App-ier way to spray

Rob Emery uses the new smartphone app SnapCard to assess spray droplet coverage on leaves.
Rob Emery uses the new smartphone app SnapCard to assess spray droplet coverage on leaves.

SnapCard was developed by the Department of Agriculture and Food and the University of WA to enable growers to predict spray coverage based on weather conditions and spray settings.

The free app is available for iPhone, iPad and Android smartphones and tablets.

The department’s senior entomologist Rob Emery said SnapCard was a valuable decision-making tool that allowed growers to assess the performance of pesticide spray applications.

‘Spray applications are an important cost for growers and prior to SnapCard, there were no quantitative procedures available to predict or measure performance,’ Mr Emery said.

‘The app predicts spray coverage based on tractor speed, size of spray nozzles, spray volume and weather conditions, including temperature, humidity and wind speed.’

This allows growers to record, measure and archive actual spray treatments, providing better pest control, reduced risk of pesticide resistance and minimisation of application costs, he said.

Another key part of the app involves placement of water-sensitive spray cards that can be used in field locations, with optional GPS co-ordinates and comments recorded, so a map view of whole paddock coverage can be logged.

‘Following treatment, the spray cards can be photographed by SnapCard and the image cropped to the area of the card with droplets,’ Mr Emery said. ‘Actual coverage is then calculated by SnapCard and compared with the predicted coverage.’

‘This allows farmers to assess actual spray coverage and refine how they use the predictive tool. ‘