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A Novel Method for Testing Automatic Boom Height Control Systems for Field Sprayers

Herbst, Andreas, Osteroth, Hans-Jürgen
Gesunde Pflanzen 2019 v.71 no.Supplement 1 pp. 17-24
canopy, liquids, plant protection, sprayers
Automatic boom height control systems for sprayers have become more common in recent years. These systems shall maintain a set boom height above the target area (canopy or ground) as an important factor for an accurate distribution of the spray liquid and sufficient drift control. At the Institute for Application Techniques in Plant Protection in cooperation with CheckTec a novel procedure was developed for assessing the control accuracy of such systems within an official sprayer test protocol. The method is based on a stationary test bench consisting of target area units placed below the height sensors of the sprayer. The target area can perform arbitrary movements simulating a ground or canopy surface profile. At first tests different boom height control systems were studied using a synthetic and two different field profiles in two control modes (height and tilt control) to prove whether the protocol would give reproducible results and to identify statistical parameters appropriate to describe the test results. In addition, the influence of different test profiles on the results should be determined.It could be shown that the test were reproducible. Three test replications were found sufficient for a reliable evaluation of the control systems. The test profile used can influence the ranking of the control systems but this would be found in field tests, too.