In 2013, LaGasse Machine & Fabrication picked up the North America Territory for Munckhoff 3 Row Orchard Sprayers. Munckhof Fruit Tech Innovators was founded in 1884 as a real family business that manufactured tools for agriculture and horticulture. Munckhof became a specialist in spraying, harvesting and filling of crates for fruit growing, viticulture and harvesting olives. Increasingly sophisticated, increasingly high-quality and increasingly international.
Adding the Munckhof 3-Row Sprayers to the LaGasse Agricultural Equipment portfolio is helping to spearhead the growth of our agricultural presence in the industry both locally & throughout our footprint.
The Munckhof Air System Orchard Sprayer (VariMAS Orchard Sprayer) has been developed in close collaboration with fruit growers and meets their growing demand for more spray capacity, an even higher drift reduction and even more accurate leaf coverage. With Munckhof VariMAS 3, you deal with three rows at a time. Precisely because of this, you are able to treat your entire area very rapidly in the event of emerging illnesses or in ideal (weather) conditions.
99% Drift reduction demonstrated by Wageningen University
The M.A.S. excels through optimal leaf coverage and the highest possible effect of the applied agents. This is ensured by the accurate adjustment of the driving speed, pressure on the nozzles (7 bar) and the rotation speed of the pump. The high-quality distribution of air and liquid ensures direct air flow and optimum atomisation. This creates a minimal loss of valuable resources. The VariMAS has a drift reduction of 99% as was demonstrated by Wageningen University (WUR).
Agitator and mix pump for constant homogeneous mixture
Because the VariMAS 3 sucks air from the top, the installation does not take in any leaves and blossom. The VariMAS is equipped with a mechanical agitator for a constant, optimal distribution of water and active substance. A mix pump prevents clogging of the cap and silting up or contamination of the filters during filling. The air pockets are flexible, lightweight and do not oxidize. They therefore have a long service life. The M.A.S. orchard sprayer is widely applicable in both fruit cultivation and viticulture worldwide.
Michigan State University and Dutch fruit technology companies demonstrate the potential of precision agriculture for America’s apple cultivation sector
Aurea Imaging, Munckhof Fruit Tech Innovators and EFC – all Dutch companies – have set up a demonstration project in collaboration with Michigan State University to explore the applications of precision agriculture for cultivating several apple varieties in the US, including Kanzi® apples. The pilot project will include a demonstration of fully automated, tree-specific blossom thinning and growth regulation. Drone footage, data analysis and automatic orchard sprayers with GPS technology will be used during the study. The demonstration will take place at the farms of fruit growers Mike Wittenbach and Ronald Rasch in a 10-acre test area.
Drone footage to register blossom density on individual trees
Dutch company Aurea Imaging will create blossom and vigour maps between late April and early May using drone footage to assess the blossom density and the vigour of each individual tree. The maps will be validated jointly by researchers from the university, Aurea Imaging and the fruit growers. A threshold for minimum blossom density will be determined in consultation with the growers. All trees that are scored below the blossom density threshold will be automatically skipped during blossom thinning, while those above this threshold will receive precision treatment. The trees below this threshold will be treated with a growth regulator to achieve higher and more uniform fruit yields. Treatment with a growth regulator prevents fruit trees from growing too vigorously, and avoids a low rate of fruit growth and maturation and excessively large fruits.
Automatic conversion of the blossom maps to task maps for the automatic Munckhof sprayer
The blossom maps will automatically be converted to digital task maps for Munckhof’s automatic VariMAS sprayer. This sprayer was chosen for the demo project because of its high drift reduction capability and accuracy, in combination with its low consumption of spraying agents and fuel. The Munckhof VariMAS sprayer is equipped with GPS technology that accurately recognises fruit trees based on digital task maps. The new, fast single-nozzle activation feature, with a response time of 0.2 seconds, allows highly accurate selective activation at individual tree level. The Munckhof sprayer executes the spraying strategy fully automatically for each zone. This guarantees that each tree is sprayed based on the correct spraying strategy.
The maps lead to higher and more uniform fruit harvests
The demo’s validation parameters includea number of flower clusters, tree height, shoot length, the number of fruits, and the colour and size of the fruits. This application of precision agriculture leads to a higher yield, greater uniformity and better quality, and also reduces the use of spraying agents. Previous demonstrations in the Netherlands resulted in yield increases of 12% to 65%. Tree-specific growth regulation leads to a more uniform and healthier orchard, with proven higher yields.
Publication of the results and progress of the demo
The demonstration project uses existing and proven techniques, however this is the first time that they have been deployed for growth stimulation in the apple cultivation sector in the US. The results and status of the demo as it progresses will be published on (social) media and presented at events for fruit growers. In the Netherlands, trials with the application of precision agriculture have also led to good results in automatic thinning, pear bud weevil treatment, root pruning and targeted fertilisation of individual fruit trees. During these trials, the harvest optimisation results were good and growers saved significantly on resources and labour.