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Improving dose expression and adjustment for row crops. - PS2018

Previous research (project PS2002) established Pesticide dose Adjustment to the Crop Environment (PACE) as a generalised method for optimising broadcast spray applications to pome and stone fruit orchards (Walklate et al. (2006) Crop Protection 25(10) 1080-1086). This was developed into a practical scheme which made use of a grower assessment of crop height and density to determine appropriate dose-related reductions (Walklate & Cross HDC factsheet 20/05). A further project is needed to provide practical and technical support for the more widespread application of PACE in food crop production and provide technical support for new regulatory development as part of PSD’s commitment to the EU Thematic Strategy for Pesticides. These objectives are aimed at providing future regulatory support for improved control of spraying equipment to encourage low-input crop farming methods that adhere to Good Farming Practice. The following research areas are proposed for a 3 year project starting in May 2008 aimed at fulfilling the needs for further PACE research.

1. Deliver PACE information technology to UK pome and stone fruit growers.
Valuable data, gathered as part of the previous project PS2002, will be used to make further improvements to the present leaflet for pome fruit spraying and the creation of a new leaflet for stone fruit spraying as part of the HDC Best Practice Guides for Fruit Growing. Grower friendly computer-software will be developed to reduce the possibility of mathematical errors in calculating dose-rate reduction. The first release of this software will be made during the first year of the proposed project, with revisions in subsequent years based on suitable response to user feed-back. The concepts of PACE and the further support of practical implementation systems will be promoted to UK growers in a series of workshops/training courses held under the auspices of the HDC. A meeting with suitable representatives of the Agrochemical Industry will also be held to advise and discuss PACE developments. The Pesticide Usage Survey Group will be encouraged to survey grower uptake as part of its next survey of tree fruits.

2. Determine the spray volume saturation characteristics of fruit trees.
The uncertainty of the characteristics linking run-off/saturation to the description of target crop structure has been identified as a source of variability of label recommended dose-rate (discussions about efficacy data support for pesticide registrations, PSD York 17/5/2007). Information to quantify these characteristics will be gathered for pome fruit during the first two years of the proposed research. This information will be used as an exemplar case study to establish appropriate technical support necessary to improve the current regulatory practices for setting the maximum dose and establishing a better defined link with water volume rate recommendations on the labels of plant protection products.

3. Establish European wide consensus on PACE principles.
Currently, there appears to be no formal or consistent regulatory standards that link the label recommended dose-rate to a practical description of crop structure in a way that is accessible to PACE users throughout Europe for making reliable calculations of dose-rate adjustment to different crop structures. Furthermore, this undermines the potential to achieve economy of scale from more global regulation of PACE. In particular, the additional information provided by these new standards could improve the use of efficacy data for the registration of pesticides in different European countries. Therefore, this aspect of the proposal has the potential to benefit the pesticide manufacturers in Europe. A starting point for establishing these proposed standards would be to examine the possibility of incorporating them into the current EPPO based standards for dose expression and adjustment (PP 1/239). PSI need support from the proposed project to generate data to help convince other European regulators to establish the new standards that are needed to define the minimum efficacious level of deposit represented by the label dose-rate.

4. Establish PACE approaches for boom spraying of another row crop, e.g. potatoes.
The further development of PACE would enjoy greater benefit of scale in the UK if it was adapted for boom spraying application of pesticides. Therefore, measurements of deposit and crop structure will be made to establish the case for escalating support for this use of PACE. Potatoes, which are intensively sprayed with fungicides and insecticides (137,000 spray-ha in 2005, according to Defra survey in 2006), would be a good crop to choose to make use of existing expertise at EMR. Industry will be consulted to determine whether potato is an appropriate crop for such investigation and an alternative identified if necessary.
1. Deliver PACE information technology to UK pome and stone fruit growers by providing HDC factsheets, PACE assistant software and workshops/training courses
2. Determine the relationship between the point of spray volume saturation and key crop structure parameters of fruit trees
3. Attempt to establish European wide consensus on PACE principles
4. Establish PACE approaches for boom spraying of another row crop, e.g. potatoes

Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : PS2018 final report   (531k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2011

Cost: £291,622
Contractor / Funded Organisations
East Malling Research
Decision Support Tools              
Development of tools - facilitate behaviour change              
Pest and Weed Control              
Pesticide use              
Plants and Animals              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety