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Biological Systems Engineering Agricultural Automation Engineering

Spray Researchers Aim to Catch Their Drift

February 15, 2019  |  Good Fruit Grower

Lav Khot, left, and Rakesh Ranjan collect sample cards and foliar sprigs during a trial in November. (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)Against the gray, late-autumn sky, it’s hard to miss the green plume spraying into the dormant orchard.

It’s a very colorful solution to a nearly invisible problem.

Underlying every pesticide label regulation lie complex calculations of risk to protect workers, bystanders and the environment from drift. But the methods federal regulators use to determine drift allowances from airblast sprayers date back decades — and likely overestimate the risk in modern orchards.

“All the restrictions and statements on labels are based on a set of assumptions of a worst-case scenario,” said Washington State University extension specialist Gwen Hoheisel. “If we could have a better estimate and the worst-case scenario is not actually as bad as it’s currently estimated, it could lead to less restrictive labels.”

That’s why Hoheisel, WSU agricultural engineer Lav Khot and a team of research associates were eager to watch the path of that fluorescent green cloud from the airblast sprayer. To the naked eye, little drift beyond the orchard block could be seen. However, dozens of drift samplers transecting up to 600 feet across the adjacent field were poised to catch and measure any particles that reached them.

Continue Reading on Good Fruit Grower

 

Read the Full Article on Good Fruit Grower: Spray researchers aim to catch their drift

 

 

 

 

 

BSE Graduate Students win Best Graduate Poster Award at the 2019 BioAg Symposium

February 7, 2019  |  Pullman, WA

Rajeev Sinha & Dean Wright at 2019 BioAg Symposium
Rajeev Sinha Explains his poster to CAHNRS Dean Wright at the 2019 BioAg Symposium

BSE graduate students in the Agricultural Automation Engineering  research area Haitham Bahlol and Rajeev Sinha presented their work on “Horticultural oil thermotherapy for pear psyllid management”. During the event, Rajeev Sinha spoke to CAHNRS Dean Wright at the 2019 BioAg Symposium

Their poster was awarded the ‘Best Graduate Poster Award’ with $500 scholarship.

 

See more pictures on the WSU CAHNRS Twitter Feed: WSU CAHNRS on Twitter

 

 

 

 

Citation: Bahlol, H.Y., R. Sinha*, L.R. Khot, G.-A. Hoheisel and R. Ehsani. 2019. Efficacy evaluation of horticultural oil based thermotherapy for pear psylla management. 2019 BIOAg Symposium, Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University, Pullman, WA. February 7, 2018. (Received ‘Best Graduate Poster Award’).

Researcher finds alternatives to pesticides

February 4, 2019  |  The Daily Evergreen

Lav+Khot%2C+WSU+assistant+professor+of+precision+agriculture%2C+discusses+his+work+and+grants+he+recieved+in+efforts+to+reduce+pesticide+spray+on+crops+Friday+in+L.J.+Smith+Hall.A WSU assistant professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering received a $300,000 grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research to research pesticide use on crops.

Lav Khot said he and his team are researching ways to reduce the use of broad-spectrum pesticides on crops, such as fresh fruit like sweet cherries, pears and apples.

Khot said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits the number of pesticides in the food consumers eat, but those chemicals still end up in the bloodstream.

Continue Reading on the Daily Evergreen: Researcher finds alternatives to pesticides

Online publication labels professor as AI trailblazer

January 18, 2019  |  The Daily Evergreen

Manoj Karkee with drone

The online magazine “Connected World” recognized a WSU associate professor as one of the 2019 artificial intelligence pioneers.

Manoj Karkee, a biological systems engineering associate professor, said the magazine chooses its pioneers based on their use of artificial intelligence, data analytics and technology around the world.

“Other scientists are recognized from different prestigious universities,” Karkee said. “It gives me a lot of pleasure to be selected in that elite group of people.”

Continue Reading on the Daily Evergreen: Online publication labels professor as AI trailblazer

Lav Khot Named New Innovator in Food and Agriculture

January 15, 2019  |  CAHNRS News

Professional profile photo of Lav KhotPROSSER – WSU’s Lav Khot will look to reduce reliance on broad spectrum pesticides that result in residues on food with an award from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR).

Khot and his collaborators received one of FFAR’s New Investigator awards for 2018, which includes a 3-year, $300,000 grant. Part of the grant will be used to study the usefulness of ozonated water, or water that has the O3 molecule, also known as ozone, dissolved into it.

Continue Reading on the CAHNRS News Page: Award allows for research on crop spray residue

 

The full article can be found on the CAHNRS News Page: Award allows for research on crop spray residue

More Information can be found on the New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award Page: New Innovator in Food and Agriculture Research Award

BSE Faculty Manoj Karkee Named 2019 Pioneer in AI and IoT

December 4, 2018  |  Connected World Magazine   |  Carol Stream, Ill.

Manoj Karkee, a professor in the Agricultural Automation Engineering specialty area of Biological Systems Engineering has been selected as a 2019 Pioneers in AI and IoT by Connected World magazine.

The Pioneers in AI and IoT awards highlight the humane, uplifting, and powerful stories of the IoT (Internet of Things) and other emerging technological breakthroughs impacting the good of mankind.

 

The full article can be found on the 11 Professors Prophecies for AI and IoT website.

