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Giuseppe Vanella, Masoud Salyani, Paolo Balsari, Stephen H. Futch and Roy D. Sweeb

The main objective of this study was to evaluate the suitability of the DEIAFA drift test bench system (Dipartimento di Economia e Ingegneria Agraria, Forestale e Ambientale; University of Torino, Italy) for assessing drift potential of a citrus (Citrus sp.) herbicide applicator. The study involved testing the effects of spray drift shield, nozzle type, and ground speed on drift potential of the applications. It was carried out in randomized block design within a split-split-plot experiment with five replications. A computational analysis procedure for evaluation of deposit values, measured along the test bench, was developed to compare the treatments in terms of a drift potential index (DPI). The methodology provided repeatable results. Among the treatments, ground speed was the main factor affecting the DPI. Both nozzle types tested [flat fan extended range nozzle (XR) and wide-angle deflector nozzle (TT)] showed higher DPI at faster speed. Decreasing the ground speed from 6.0 to 3.0 km·h−1 decreased the drift potential on average ≈35%. The performance of XR nozzle was improved by the presence of spray drift shield (27% reduction in DPI). However, the shield did not affect the drift potential of the TT nozzle significantly. The results were significantly affected by the wind velocity normalized by its direction relative to the sprayer travel; therefore, the tests should be carried out in relatively calm wind conditions, as much as possible.