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Andrew Landers

Doughnut Holes and Window Screens: Cornell Engineer Earns Excellence in IPM Award

by Mary Woodsen

Andrew LandersAndrew Landers is the kind of guy who can create a doughnut out of plywood to protect the environment from spray drift. 

His "Cornell doughnut" in place, Landers pilots an airblast sprayer down a vineyard row at a field school for grape growers. They can see the difference—no more spray plumes drifting high over the vineyard and away on the twilit air. Instead, the mist lands on the targeted vineyard canopy. 

For this and a wealth of similar innovations, Landers, an agricultural engineer at Cornell University, is receiving an Excellence in IPM award. However varied his work, it has one unifying theme—finding inexpensive ways farmers can save on sprays, to protect both the environment and their bottom line. 

Many growers credit Lander's work with saving them thousands of dollars on sprays. But it's not just his inventiveness that accounts for the enthusiasm that greets Landers at grower forums. It's Landers himself—a gifted speaker with a worldwide reputation for the brilliance of his demos and workshops, says Brian Nault, professor of entomology at Cornell University. 

"Andrew is a crowd favorite at meetings because he's a master of combining great content with a great sense of humor," says Nault. "That's a deadly combination for the unfortunate speaker who follows him at conference speaking engagements."

Landers's many innovations improve spray coverage on crops as varied as onion fields and orchards. "My farm cut yearly spray applications by at least a third—a conservative estimate," says vineyard owner Bill Dalrymple. He credits Landers' "patternators", built from easy-to-get materials like window-screen, angle iron, rivets and copper drains, for much of that savings.  

"Who said you can't teach an old farmer new tricks," Dalrymple says. "Andrew has. There aren't many people who come into our lives that will always remain a part of it. Andrew is one of them." 

Landers receives his award at Viticulture 2013 in Rochester, NY on February 6.