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Silsoe Spray Applications Unit

Research programme

Spray Applications

Silsoe Spray Application Unit is an internationally important facility for research, development and contract testing, relating to the characterisation of sprays and spray behaviour, with particular expertise in the application of agricultural pesticides.

The unit has a team of specialists with established research experience in spray generation, transport and deposition. This includes conducting field experiments, laboratory work, the use of a specialised wind tunnel, and the development of mathematical models.

Wrest Park

See Technical Services for further information about contract tests we can undertake.

The unit is based on the site previously occupied by Silsoe Research Institute, close to English Heritage’s Wrest Park gardens and mansion

 

Examples of current and recent research areas

Spray drift

The unit has many years of experience in spray drift research, not only in undertaking experimental measurements of spray drift in the field and in wind tunnel tests, but also in developing models and analysis of data for environmental risk and human exposure assessment.

  • The 2012 version of the Silsoe Spray Drift model is available for download   (user guide)

    The model is under development and therefore its content and operation cannot be guaranteed.  Sections of the model are being validated as it is developed but any versions supplied will not necessarily have been validated as an overall model

    Support for using the model can only be supplied by Silsoe Spray Applications Unit on an ad-hoc basis, subject to availability of resources, and there is no guarantee that any problems can be addressed or solved – it is most likely that problems will only be addressed in future versions of the model.

    Any results generated by the model are for personal research use only. No publication of results, or reference to results, generated by the model can be made without the prior permission of the Head of Silsoe Spray Applications Unit.

Exposure Assessment for Bystanders and Residents

The recent BREAM project (Bystander and Resident Exposure Assessment Model). This project developed a computational model, based on the Silsoe Spray Drift Model, to predict the potential exposure to pesticides for bystanders and residents in the countryside that can be used as a tool in risk assessments. The work was concerned with boom sprayers operating over arable crops in a range of conditions relevant to the United Kingdom. Model development and validation was supported by tests in controlled wind tunnel conditions with the overall model predictions validated against full-scale field trials results.

Spray Applications

View presentations from the final BREAM workshop
(The development and validation of a bystander and resident exposure assessment model, Cambridge, January 2010)

 

The model developed in the BREAM project is being further developed in the European framework BROWSE project, which aims to review, improve and extend the risk assessment of plant protection products to evaluate the exposure of operators, workers, residents and bystanders. Silsoe Spray Applications Unit is leading the workpackage relating to bystanders and residents.

Other projects, funded by Defra through the Chemicals Regulation Directorate include

  • improving and extending the spray drift model to take account of the filtering effect of vegetation and to allow extrapolation to a wider range of nozzle sizes and designs
  • obtaining data aimed at improving the assessments of exposure to drift from orchard sprayers

 

Novel application techniques

HDC press release, 16th may 2013

Reducing herbicide use in row crops with new targeted application methods treating detected weeds in bands or spots

Novel Application Techniques

The aim of this HortLink project, with a range of funders and partners, is to develop and demonstrate weed detection methods and novel spray application technologies that will enable the delivery of herbicides with high spatial precision suitable for targeted applications to control a wide range of weed species in a number of row crops, using spray characteristics appropriate to the effective use of new and existing formulations. The work aims to achieve high levels of weed control with the minimum risk of crop damage and residues and with substantial reductions in herbicide use delivering environmental benefits when compared with alternative and conventional approaches.

Spray behaviour in field conditions

Distribution of spray applied to a cereal crop and the effect of application parameters on penetration

Spray Behaviour in Field Conditions

This project was funded by the HGCA. A series of trials were carried out, both in the field and in a wind tunnel, to investigate the distribution in a winter wheat canopy of a spray application, to identify the factors which influence the distribution, and in particular the quantity of spray depositing on the lower stem.

Increasing application volume was shown to have no influence on the quantity of active ingredient reaching the lower part of the canopy. Recommendations to increase volumes to improve penetration of a dense canopy cannot, therefore be justified.

The best application system, out of those tested in this study, to achieve high penetration into a canopy, as well as good overall plant deposits, was a small droplet air-induction nozzle operating at 100 L ha-1. Other factors that influenced deposition of spray in the lower part of the canopy are wind speed and potentially boom height. Use of an air-induction nozzle effectively eliminated the effect of wind speed and so would be likely to deliver a more uniform distribution over the canopy. An 80o nozzle also increased penetration, but its effect might be reduced by the need to increase boom height with narrower angle nozzles in order to maintain a uniform distribution.

