Arkansas pesticide applicators working row and field crops will be able to identify herbicide-sensitive crops and adjust their spraying accordingly thanks to a unique online platform called CropCheck — a pilot program being offered in partnership between FieldWatch and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
FieldWatch is a not-for-profit company that hosts registries that map locations of pesticide-sensitive crops and bee hives. The effort is meant to help farmers prevent damage to their neighbors.
The partnership between FieldWatch and the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service will also enable Arkansas producers to have access to two other FieldWatch products, Driftwatch and BeeCheck.
“Farmers in 18 states and one Canadian province are working with FieldWatch in an effort to increase communication, collaboration and awareness to prevent problems with off-target spraying,” said Vic Ford, interim associate vice president-agriculture and natural resources-extension for the Division of Agriculture. “The work FieldWatch was doing came to our attention during the very difficult year Arkansas had in 2017 with some pesticides not staying where applied.”
With CropCheck, row crop producers may submit crop site information. Pesticide applicators can access the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops and beehives in their areas. Registered applicators can sign up to receive email notifications when new crop fields or beehives are added to their designated state, county or areas.
“CropCheck is only available in Arkansas for the 2018 growing season as part of a pilot program funded by the Cooperative Extensive Service and developed in coordination with FieldWatch,” said Stephanie Regagnon of FieldWatch.
DriftWatch will allow commercial producers of specialty crops such as tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and organic crops to register and map their sites online with an easy-to-use mapping tool and provide contact information about their operation.
BeeCheck has a few additional features for beekeepers and apiaries to communicate their location and site details to applicators.
Arkansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia all joined FieldWatch in 2018.
Free and voluntary
There’s no cost to enroll or use the new registry and enrollment is voluntary. Both commercial and hobby beekeepers can use the system, however, only managers and owners of crop fields that are used for commercial production and are of at least a half-acre in size will have fields approved by the state data steward. The stewardship platforms provided by FieldWatch are not intended for homeowners or those with small gardens.
Pesticide applicators will have different options for viewing locations on the new system but all users in Arkansas, applicators, producers, and beekeepers, will need to go to https://ar.driftwatch.org/ and create an account to get started.