Tool helps Del. farmers talk to pesticide sprayers

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) - This March a nationally used tool to enhance communication between pesticide sprayers and farmers with sensitive crops became available to farmers in Delaware.

When pesticide is sprayed, in the air or on the ground, wind and weather factors can cause the spray to move off target, which is known as drifting. The new tool, DriftWatch, will allow farmers to mark their sensitive fields on an online map so sprayers can better identify which areas to use caution around.

So far, the only field to sign up in Sussex County is at the University of Delaware’s Carvel Research and Education Center outside Georgetown. Both organic farmers and farmers with sensitive crops, such as tomatoes or grapes, will benefit from the program, said Mark VanGessel, extension weed specialist. What will keep bugs off corn may injure or kill another crop, he said.

“It’s not unique to organic,” VanGessel said.

He used the tool to register one of the center’s organic fields and to better understand the system so he can educate nearby farmers.

“I thought it was a pretty simple website to use,” VanGessel said. “It brings up a map, and you zero in on a particular field, use whatever designation you want to use for it and hit send.”

The program is for commercially used land larger than a half acre. The system was created by Purdue University staff members and is run by a Purdue-created nonprofit.

Jeff Chorman of Allen Chorman and Son Inc., has done aerial spraying in the area since 1997. Any tool the company can use to stay aware of sensitive crops in its spraying area will be helpful, he said.

“Right now, if nobody tells us, we don’t know,” he said. “If we can do something to make other people happy, I’ll absolutely use it. Now, will other people use it? They should if they’re professional applicators.”

The company already takes some precautions to prevent drift, Chorman said.

The company doesn’t spray when the wind is blowing more than 10 mph. It also doesn’t spray when there is “temperature inversion,” when a layer of heat is trapped under a layer of cold air, which you might see on a foggy morning.

Chorman’s 12 spraying planes are equipped with systems that release smoke to indicate to the pilot how a spray might move. The company also uses an anti-drift agent in its pesticides, making the spray’s droplets larger and heavier, increasing the odds it will fall on target.

___

Online: https://driftwatch.org/

___

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks