Eligible farmers and apiarists are encouraged to register or update their data in the Iowa Sensitive Crop Directory for 2019.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship partners with FieldWatch to provide the online registry, where crop producers and apiaries can list the locations of their specialty crops and beehives. The online FieldWatch registries support ongoing stewardship practices and help reduce off-target pesticide exposures.
“We know farmers are anxious to get into the fields, but we encourage everyone to check the FieldWatch registry before spraying pesticides,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “The FieldWatch registries are valuable online tools that raise awareness about sensitive site locations and spur conversations between specialty crop producers, beekeepers and pesticide applicators. Most importantly, they help keep fieldworkers, fruit and vegetable crops, and beehives safe during the growing season.”
Types of specialty crops
Fields must be at least a half-acre to be registered as a specialty crop site. Farmers should register the following commercial ag products with the Iowa Sensitive Crop Directory:
- beehives and apiaries
- fruit and vegetable plots (berries, fruits, pumpkins or melons and vegetables)
- nursery crops
- vineyards (grapes)
- evergreen and Christmas tree plantings
- certified organic row crops
- small grains
FieldWatch offers three online registries: BeeCheck for apiarists, DriftWatch for specialty crop producers and FieldCheck for pesticide applicators. Apiarists and producers of sensitive crops can find detailed directions on how to register their sites with the FieldWatch tool at iowaagriculture.gov.
Once producers sign up, they can update their contact and site information any time. Beecheck and FieldCheck smartphone apps make it easy for apiaries and applicators to update their locations from the field. The apps are available free on Android and iOS.
Tools help reduce drift
The FieldWatch tools are gaining popularity among producers, apiaries and pesticide applicators, as they help avoid problems with pesticide drift and off-target applications.
More than 2,500 producers have registered almost 1,200 fields and 63,400 acres of specialty crops in the state of Iowa, to date. This is a dramatic increase from April 2018, when there were 1,500 producers, 740 fields and 33,000 acres of specialty crops registered in Iowa.
The number of registered apiaries and beehives in Iowa is also increasing. Today there are more than 1,900 apiaries and 11,600 beehives registered, up from 1,700 apiaries and 11,000 beehives in April 2018.
Pesticide applicators are also embracing the registry. There are twice as many registered applicators today (1,075) than a year ago (513).
Questions about the Iowa Sensitive Crop Directory or FieldWatch registries can be directed to IDALS horticulturist Paul Ovrom at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-242-6239.