Keep pesticide drift at bay

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

As a result of two years of aggressive training to improve on-target agricultural pesticide applications, the number of pesticide drift complaints received by University of Georgia Cooperative Extension has gone down 65 percent, according to UGA Extension weed specialist Stanley Culpepper.

“No grower wants (their pesticides to) drift. I’ve said it a million times. The best way for Extension to help our growers eliminate drift is by providing them the latest research data on tactics and approaches they can implement to help them achieve their goal,” Culpepper said. Continue reading

Education is vital to protect weed management toolbox

In Southeast Farm Press

by John Hart, Southeast Farm Press

Education over regulation is vital for developing and maintaining a sustainable tool box to manage weeds, said Stanley Culpepper, returning to Williams Hall on the campus of his alma mater, North Carolina State University.

“We as weed scientists need to be much more aggressive with education over regulation,” Culpepper said in his Williams Hall lecture to students, faculty and others. “The EPA does not educate; they regulate. But we can use education if we’re creative to prevent regulations. This will be critical to long-term sustainability in keeping the tool box that we have intact.” Continue reading

UGA’s Culpepper to receive prestigious award

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

World-renowned researcher Stanley Culpepper, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension weed scientist on the UGA Tifton Campus, will receive the 2016 regional Excellence in Extension Award from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

Culpepper is this year’s Southern Region recipient – he’s one of five national recipients of the award – and will be recognized at the 129th APLU meeting in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 13. Continue reading

Time of day affects herbicide effectiveness, study shows

In Southeast Farm Press

What if a cotton producer needed to spray early in the morning or late in the afternoon or at night? Does the time of day a herbicide is applied make a difference in how well it works? A group of weed specialists studied this and what they found surprised them.

The group included scientists from the University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Continue reading

Complaints of off-target movement of chemical applications decrease in 2015

by Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Complaints over off-target movement of chemical applications went down 48 percent from 2014 to 2015, but Georgia farmers must better understand the factors that influence drift, according to University of Georgia weed scientist Stanley Culpepper.

Culpepper, a world-renowned researcher based on the UGA campus in Tifton, Georgia, attributes the reduction in pesticide drift complaints to slower wind speeds combined with an educational initiative by UGA Cooperative Extension and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Continue reading

Managing herbicide drift is the law

From Southeast Farm Press

Keeping herbicides from drifting off target is the law and “it’s the neighborly thing to do,” says a University of Georgia weed specialist.

“If you look at our agriculture community, it’s family living next to family. If herbicide drifts onto another grower’s field, the impact from that drift could be significant. It could reduce the bottom line, damage the crop,” said UGA Extension weed agronomist Stanley Culpepper. “We need to manage drift, obviously, to be good neighbors, but essentially it’s the law.”

Culpepper implores farmers and pesticide applicators to exercise ‘common sense,’ when applying their chemical treatments. This task involves managing a lot of factors.

“Wind speed, spray pressure, sprayer speed, height of the boom above the target, herbicide product and formulation, and adjuvants must all be considered when developing a plan to avoid off-target herbicide movement,” Culpepper said.

Off-target movement comes from spray droplet drift or vapor drift. Droplet drift is a result of spray emerging from a spray nozzle and breaking into droplets of varying sizes; large droplets fall more quickly to the ground while smaller droplets remain in the air for a longer period of time and are more likely to move off-site.

Culpepper says growers have numerous options to help reduce spray droplet drift.

Using nozzles and spray pressures that produce the maximum size spray droplets for the selected herbicide is one part of the drift control program. But Culpepper stresses farmers should do their homework as some herbicides are not effective when spray droplets become too large.

Vapor drift usually occurs with high volatile compounds when the herbicide contacts the target (plant/soil) as planned, but later lifts back into the air as a result of very specific environmental conditions.

Growers can limit drift by reducing the boom height to the lowest point that allows adequate spray coverage without boom destruction. Two-foot above the weedy target would be ideal when feasible, Culpepper said. Drift control agents, following herbicide label recommendations, can also be an effective part of a drift control plan.

The greatest method to reduce drift is common sense. Do not apply a product in winds that move the herbicide from the target area, he said. Most herbicides should be applied when wind speeds are between 3 and 10 mph, but even at these speeds care must be taken to avoid spray movement into sensitive areas.

Growers can also reduce the potential for herbicide volatility by avoiding product formulations that are highly volatility. For example, 2,4-D esters are much more likely to produce damaging vapors compared to 2,4-D amines, Culpepper said.

As farmers adopt new technologies, off-target movement should be rapidly reduced, he said. “As these tools and methods become available, grower adoption will occur as managing off-target movement is critical for our agricultural communities as farmers strive to be good neighbors and true environmentalists,” Culpepper said.

Real time wind speed data is available through UGA’s Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.

Know your pigweed species or pay the price

From Southeast Farm Press

Palmer pigweed has a big reputation and most of it gained by being a royal pain in the backside for row crop growers from the Florida Panhandle to the Upper Neck of Virginia.

Continue reading