Huh? Baby boomers and spray drift? How could those two things possibly be related? Jim Luzar, a Purdue University Extension ag education in Vigo County, contends they are. Here's how.
"The 'Baby Boomer' generation has different tastes and habits – more of them live in the country and raise crops like grapes for a hobby or to start a winery," Luzar says.
Other Baby Boomers just like to sample Indiana wine, and have created a demand. From a few wineries a few years ago in Indiana, the trend has turned into 80 wineries today scattered across the state. Most produce their own grapes, or at least some of them. That means there are more grapes and other sensitive crops in the countryside.
"Grapes are very sensitive to dicamba," he says. It's the herbicide in Banvel, and also will be in one of the new technologies under development. However, when it's launched for dicamba-tolerant crops, the formulation will be less sensitive to drift than earlier formulations.
Still, you need to be aware, Luzar says. "Talk to your neighbors and know what sensitive crops they may have that are close to fields where you spray.
"The other thing you can do is visit the Driftwatch Website to see who has entered and pinpointed the location of sensitive crops," he adds.
This free service lists sensitive crops if the person growing them takes time to enter them into the system.
"I've had a case where someone moved to the country and grew 10 acres of gourds," Luzar says. "Someone else put out three acres of strawberries. For both of these people it was a new experience."
These crops can be sensitive to various herbicides, but the person growing them may not know that. It's up to you to know these crops are there and take precautions to avoid crop injury. That may mean is using chemicals with less drift potential, paying more attention to wind speed or even laying back from the neighbor's property line if the crop is near the line, he concludes.
Are you confident in preparing your sprayer for the season ahead? Do you know how to best minimize herbicide spray drift? Brush up with our free report, Best Practices For Spraying: Get The Most Out Of Your Sprayer