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Spray drift reduction techniques for vineyards in fragmented landscapes

Journal of Environmental Management


In intensive agricultural systems spray drift is one of the major potential diffuse pollution pathways for pesticides and poses a risk to the environment. There is also increasing concern about potential exposure to bystanders and passers-by, especially in fragmented landscapes like the Italian pre-Alps, where orchards and vineyards are surrounded by residential houses. There is thus an urgent need to do field measurements of drift generated by air-blast sprayer in vineyards, and to develop measures for its reduction (mitigation). A field experiment with an event method was conducted in north-eastern Italy in no-wind conditions, in the hilly area famed for Prosecco wine production, using an air-blast sprayer in order to evaluate the potential spray drift from equipment and the effectiveness of some practical mitigation measures, either single or in combination. A definition of mitigation is proposed, and a method for the calculation of total effectiveness of a series of mitigation measures is applied to some what-if scenarios of interest. Results show that low-drift equipment reduced potential spray drift by 38% and that a fully developed vine curtain mitigated it by about 70%; when the last row was treated without air-assistance mitigation was about 74%; hedgerows were always very effective in providing mitigation of up to 98%. In conclusion, spray drift is not inevitable and can be markedly reduced using a few mitigation measures, most already available to farmers, that can be strongly recommended for environmental regulatory schemes and community-based participatory research. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author(s): Otto, S; Loddo, D; Baldoin, C; Zanin, G

Journal: Journal of Environmental Management

Year: 2015


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