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
Aerial ApplicationThe Role Of Aerial Application
September 1, 2012
CropLife Contributing Editor Lisa Heacox examines the explosive growth in aerial application in recent years. Read More
Aerial ApplicationA Snapshot Of Aerial Application
September 1, 2012
To understand how aerial application is viewed by the marketplace, CropLife conducted a survey of its readers, which produced some interesting results. Read More
Aerial ApplicationDecision Time: Buy The Planes Or Partner With Pilots
September 1, 2012
In light of the many demands of owning and operating planes, most ag retailers advocate contracting with a local aerial business for aerial application services. Read More
Trending Articles
Iowa waterways
Stewardship2,600 Iowa Farmers Commit $8.7 Million to Water Quality Practices
August 9, 2017
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Tuesday that a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100Cause of Gar Tootelian Fire Under Investigation
August 7, 2017
Over one hundred firefighters and equipment responded to a four-alarm shop fire at the Gar Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) facility in Read More
Rob Versprille
ManagementCeres Solutions, North Central Co-op Merger to Bring New Opportunities for Indiana, Michigan Farmers
August 1, 2017
More than 40,000 customers and almost 9,000 Indiana and Michigan farmers will begin doing business with the new Ceres Solutions Read More
CPS-Norwood-and-Dupont-reps
Eric SfiligojA Message to Ag Retailers: Do Tell Your Good Stories
July 26, 2017
As the daughter of a peanut farmer, Krysta Harden, Chief Sustainability Officer for DuPont Crop Protection, understands the importance ag Read More
Tim Hassinger Dow AgroSciences President and CEO
Crop InputsDow’s Tim Hassinger Named President, CEO of Lindsay Corp.
July 24, 2017
Lindsay Corp. has  announced the appointment of Timothy Hassinger as president and CEO and a member of its board of Read More
Stewardship‘Gonna Fly Now’ with Environmental Respect
July 20, 2017
One of the most memorable moments in movie history occurred in the Academy Award-winning 1976 film “Rocky.” Haven gotten his Read More
Latest News
RoGator RG1300B AGCO
EquipmentAGCO Opens Nominations for 12th Annual Operator of the …
August 18, 2017
AGCO Corp. has announced the opening of nominations for AGCO Application Equipment’s 12th Annual Operator of the Year. The award Read More
ManagementTravels, Mergers, and CropLife 100 Updates
August 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss recent trips they’ve taken, the latest news on market consolidation, and the 2017 Read More
Corn Seed
Seed/BiotechSeed Innovations Benefit All of the Seed Industry
August 17, 2017
Innovations from throughout the seed industry help address many of the economic, environmental and health issues we face as a Read More
SpreadersGVM to Introduce New Prowler at MAGIE
August 17, 2017
The newest Prowler in GVM’s line-up will be introduced next week at the Midwest Ag Industries Expo (MAGIE), August 23 Read More
AcreEdge bag
Seed/BiotechLandus Cooperative’s AcreEdge Seed Brand Gears Up for 2…
August 17, 2017
Growers in more than 26 Iowa and Minnesota counties are seeing field signs with a new brand name at end Read More
Engenia soybeans
ManagementCorn and Soybean Yield Forecasts Larger than Expected
August 17, 2017
The USDA’s August Crop Production report contained larger-than-expected forecasts for the 2017 U.S. corn and soybean crops. At 169.5 bushels Read More
ManagementU.S. Ag Secretary Introduces SCORE
August 17, 2017
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue signed a new agreement to support new and beginning farmers. On August 5, Perdue joined Read More
CHS-FFA-Minnesota
CropLife 100CHS and FFA: A Homerun Partnership
August 17, 2017
CHS hosted the Minnesota FFA for its annual FFA night at CHS Field. FFA students, educators and CHS leadership enjoyed Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100Gar Tootelian Foundation Donates Half Million Dollars t…
August 16, 2017
Students at Immanuel Elementary are looking forward to the first day of school for two reasons this year. One, they Read More
Water Drainage
StewardshipNew System Could Remove Two Water Pollutants from Ag Fi…
August 14, 2017
Algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico use up the majority of the oxygen in the water, leading to massive Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Top 10 Crop Protection Companies, Post-Mega Mergers
August 14, 2017
Everyone loves a good Top 10 list. In fact, some prominent celebrities such as David Letterman spent much of their Read More
ManagementThe DuPont-Granular Deal, Dicamba Update, and Upcoming …
August 11, 2017
Matthew Grassi joins Paul Schrimpf for the second week in a row to talk about DuPont’s acquisition of Granular, as Read More
Soybeans weeds
HerbicidesOngoing Evaluation Key to Controlling Weeds, Improving …
August 10, 2017
As the sun bears down on record U.S. soybean acres this August, farmers keep their eyes on their fields to Read More
Young Corn Plants
Seed/BiotechMycogen Seeds Offers Novel Product to Battle Pythium, O…
August 10, 2017
After a season plagued by seedling diseases caused by cool, wet soils at planting, farmers have a new option to Read More
Corn Field
FertilizerProtect Applied Manure Straight From the Manure Pit to …
August 10, 2017
Farmers who use liquid manure to fertilize corn crops can now mix Instinct nitrogen stabilizer in their pit for easy Read More
Iowa waterways
Stewardship2,600 Iowa Farmers Commit $8.7 Million to Water Quality…
August 9, 2017
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey announced Tuesday that a record number of Iowa farmers signed up to install nutrient Read More
Natives-First-Purple_Prairie_Clover
Seed/BiotechLa Crosse Seed Continues Focus on Soil and Water Conser…
August 9, 2017
La Crosse Seed is doing its part to lead communication to ag retailers across the country on the importance of Read More
HerbicidesAg Secretary Perdue Comments on Dicamba Issue
August 9, 2017
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated to reporters this week that he would like to see the industry work out a Read More