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Prime Time to Practice Lessons on Safe Spraying

TAGS: USDA
Prime Time to Practice Lessons on Safe Spraying
Be sensitive to crops around you.

Several windy days have hampered farmers from getting fields sprayed, including some they've already planted. With a few rainy days thrown in, a farmer doing his own spraying has been forced to pick his days carefully this spring.

One farmer did a deed worth praising. Knowing the wind was borderline, and knowing some farmers raise non-GMO soybeans which would be susceptible to generic Roundup, he contacted his neighbor to make sure they were Roundup-Ready soybeans emerged in the field next to where he would be spraying. In this case, they were. Nevertheless, the neighbor was impressed that his friend bothered to ask and make sure before he sprayed first, then asked. At that point, had the soybeans not been Roundup Ready, the damage would have been done.

Spray drift is likely to become more of an issue as DowAgroSciences seeks to bring 2.4-D resistant crops to the market in the very near future. 2,4-D is one of those herbicides which can drift off-target if not used properly. The company is supposedly working on ways to minimize drift issues. Introduction of the product to the commercial market is still a year or so away.

Spraying next to sensitive crops is such a big deal for tomato growers like Steve Smith, Tipton, that he sends letters to his neighbors, informing them where he has a sensitive crop growing. He has met some success using the letter.

The other thing Purdue University has done, in cooperation with Red Gold, has developed a registry. It is actually operated through the office of the state Chemist, hosted at Purdue. People who have sensitive crops register them on line. Applicators are urged to register too. A new service this year that should be up and running will located new fields added to the registry and report them to the applicator.

Steve Smith of Red Gold believes getting this program off the ground is crucial. Field losses were astronomical due to spray damage on tomatoes in some instances two years ago. The company, one of the major tomato processors in the country, is strongly backing further development of this registry system.

You can find out more about it at: www.driftwatch.org. Started in Indiana in 2008, the program is now being piloted in several surrounding states.

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