Thursday, January 22, 2015

Solid Set Canopy Delivery Systems: A Precision Agriculture Approach for High Density Tree Fruit
Presented by Matthew J. Grieshop, Associate Professor, MSU Entomology
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
3:30p.m.–4:30p.m. in Alderman 310

The transformation of apple canopies from large spherical volumes to fruiting walls has been one of the most dramatic changes in horticultural practices over the past 3 decades. Spray application techniques, however, have not kept pace. We have developed and evaluated a revolutionary solid set canopy delivery system (SSCDS) optimized for delivering foliar inputs to fruiting walls. Two years of research indicate that our prototype SSCDS can provide adequate coverage, insect and disease management in high density apples.

In addition, our SSCDS was used to modify canopy microclimate through evaporation cooling. We delated bloom in cherries by 11 days and applesby 8 days — while using 6 fold less water than traditional evaporation cooling approaches. This opens the door to manipulating tree phenology to avoid frost events. A variety of challenges remain in the engineering of our system, including the automataion of fault checking and moving to a hybrid pneumatic/hydraulic delivery system.