Rational application of pesticides by properly adjusting the amount of product to the actual needs and specific conditions for application is a key factor for sustainable plant protection. However, current plant protection product (PPP) labels registered for citrus in EU are usually expressed as concentration (%; rate/hl) and/or as the maximum dose of product per unit of ground surface, without taking into account those conditions. In this work, the fundamentals of a support tool, called CitrusVol, developed to recommend mix volume rates in PPP applications in citrus orchards using airblast sprayers, are presented. This tool takes into consideration crop characteristics (geometry, leaf area density), pests, and product and application efficiency, and it is based on scientific data obtained previously regarding the minimum deposit required to achieve maximum efficacy, efficiency of airblast sprayers in citrus orchards, and characterization of the crop. The use of this tool in several commercial orchards allowed a reduction of the volume rate and the PPPs used in comparison with the commonly used by farmers of between 11% and 74%, with an average of 31%, without affecting the efficacy. CitrusVol is freely available on a website and in an app for smartphones.
Keywords: airblast sprayer; canopy volume; dose rate; efficacy; efficiency; leaf area density.