With the farming season in full swing here (hopefully) soon, pesticides are being used across the county.
With that in mind, I’d like to remind applicators, specialty crop producers, and beekeepers to keep in touch with one another. The best way to avoid conflict is to speak to each other before submitting an application.
A great tool to help with this process is the DriftWatch website, which can be accessed at: https://in.driftwatch.org. The DriftWatch website is a voluntary tool that allows specialty plant producers (usually fruit and vegetable growers) and beekeepers to register their production sites on a map. Pesticide applicators can then check the map prior to application to know these sensitive spots and take the necessary precautions to avoid overspray or drift.
In addition, Driftwatch has some new features that can be helpful, including the availability of FieldCheck and BeeCheck as apps that can be downloaded for mobile use.
They also added Cropcheck which can be used to register row crops in the program. This allows producers of non-dicamba-tolerant soybeans or conventional corn to map their fields.
DriftWatch is a voluntary mapping program created by the Purdue Department of Agriculture and operated by the non-profit FieldWatch Inc. The website is free and visible to the public. However, the tool should only be used by specialty plant producers, pesticide applicators and beekeepers. Applicable producers of specialty crops are those who are considered commercial producers and produce at least half an acre.
Aside from checking DriftWatch and communicating with the neighbors, the most important thing pesticide applicators can do to avoid potential conflict is always to read and follow the directions on the label of the product they are using.
Another great tool to check out is Purdue’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) website at https://bit.ly/3eI8TKR. Access information about corn, soybeans, small grains, and food pests here. The site has an exploration calendar for each crop, letting you know when to look out for a particular pest, what the damage will be like and when treatment is needed.
The purpose of IPM is to consider different control methods before applying chemical control. Examples of these controls would be cultural, biological, and mechanical. Once these options are eliminated, chemical control may be proposed, but not until the pest has reached a level where control is economically beneficial.
An integrated approach to pest control is the best long-term solution for pest control and economic feasibility.
Andrew Westfall is the director of Purdue Extension White County, Ind.