The Obispo Colombres Experimental Agro-industrial Station from Tucumán-Argentina (EEAOC), together with the Siner, Efficatia, and Citromax companies, carried out a trial to evaluate using drones as a new insecticide application tool to control citrus miners in young plants.
The study was carried out on a property of the Citromax company located in El Tajamar, Burruyacú department of the province of Tucumán, in five-year-old Lisbon Frost nuc lemon tree plants/ Flying dragon plants, implanted at a distance of 5.25 m x 2.75 m.
The research focused on comparing the control efficiency between applicator drones vs. terrestrial applications in different types of treatments: application with drones in a direction parallel to the rows of the plantation, application with drones in a perpendicular direction, and application with a conventional method (Martignani hydropneumatic sprayer).
After evaluating the percentage of live larvae and wet homogeneity, the researchers concluded that "there were no significant differences between drone application parallel to the planting rows vs. terrestrial application seven days after the test application."
″Regarding the drone's direction, the best treatment was achieved when it moved parallel to the plantation rows. This may be in part due to the better distribution of wetness over the tree canopy. The wetness in the perpendicular treatment was uneven, while in the parallel treatment, there was a greater number of impacts per cm² and a better distribution of drops on the opposite to the direction of the drone's movement.″
Thus, ″the application of drone insecticides in parallel to the plantation rows for citrus miner control is as effective as applications with Martignani hydro-pneumatic sprayer. On the other hand, the application of insecticide with drones in a perpendicular direction to the planting rows is less effective than the terrestrial application.″
″The use of this new technology for mine control is a tool to be taken into account, in our production system, as a good alternative for isolated lots, with very steep slopes or in proximity to urban areas.″
While the results were promising, there is a need to continue carrying out tests with different plant ages, frameworks, and planting designs throughout the campaign and on a commercial scale, the EEAOC noted.
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