Jesse Te Slaa

When it comes to controlling spotted wing drosophila in blueberries, application timing is crucial. And when it comes to timely spraying, according to Jesse Te Slaa of Casale Farm, nothing beats the flexibility and efficiency offered by On Target Spray Systems.

Te Slaa said he has seen a significant improvement in the farm’s spotted wing drosophila spray program since switching from an air blast sprayer to the On Target electrostatic system. “And our plant diseases have not been an issue since switching to this technology,” Te Slaa said.

“We’ve just been able to get everything done so much more on time,” he said. “I think that is part of the reason we are having the better results: We are able to apply material when conditions are more favorable, rather than trying to spray when you shouldn’t be spraying. And, with the On Target, we are getting a lot better coverage. We’re getting a lot more spray efficacy. And we don’t have to worry about drift or any of those issues.”

Te Slaa said it used to take seven days to complete a treatment with the farm’s single-row air blast sprayer. Today, with the On Target 300-gallon three-row sprayer, it takes three days.

Water usage has declined from 50 to 60 gallons an acre with the air-blast sprayer to 16 gallons an acre with the On Target sprayer, Te Slaa said, resulting in considerably less mixing time.

Te Slaa said the Aurora, Oregon, farm originally switched from air-blast to electrostatic technology because it liked the three-row option provided by On Target Spray Systems.

“We also were concerned about the fruit fly,” he said. “We were concerned about getting good control of that, so we don’t get fruit rejected because of its presence.”

Over the past two years, the farm discovered several other benefits, including the improved efficacy and the improved efficiency.

Today, the farm uses strictly On Target technology for its spraying needs.

“We don’t use the air-blast sprayer anymore, because it is too inefficient,” Te Slaa said.

As for maintenance, Te Slaa said the farm has had no issues in that regard.

“We switch it to ‘rinse’ when we go to fill, and it automatically flushes. We’ve had no issues with maintenance,” he said.

As for concerns over spotted wing rejections, that, too, has been a non-issue. “We haven’t had any rejections because of the fruit fly, and we haven’t had any problems with MRLs,” Te Slaa said.

“We’ll continue to use the On Target sprayer because we are getting excellent control, and it is a time saver,” he said, “not only with the mixing, but with the application time.”

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