Drift Management Moves to the Next Level

Managing drift when spraying crop protection chemicals has always been important, but Round-Up® Ready (RR) crops brought a degree of complacency about the issue. A lackadaisical approach to drift doesn't cut it with the steady increase of sensitive features (vineyards, organic farms, orchards, bee hives, etc.), and now, with the advent of RR 2 Xtend® soybeans and the chemicals recently approved for use on them, drift matters even more.

Kevin Johnson, agronomy sales rep at Federated's Osceola location, offered these important reminders for managing drift with crop protection chemicals:

  1. Read the label. While this may seem obvious, it's often overlooked. Read it thoroughly. Product labels are designed to protect growers and their neighbors, chemical applicators, and the environment.
  2. Check the weather forecast. Wind speeds must be under 10 mph and blowing away from sensitive areas or features near the field being sprayed.
  3. Use the right spray tips/nozzles. Read and follow the guidelines for the specific products being applied; don't assume to know/remember what is required.
  4. Use a drift control adjuvant. There are several reliable options (see article below for two recommendations). For RR 2 Xtend crops, be sure to use an approved adjuvant.*
  5. Maintain the proper boom height, application speed, and pressure to keep the spray droplets on target.
  6. Beware of temperature inversions. A temperature inversion occurs "when warm air, which is light, rises upward into the atmosphere, and cool air, which is heavy, settles near the ground. When warm air hangs above cool air, the two won't mix . . . [with] a dicamba application (some other pesticides are also affected), spray droplets are unlikely to disperse. Instead, they'll stay bunched in a concentrated mass, and even slight airflow could move them off-target." (Source: Farm Journal's Ag Pro)

By following these steps, Johnson said, "you should be good to go," to manage drift and guard against liability issues. Contact your Federated Agronomist with questions or concerns.

*For Round-Up Ready 2 Xtend crops, the approved list of adjuvants to manage drift is updated regularly. The lists, along with application requirements, are listed on the MonsantoDuPont, and BASF websites. Growers/applicators are required by law to access the supplemental product labels within seven days of using the dicamba products. As always, call your Federated Agronomist with questions.