More information about the Connected World magazine 2019 Pioneers in AI and IoT can be found on the Connected World Press Room Website.

 

Agricultural robots combine future, farming practices

October 26, 2018  |  Pullman, WA  |  Daily Evergreen

Manoj Karkee and Suraj Amatya evaluate a fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicleIn a partnership with the University of Technology Sydney in Australia, WSU scientists are working to create agricultural robots to help local farmers and industries maintain and harvest crops efficiently.

The partnership started on Sept. 24, said Manoj Karkee, an assistant professor in the biological systems engineering department at WSU. Both universities will exchange students, which allows them to work in different labs and use different robotic systems. [Continue reading on the Daily Evergreen]

 

 

Story continues on the Daily Evergreen: Agricultural robots combine future, farming practices

WSU, Australian scientists partner to form Joint Center for Ag Robotics

October 1, 2018  |  Pullman, WA

By Scott Truscott, College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resources Sciences

 

Students with DroneTo speed robotic advancements that help farmers grow food with fewer resources, scientists at Washington State University and Australia’s University of Technology Sydney have partnered to form the new Joint Center for Agricultural Robotics.

The first collaboration of its kind for WSU’s Center for Precision and Automated Agricultural Systems (CPAAS), the partnership joins WSU scientists’ expertise in innovative automation solutions for farms and orchards with pre-eminent research in robotics at the University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Centre for Autonomous Systems.

 

[Read more on the WSU Insider: WSU, Australian scientists partner to form Joint Center for Ag Robotics]

 

BSE Faculty Receive USDA-NIFA Funding to Study Water Use

September 24, 2018  |  Pullman, WA

 

rotating irrigation system in fieldBiological Systems Engineering Faculty Claudio Stockle, Troy Peters, and Lav Khot received USDA-NIFA Funding as part of the State of the Washington Water Research Center (WRC) project titled “Technology for trade: new tools and new rules for water use efficiency in agriculture and beyond.

 

 

Read more about the project on the WSU News Story: Research to help water flow more freely to farms, fish, people and the Washington Water Research Center: Technology for trade: new tools and new rules for water use efficiency in agriculture and beyond.

 

BSE Faculty Receive 2018 WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards

September 21, 2018  |  Pullman, WA

 

Biological Systems Engineering Faculty Lav Khot and Manoj Karkee received Washington State Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards.

 

Lav Khot’s project titled “Alternative pest management technologies for tree fruit and wine grapes” was awarded $249,088.

Abstract: This WSU team, with agricultural engineering, viticulture, plant pathology and entomology expertise, will investigate use of horticultural oil thermotherapy (HOT) and ozonated water sprayer (OWS) applications for effective control of indicator pest and disease species in pear and wine grapes. Both are novel ways to transform commonly-accepted low-risk materials (oil, ozonated water) for improved pest and disease control with minimal chemical residue levels needed for export market. Our project aligns with environmental stewardship goals of using methodologies and products that have minimal off-target impacts and reduced chemical inputs. It bolsters available toolkit for organic pest management, while being equally viable in conventional and IPM-based programs .Our specific project objectives are:(1)to transform our existing laboratory-scale HOT sprayer into a field-appropriate prototype and optimization for pear psyllid, and grape mealybug and powdery mildew control;(2) to evaluate a commercially available OWS to control the above indicator pest and disease species; and (3) to engage local manufacturers to build and distribute these technologies as well as conduct extensive Extension to increase the rate of technology adoption. Objective 1 activities include:(i) HOT sprayer prototyping, (ii) evaluate its application accuracy within different canopy regions of trellised grape and large pear canopies, and (iii) assess control of indicator pest and disease species through field trials. Objective 2 activities include:(i) optimization of OWS, and (ii) bioassay-based mortality assessments with field evaluations. Objective 3 activities will focus on early engagement with growers and equipment manufacturers for meaningful outreach education of field optimized technologies.

 

Manoj Karkee’s project titled ” Precise Mechanical Solution for Vineyard Shoot Thinning” was awarded $195,232.

Abstract: This proposal is submitted by Washington State University. We propose to develop an automated solution for green shoot thinning in wine grapes. Currently, there is about 55,000 acres of wine grapes and about 900 licensed wineries in Washington with ~$5 billion economic impact to the state. Green shoot thinning, an operation to remove some of the shoots from vine cordons, is used to improve spacing and direction of shoot growth, which is essential to create healthy and productive canopies as it improves light penetration and air movement in the canopies. This operation is highly labor-intensive, costing growers >$265/acre/year. Machine thinning can reduce the cost to about ~$10/acre. However, currently available shoot thinners lack desired level of precision and speed, and require skilled operators. Our goal is to develop an automated system for precise positioning of thinning heads of a mechanical thinner. To achieve this goal, we will focus on developing; i) a machine vision system to estimate cordon/trunk location and shoot density; ii) a prototype, pneumatic shoot thinner capable of quickly adjusting thinning roller position for precise removal of target shoots; and iii) an integrated, automated thinning machine and evaluate it in the vineyard environment. By the end of the project, it is expected that our prototype and field validation study will provide sufficient data and information for companies to develop and commercialize the machine. Commercial adoption of this technology will reduce farm labor use and production cost, resulting in a substantial benefit to Washington wine grape industry.

 

Read More on the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Ag Briefs Page and the Specialty Crop Block Grant Awards Abstract Page.

 

 

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