Increasing farm efficiency with best practices for spray application

Simple adjustments to farm pesticide application programs can result in huge cost savings for fruit and vegetable growers.

Vineyard sprayer demonstration.
Photo by: Maddie Curley

Pesticide applications are one of the least pleasant tasks on a farmer’s to-do list, but is something that must be done. Typically, growers apply pesticides based on treatment instructions on product labels while incorporating advice from a crop scout or agronomist. However, no two sprayers are alike and it’s important to consider both what is applied and where it’s applied. Small adjustments to machine settings can help growers save big in the long-run.

Growers who attend Michigan State University’s Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies on June 28 at MSU’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, will have the opportunity to hear from Mark Ledebuhr,
owner of local consulting firm Application Insight, LLC. Mark has based his career on  understanding and improving spray application, primarily in horticultural pesticide applications, orchard and vineyard applications and grains cultivation.

During the morning session, Best Practices for Spray Applications: More Where You Want it and Less Where You Don’t, Mark will discuss the importance of targeting the canopy with spray applications in fruit and vegetables plus give attendees insight into how to evaluation sprayers to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of on-farm application programs.

“These aren’t new techniques,” Ledebuhr explained. “Many people just aren’t talking about them. By giving a little more thought to all the conditions impacting application quality and drift, growers can save money in the long-term and improve their stewardship in the process.”

In addition to the Best Practices for Spray Applications session, fruit and vegetable growers can also attend sessions covering other farm management strategies including pollinators, high tunnels, drone technologies and irrigation.  

MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.  June 28 at the MSU Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, offers a variety of fruit, vegetable and grape growing technologies, including the latest information on pollinators and equipment. The event has been approved for Restricted Use Pesticide Credits (6 credits) and Certified Crop Advisor CEUs in Integrated Pest Management, Crop Management, Soil and Water Management and Sustainability. For detailed session descriptions, visit or contact Ron Bates at

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