OrchardMAX won the 2016 Canadian Agri-Marketing Association’s “Certificate of Merit” in the Mobile Apps Category.
What is OrchardMAX?
OrchardMAX is a free app developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to improve sprayer efficiency and effectiveness in apple orchards. The app is based on the Crop-Adapted Spraying (CAS) model, which was tested in semi-dwarf and high-density apple orchards in Ontario and Nova Scotia from 2013 to present day. The primary goal of the app is to help the sprayer operator achieve consistent coverage, no matter the architecture of the orchard block, throughout the season. Research has demonstrated that following the process improves coverage while reducing wasted spray by an average of 20% over the season.
- Accept Metric or US Imperial units
- Create an inventory of your orchard airblast sprayers
- Create an inventory of your orchard blocks
- Determine optimal sprayer settings based on the average size, shape and density of the trees in the block
- Propose a pesticide dose for each block, including ideal nozzle rates, water volume and product(s) per tank
- Develop a permanent spray record that can be emailed to the user for archival
- Calculate work rates and estimate productivity
- Exceed label rates
- Calibrate your sprayer
- Confirm spray coverage
- Account for environmental conditions such as wind, humidity or temperature
- Advise a volume below 400 L/ha (about 42.5 US g/ac)
- Advise a dose that is less than 1/2 the label rate (that may seem low, but consider a first-year planting)
Recognizing that this app can only approximate ideal sprayer settings based on data entered by the user, sprayer adjustments are still required on the part of the sprayer operator. Specifically, the sprayer operator must still calibrate and adjust the sprayer air to match the tree and the environmental conditions and confirm coverage using water-sensitive paper.
Why you should try it:
Financial savings: The app will help you match your sprayer settings to the crop you’re trying to protect. That means you will find out if you are over- or under-spraying the tree canopy and by how much. This information, combined with feedback from water-sensitive paper, will improve canopy coverage and very probably improve the quality of the apple crop. Additionally, the app may lead to reduced pesticide volumes, which reduces environmental contamination and saves money.
Explore different spraying scenarios: Perhaps you’re considering a new planting and you would like to know how many tanks it would take to spray an orchard block for a given speed, or row spacing. Perhaps you are considering a sprayer with a larger tank to reduce the number of refills, or a smaller tank to prevent rutting and you want to see how that affects your spray efficiency. Maybe you’re considering decreasing your fill time by using a tender or nurse truck. Enter the parameters and see how it affects your spray day BEFORE you invest.
Create permanent spray records: The app will create a library of spray records that are emailed directly to you.
How it works:
Like any new practice, you have to put in a little time and effort to realize the full benefit of the app. Try it on a few blocks in the first year, make the changes to your spray program and review the results. As you get used to this new method for spraying, and see the improvement, you can continue to expand its use to the entire operation.
First you have to enter information about your operation. This only has to be done once.
- Enter your profile information
- Complete the Inventory
- Information for each sprayer in your operation
- Information about each sprayer operator
- Information about each physiologically different orchard block (e.g. Trellised Gala on 10′ rows is quite different from mature semi-dwarf Empires)
Now you are ready to calculate rates for a spray day.
- Choose the Sprayer, Operator and Block from your Inventory
- Decide if you want to use label-rate, or an optimized rate based on tree size
- Determine if you will spray every row, or alternate rows (You cannot choose to optimize your rate AND spray alternate rows)
Enter information about the tree shape and density (This accounts for pruning and time-of-season). This is mostly visual, where the user chooses from a series of pictures
- Enter label rate and preferred rate for each pesticide in the spray mix
The software then lets you know how much carrier and/or pesticide can be saved if you nozzle your sprayer according to it’s prescription.
- From a nozzle catalog, enter the nozzle rates for each position within 5% of OrchardMax’s prescription
The software then assembles a simple spray record, including all the rate adjustments and sprayer settings, which is emailed to you for your permanent records.
Where can I get it?
Right here! Select your operating system (images below) and you will be taken to the respective store and begin downloading. Please rate the app so we know it’s being used and can work to improve it. Please opt in to provide us with usage information so we can see how it’s being used – this is entirely private and we will not contact you.
The OrchardMAX app was developed by AgNition Inc. with funding from Growing Forward 2. For more information on the Crop-Adapted Spraying model behind the app, to provide constructive feedback, or to report bugs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.