Recent publications

Butler Ellis, M C, Lane, A G, O’Sullivan, C M, Miller, P C H, Glass, C R (2010) Bystander exposure to pesticide spray drift: New data for model development and validation Biosystems Engineering 107 162-168

Butler Ellis, M C, Miller, P C H (2010) The Silsoe Spray Drift Model: A model of spray drift for the assessment of non-target exposures to pesticides. Biosystems Engineering 107 169-177

Butler Ellis, M C, Underwood, B, Pierce, M J, Walker, C T, Miller, P C H (2010) Modelling the dispersion of volatilised pesticides in air after application for the assessment of resident and bystander exposure. Biosystems Engineering 107 149-154

Butler Ellis, M C, Lane, A G, O’Sullivan, C M, Miller, P C H (2010) The determination of volatilization rate of fungicides in a field experiment. Aspects of Applied Biology, 99, International Advances in Pesticide Application, 317-324

Glass, C R, Mathers, J J, Harrington, P, Miller, P C H, Butler Ellis, M C, Lane, A G, O’Sullivan, C M, Ferreira, M C (2010) Generation of field data for bystander exposure and spray drift with arable sprayers. Aspects of Applied Biology, 99, International Advances in Pesticide Application, 271-276

Miller, P C H, Butler Ellis, M C, Bateman, R, Lane, A G, O’Sullivan, C M, Tuck, C R, Robinson, T H (2010) Deposit distributions on targets with different geometries and treated with a range of spray characteristics. Aspects of Applied Biology, 99, International Advances in Pesticide Application, 241-248

Morris, N.L.; Miller, P.C.H.; Orson, J.H.; Froud-Williams, R.J. (2010). The adoption of non-inversion tillage systems in the United Kingdom and the agronomic impact on soil, crops and the environment – a review. Soil and Tillage Research 108, 1 – 15.

Miller, P C H, Tillett, N D, Hague, A, Lane, A G (2012) The development and field evaluation of a system for the spot treatment of volunteer potatoes in vegetable crops. Aspects of Applied Biology 114, International Advances in Pesticide Application, pp. 113-120.

Miller, P C H, Tillett, N D, Swan, T, Tuck, C R, Lane, A G (2012) The development and evaluation of nozzle systems for use in targeted spot spraying applications. Aspects of Applied Biology 114, International Advances in Pesticide Application, pp. 159-166.

O’Sullivan, C M, Tuck, C R, Butler Ellis, M C, Miller, P C H, Bateman, R (2010) An alternative surfactant to nonyl phenol ethoxylates for spray application research. Aspects of Applied Biology, 99, International Advances in Pesticide Application, 311-316

Butler Ellis, M C, Miller, P C H (2010) A spray drift model for assessment of ground deposits from boom sprayers. Written for presentation at the 2010 ASABE Annual International Meeting, David L. Lawrence Convention Center Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania June 20 – June 23, 2010 Paper Number: 1009781

Miller, P C H, Butler Ellis, M C, Lane, A G, O’Sullivan, C M, Tuck, C R (2011) Methods for minimising drift and off-target exposure from boom sprayer applications. Aspects of Applied Biology 106, 2011 Crop Protection in Southern Britain, 281 – 288

O’Sullivan, C M, Butler Ellis, M C, Lane, A G, Goddard, P (2011) Measurements of the retention and coverage of spray liquid on an artificial target for three products under a range of application conditions Aspects of Applied Biology 106, 2011 Crop Protection in Southern Britain, 151-156

Kennedy, M C, Butler Ellis, M C, Miller, P C H (2012) Probabilistic risk assessment of bystander and resident exposure to spray drift from an agricultural boom sprayer. Aspects of Applied Biology 114, International Advances in Pesticide Application, pp. 79-86

Butler Ellis, M C, Lane, A G, O’Sullivan, C M (2012) Distribution of spray applied to a cereal crop and the effect of application parameters on penetration. Aspects of Applied Biology 114, International Advances in Pesticide Application, pp. 347-354