows that a camera system recognizes potato storage in sugar beets