USDA-ARS scientists and university collaborators developed a laser-guided intelligent sprayer for optimized pesticide application based on plant canopy structure. This sprayer is compatible with diverse crop architectures and reduces pesticide use by up to 70 percent, airborne spray drift up to 87 percent, and spray loss on the ground up to 93 percent. The technology offers an environmentally responsible approach to insect pest and plant disease management by reducing pesticide use, production costs, and worker exposure. An earlier configuration of this technology, which was designed for nursery use, received an FLC Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.
The USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Midwest Area, Application Technology Research Unit located in Wooster, Ohio, incorporates engineering, entomological, plant pathological and horticultural principles to develop innovative and improved technologies, and conduct basic and applied research to protect floricultural, nursery, landscape, horticultural, greenhouse, and field crops against damage from diseases, pests, and adverse environmental conditions, while safeguarding environmental quality, food and worker safety.