Sustainability in focus: CHAP’s crop research track sprayer
Looking ahead, climatic predictions depict further increases in such events, emphasising the urgent need for smart solutions to future-proof a resilient agriculture sector capable of producing more food sustainably.
Innovative solutions lie at the heart of developing disruptive technologies in the agri-tech landscape and beyond. Therefore, both investment and translation are essential elements to support the implementation and adoption of these new innovations.
At CHAP, our continuous emphasis is on converting agri-tech concepts into tangible solutions, with the goal of delivering sustainable transformations to farming systems in the UK and across the globe.
In this blog post we will showcase the key advantages of using an innovative piece of equipment housed at the James Hutton Institute (JHI), the DeVries Manufacturing Generation III Research Track Sprayer, and how its use can support the development of more novel solutions for the sector.
The crop research track sprayer can replicate in-field application of agrochemicals, such as insecticides, fungicides and herbicides. This capability is crucial for conducting in-depth research, as it allows for precise and reproducible pesticide efficacy tests under controlled conditions.
This versatile sprayer can equally be utilised for testing novel biological-based solutions for crop protection. Continuing to test conventional agrochemicals is essential however, there is a need to evaluate novel actives such as biopesticides. These innovative solutions require rigorous testing, specifically for factors related to spray durability and bioactive-formulation interactions. Given the crop research track sprayer’s high level of control capabilities, it distinguishes itself as an essential instrument for conducting these tests.
As we transition toward more sustainable farming practices, traditional chemical fertilisers are being reevaluated. Research in biostimulant production aims to develop new chemistries and biological approaches to enhance crop nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance, and crop quality traits. As such, the crop research track sprayer serves as an invaluable tool for assessing the efficacy of these evolving products.
Rainfall can significantly impact the durability of agrochemicals. Farmers often must delay spraying to avoid cost losses due to adverse weather conditions, resulting in wasted resources and potential environmental harm. The effectiveness and sustainability of both bioactives and biostimulants often hinge on their durability when confronted with rain. The crop research track sprayer allows to closely observe these qualities within a controlled environment.
Optimising crop irrigation is essential for cultivating crops more sustainably as well as understanding the interplay with soil types and agrochemical application. The crop research track sprayer facilitates a wide range of tests to yield statistically significant results for irrigation optimisation. In addition, this can also be used to assess the impact of bioactive and formulation combinations on soil degradation and the soil microbiome.
Beyond these examples, the system can serve as a test bed for bioactive formulation testing and evaluating emerging and innovative approaches to enhancing plant health, disease control, and soil quality, such as nanotechnology-based treatments.