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Chemosphere. 2006 Jul;64(5):778-86. Epub 2005 Dec 9.

Drift of 10 herbicides after tractor spray application. 2. Primary drift (droplet drift).

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  • 1Department of Integrated Pest Management, Research Centre Flakkebjerg, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, DK-4200 Slagelse, Denmark.


In the present study the primary drift of 10 herbicides was investigated in five field experiments, and the amount deposited per surface area was quantified outside the application area using simple passive dosimeters. In addition, samples for measuring a possible background value were taken upwind of the sprayed field. Deposits of spray drift were common to all spray equipment and spray was detected up to 150 m off-target. There were deposits of 0.1-9% of the applied amount close to the sprayed field (up to 2 m). But 3m from the spraying zone deposits were reduced to 0.02-4%. The amounts decreased exponentially when moving away from the field. The differences in drift could be described mainly by the different drop sizes, the wind velocity, the formulation and the filtering effect of vegetation on the sampling area. The tendency of the active ingredients to evaporate could also have an, although less important, influence on the drift. This is a factor, which ought to be exposed to a further study. The findings supported that it is the physical properties of the spray and the conditions of application (i.e. equipment and meteorology) that are the primary determinants of primary drift rather than the chemical property of the pure active ingredients.

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