From left to right, Wilbur-Ellis’ Bill Bagley and UNL’s Greg Kruger, Ph.D., and Ryan Henry stand by the drift tunnel system recently unveiled at North Platte, Neb.
From left to right, Wilbur-Ellis’ Bill Bagley and UNL’s Greg Kruger, Ph.D., and Ryan Henry stand by the drift tunnel system recently unveiled at North Platte, Neb.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) held a ceremonial ribbon cutting for a new drift tunnel system at the UNL West Central Research and Extension Center at North Platte. The system was partially funded by Wilbur-Ellis Company and other contributors.

The tunnel system, more commonly referred to as a high-speed and a low-speed wind tunnel, was unveiled to the public, university officials and elected officials the last day of May. The drift tunnel system is only the second of its kind in the country and the first available to the agricultural industry for commercial testing.

“For years, Wilbur-Ellis has played a significant role in the area of drift reduction technology by supporting research and regulations to mandate safe, effective practices,” said Bill Bagley, manager of application technology at Wilbur-Ellis. “The drift tunnel system sets the stage for research that will help our industry better understand and correct the potential negative implications of spray drift.”  

The drift tunnels feature variable speed fans at one end to simulate wind flow. The system accurately measures the size of the spray particles generated at different speeds. Researchers can apply various nozzle types, applications pressures and spray solutions in the tunnel system to test the impact of each. These measurements enable the researchers to identify which combinations best reduce the potential for pesticide drift or degree of possible drift.