Aerial Applicators Can Join Resistance Fight

Aerial application nozzles at work.
As resistance to valuable crop protection tools continues to emerge, industry stakeholders are rallying to find ways to combat the problem. Aerial applicators can indeed lend a hand.

Our crop protection company and extension contacts said growers should start with a systems approach that includes crop rotation, tillage, variety choice, varied modes of action, local risk evaluation and the like – then understand what aerial can bring to the table. What it can deliver primarily, they say, is prompt, accurate, and efficient control of pests that greatly reduces the development of resistance. If you kill the pest, it can’t become resistant.

Just the physics of aerial application favor a complete kill because products very effectively reach intended targets, says Dr. Gary Fellows, tech service, fungicide, and seed treatment manager with BASF Corp. He explains that aerial applicators get a very good mixing of spray within the canopy because of the air buffer created under the wing. Turbulence there forces spray downward. In fact, Fellows says BASF has done coverage trials that show “very, very good coverage down deep” even into a tight canopy such as in narrow row soybeans.

Timeliness of application is another benefit aerial brings. Growers want to hit pests at the right development stage, for instance, when weeds are short and easier to control instead of when they’re large. With planes, applicators can go in fields any time, especially when pests are vulnerable, says Dr. Scott Bretthauer, pesticide safety extension specialist with the University of Illinois. They don’t have to wait for soil to dry, as in cases where wet conditions may prohibit a ground rig.

“And in cases where Mother Nature will not submit to ground application, aerial provides a mechanism to use the proper tools to combat already resistant insects and weeds,” notes Jim Loar, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Wilbur-Ellis Co.

Like ground operators, aerial applicators are now tuned in to precision ag techniques to enhance pest control, says Andrew Moore, executive director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association. He notes that grower data (soil testing, crop scouting, and yield monitoring) is combined with GPS, satellite and aerial imagery, and variable rate technology to achieve effective pesticide applications. In fact, according to NAAA’s survey, 21% of its members are using VRT.

Simple wise stewardship of products is vital. Mike Carrell, branch manager at Ceres LLP, Wingate, IN, says his company makes it a policy not “to just blanket apply” corn fungicides on every acre. His aerial contractors treat fields that have the potential or already have the fungus present – those planted to corn after corn or that have a history of disease in the past.

Resistance And Drift

Bretthauer has found that some in the agricultural community “have a deathly fear” of aerial application due to a great concern about increased drift risk. Part of the issue here is that drift can cause unintended lower rates of product that won’t completely kill pests, again, encouraging resistance.

“Reality is drift is primarily a function of droplet size, wind speed, and wind direction,” Bretthauer says. “We can set aircraft to have just as large of droplets as with a ground rig.” And he explains that in order to prevent drift, airplanes often don’t spray a whole field at once – they spray it in sections based on wind direction, returning at different times during the day to cover sites completely, traveling 150-160 mph. Ground rigs often don’t have the time to take this approach.

Then too, smokers are a tool unique to aerial to help gauge danger from drift. Paraffin wax is simply released onto the plane’s exhaust manifold and burns off to create white streams that clearly indicate wind direction, speed, and vertical mixing.

There is a tremendous need for the retailer/aerial applicator/agronomist to play a role as a trusted advisor to growers in resistance management, concludes Wilbur-Ellis’ Loar. Education and communication among the stakeholders will be essential.

Leave a Reply

Aerial Application Stories
Aerial ApplicationAerial Application Special Report – Sponsored by Air Tractor
September 1, 2012
As the 2012 season winds down in the United States, the trend I’ve seen in previous years continues...more and more growers are choosing aerial application to control diseases and pests. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
corn field
CropLife 100The Andersons’ Humic DG Now Available In Canada
February 13, 2015
The Andersons, Inc. Turf & Specialty Group has announced its Humic DG product is now available to customers in the Canadian turf, agriculture and horticulture markets. Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsCommodity Classic 2015 Sets Attendance High Mark
March 4, 2015
With nearly 8,000 total attendees, the 2015 Commodity Classic convention and trade show, which took place last week in Phoenix, AZ, shattered previous records for the landmark event, Read More
Young corn plants
FertilizerNew Nitrogen Stabilizer From Simplot Protects Fertilize…
March 4, 2015
By using OmniPierce Technology, Eclipse-N from Simplot Grower Solutions coats and protects more nitrogen, increasing nitrogen efficiency and decreasing loss due to volatilization. Read More
Industry NewsOhio Corn And Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean A…
March 4, 2015
The associations truly appreciate the comprehensive approach and diligent work that the Ohio House of Representatives has dedicated to addressing water quality and House Bill 61. Read More
Mahindra Implement
Industry NewsMahindra USA Aligns With Paladin Attachment For Impleme…
March 4, 2015
Mahindra USA will begin utilizing Paladin Attachments as its implement supplier in April 2015. Read More
Crop InputsValent BioSciences Acquires Mycorrhizal Applications
March 4, 2015
The acquisition adds another strategic platform to VBC’s rapidly expanding global biorational business, providing additional tools for the Biorational Window platform being developed with its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. Read More
Nutrients for Life Foundation - Plant Nutrient on the Farm Station
Industry NewsNutrients For Life Foundation Launches New Station Prog…
March 4, 2015
This ready-to-implement station provides an interactive opportunity for farms to showcase crop nutrients’ important role in growing healthy crops. Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsAdjuvants Continue Upward Trend
March 4, 2015
A dizzying array of developments in crop protection technologies promise to make specialty adjuvants a crucial piece of the puzzle going forward. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Me…
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
10 Tips for Spring Planter Preparation
Equipment10 Tips For Spring Planter Preparation
March 3, 2015
Kinze Manufacturing offers advice on how to ensure your planter is ready before you hit the field. Read More
Industry NewsOABA 2015 LAUNCH Program Recognizes 20 New Graduates
March 3, 2015
Twenty Ohio agribusiness leaders are being recognized as the latest graduates of Ohio AgriBusiness Association’s LAUNCH program. Read More
EquipmentNew AGCO Website Helps Customers Shop For Certified Pre…
March 3, 2015
RoGator sprayers are among the wide range of CPO equipment available through AGCO's site. Read More
Enlist spray Demo
HerbicidesGuiding New Herbicide Systems’ Launches
March 3, 2015
Under careful watch, the new 2,4-D- and dicamba-tolerant crops hit more acres this season. Read More
Eric SfiligojCommodity Classic 2015: Playing The Waiting Game
March 2, 2015
There was plenty of future-talk at this year’s event as companies (and growers) are largely in a holding pattern of sorts. Read More
Industry NewsHighway Equipment Appoints New Director Of Business Dev…
March 2, 2015
Cory Venable, who joined Highway Equipment Company (HECO) in 2013 as OEM Account Manager, has been promoted to Director of Business Development. Read More
Prairieland FS employees
Eric SfiligojWorkforce Worries
March 2, 2015
Finding good employees almost always ranks as the No. 1 or No. 2 problem for ag retailers in our annual CropLife 100 survey. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location I…
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More