Lincoln Agritech leads the charge in adapting new technology for spray drift exposure analysis

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May, 2013

Lincoln Agritech has a strong background in providing field study measurement and modelling of spray drift patterns and exposure risks for agrichemical companies, landowners and regional authorities.

Its work has been used by a number of regional councils in New Zealand as well as international organisations, to assess and mitigate spray drift exposure through no-spray buffer zones and to develop regulations to prevent harmful exposure to humans and the environment from effluent and waste-water drift.

These capabilities in conducting field trials and analysing spray drift exposure have recently been enhanced through a world-first project, in which Lincoln Agritech staff have worked with a US-based manufacturer to develop a customised instrument for spray drift field studies.

The new Phase Doppler Interferometer system is based on light refraction physics and significantly improves the quality of scientific analysis the company can offer to clients. Science Group Manager, Dr Andrew Hewitt states that “our scientific data will now be of a higher standard with standard flux data from field sprays being complemented by new data on the size of the drifting droplets and their velocity.”

The new system also reduces sampling time and exposure to weather changes. Most field testing of spray drift currently requires a system of vertical towers with line collectors and fluorescent dyes to be established, which is time consuming to set up and has to be reset with changes in wind direction. This is costly and data collection opportunities are lost as well as being inconvenient to all involved, including the site owner, spray operator and research team.

A further common complication encountered when conducting spray application field studies is the presence of dust, which can affect sampling. The new technology uniquely ignores readings from solid dust particles and only measures liquid droplets.

The new technology provides substantial improvements in the spray drift measurement, modelling and exposure determination services that Lincoln Agritech can deliver to New Zealand’s regional councils; in turn providing councils with significant quality, speed and cost benefits.