Guest Post: How to Protect Your Farm from Pesticide Drift
Pesticide drift is a concern for many farmers today. Whether you’re organic, growing non-GMO or have a specialty crop that’s susceptible to certain chemicals, drift can cause a lot of damage.
How does drift happen?
Drift is when a chemical — usually an herbicide — unintentionally moves from where it was applied to another field.
Particle drift is the one we often think of, which is when droplets or dust travel during application. But vapor drift can also occur after application.
Conditions like high winds or hot weather are often the cause of drift. And some chemicals like dicamba are more susceptible to moving.
You can’t control how other farmers or applicators handle their pesticide applications.
But with a few preventive steps, you can reduce the odds of drift wreaking havoc on your farm.
4 steps to prevent drift
Communicate with neighbors and applicators
The best way to prevent drift is to talk to your neighboring farmers early on. Most farmers want to be good neighbors.
A courteous heads up can go a long way in ensuring they take extra precautions to avoid drift.
You may even want to work together on your rotation plans, so you don’t have a susceptible crop next to a field where the odds of drift are higher.
Also consider any other entities like railroads or power companies that may spray near your fields and request a “no-spray” agreement.
Register with DriftWatch
This free website allows growers to communicate with pesticide applicators about their sensitive crops. Applicators can see the fields you’ve labeled on the interactive map and take extra precaution to avoid drift.
If drift does happen, it can also serve as additional documentation that you attempted to make others aware of your fields.
Post signs at field entrances
More a human error issue than drift, but it can happen so it’s worth mentioning: applications to the wrong field.
You can prevent this from happening by buying some “No Spray Zone” signs and place them at field entrances where an applicator can clearly see them.
Maintain a buffer
Don’t plant crops right up to the field’s edge. Instead have a buffer of cover crops or perennials around the perimeter.
That way if drift does happen, it hopefully won’t go beyond the buffer. Have a high contract or really low tolerant crop? Make the buffer a little bigger.
Protect your organic crops
Do you have drift damage on your organic crops? You don’t have to go it alone.
AgriSecure’s team of experienced organic farmers can help you navigate this problem and create a plan that gets you back to organic production as soon as possible.