Comparison on the Orchard of Drift Reduction Devices on the M612 – Südtirol Model by Martignani S.r.l.

The “Südirol 2015” (M-612 Multi-Flow-Orchard model) Sprayer by Martignani S.r.l. of S. Agata sul Santemo (RA) – Italy is an Electrostatic Mist-Blower with an innovative orientation and air flow adjustment system able to create a “curtain of air” to protect the sensitive areas around the edge of the treated plot of land (Fig. 1). This “curtain” makes it possible to prevent the phytoiatric mixture that may not have been deposited on the target, it reaches sites other than those being treated by reducing the risk of drift during the application of the agrochemicals (primary drift).

Figure 1 – “Südirol 2015″ electrostatic sprayer mod. M-612 Multi-Flow-Orchard being tested at the Spagolle experimental company belonging to the Fondazione E. Mach

The model being tested has been designed as an evolution of the previous “Südirol 2001” model (Fig. 2) designed to treat orchards in the Alto Adige (Sud Tyrol) areas, where the foliage has always been of a considerable height, but where, over the years, they have undergone considerable modification in the planning of the layout and in the structure to become one of the most modern pruning techniques.

Figure 2 – Old fashion Südtirol 2001 electrostatic sprayer.

Materials and Methods

The test was carried out at the Spagolle experimental farm owned by the Fondazione De Bellat situated between Castelnuovo and Borgo Valsugana in the province of Trento (Trentino Alto-Adige). It is partly managed by the Fondazione E. Mach of S. Michele all’Adige (Trento). The treatment was applied to an orchard with Fuji apple trees with a distance between the rows of 3.4 meters next to another with Golden Reinders having the same layout. The plot planted in 2009 is on a slope and has rows oriented in a north-south direction. At the time of the testing, the plants were 3.2 + 0.2 meters high.

The equipment being tested was adjusted by the technical staff of Martignani to distribute 300 litres per hectare of a concentrated mixture containing various plant protection products, the active principles of which had not been used in company plant protection before the test (Chart 1).

Chart I Plant protection tracking products used during the experimentation

Commercial product

Active principle/s

BellisBoscalid pyraclostrobin
Dursban 75 WGChlorpyrifos

To verify the above, before beginning the test, an apple sample was taken on which the four active principles in the tracer mixture were studied. The results of the analysis are shown in the chart below (Chart 2).

Chart 2 Results of the multi residual analysis on the pre-treatment sample to exclude the tracking mixture had never been used before on the test plot

The treatment and the later sampling were carried out along the lines of the experiment plan shown in Figure 3.The mixture was applied in windless conditions (average speed 0.2-;-0.3 m s–1), working early in the morning and the sample of fruit trees on the row adjacent to the area treated was done in the late afternoon of the same day (August 11, 2016).

Figure 3 Treatment plan and test sampling

For each of the three theses 4 samples of 25 apples were gathered, both on the row immediately adjacent to those treated and on the next row. These were delivered to the Fondazione Mach chemistry laboratory to determine the residuals of the mixture used for the test.

For the purposes of pointing up the differences in the drift generated among the methods of treatment, the data obtained was subjected to variance analysis. The statistical test test adopted was the Kruskal-Wallis one way ANOVA on ranks, a non-parametric method for comparison between several groups with independent samples. The analysis was conducted separately for each of the two rows that had not been treated in the sample and, to attempt to better highlight the differences between the theses, without taking into account the type of active substance – also considering the low level of contamination, very near the limit of detectability, thus increasing the number of repetitions for each method of treatment.

Results and Discussion

Chart 3 shows the results of the analysis on the samples collected from the first row next to the treated plot. The data are subdivided for each analyte studied and it is evident how the levels of contamination encountered on the apples are just over the instrumental detectability threshold for each active principle already considered for the samples of this row.

Chart 3 Results of the analyses conducted on samples of Fuji apple collected from the first row next to those treated

Similarly, chart 4 shows the results of the analyses on the samples collected from the second row adjacent to the plot treated, after the non-treated Fuji row.

Chart 4 Results of the analyses conducted on samples of Golden apples collected from the second row next to those treated

From the first reading of the results it is possible to see how, in the operating conditions used for the test, compared with the reference configuration – machine operating without using the electrostatic charge and with vents perpendicular to the rows – the method with the activated device for the transfer of the electrostatic charge has not produced any improvement in the contamination due to drift in the rows adjacent to the plot treated. In fact, the number of samples contaminated and active principles found were very similar both to those for the row next to the last row treated and for the next one. The adjustment of the sprayer with vents parallel to the row treated – and the consequent formation of the air curtain to protect the rows next to the treated ones – combined with the active electrostatic charge device, while having produced a level of contamination on the row next to the treated one that is comparable to the one of the other theses, has allowed the total pollution of the Golden Reinders row to be avoided.

No other evidence has emerged from the analysis of the data through a statistical approach. In fact, both for the apples from the row adjacent to the one treated and the next one, the contamination for the different active tracking principles has proved to be not different statistically (p<0.05) for each of the configurations tested. It has been possible to observe a greater, albeit tendential, difference among the theses not considering the active tracing principle and in this way making a dummy increase in number of observations for each configuration being tested (Kruskal-Wallis test: H [2, N= 48] =5.374175 p =.0681) for the Fuji samples adjacent to the treated ones, but not for the Golden samples (Kruskal-Wallis test: H [2, N= 48] =2.977841 p =.2256).




CROPApple, Malus domestica, MABSD
TARGETDrift reduction
SPONSORMartignani s.r.l. (Italy)

TEST FACILITY MANAGEMENT: FEM/IASMA test centre (Ministerial Decree 6 June 2000, Prot. no. 33038; Ministerial Decree 10 June 2005, Prot. N 39023 and Ministerial Decree 23 February 2010 no. 03757 and Ministerial Decree 24 June 2011.


The trial was conducted according to the good experimental practices (GEP) and in compliance to Regulation (EC) N° 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and the Council of 21 October 2009.