19. Meeting Orchard Research Challenges
We have previously discussed the need to maintain uniformity within the research site. Another factor of equal importance is avoiding cross contamination from one plot to the next. This is done in field crops with border rows. These can keep the harvested area of a plot separated from anything in an adjacent plot that could have an influence on yield. But how do you do that in an orchard crop like apples where treatments are applied with a high-volume sprayer and the spray can travel from one row to possibly several others?
Well as usual, we thought about it and came up with a spray shield that would run on the other side of the tree row and prevent cross contamination. As usual, anything cool like that was built by our NCRS shop technician Jeff Meyer. From the pictures, it looks like a traveling billboard, but it was effective in blocking the spray that blew through the open spaces in the row. We were very pleased with the performance and now use it on all foliar treatment applications. That's Jacob Schmitt in the sprayer tractor and Renae Huyck driving the spray shield. So that’s one less thing to worry about, and you know it's not hard to find something new.