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
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
Redbanded-stinkbug-on-soybean-Photo-credit-Thomas-County-Ag
Crop InputsExperts: Mild Winter, Early Planting Will Increase Soybean Insect Threat
June 12, 2017
Higher than average temperatures this past winter affected much of the nation, especially the South and Midwest. The National Centers Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto ‘Picks Its Battles’ by Nixing Deere Deal
May 23, 2017
Having been in the trade journalism game since the mid-1980s, I remember several watershed moments during my career. One of Read More
Migrant farm workers
LegislationTrump: Immigration Crackdown Won’t Impact U.S. Agriculture
May 16, 2017
President Donald Trump said he would seek to keep his tough immigration enforcement policies from harming the U.S. farm industry Read More
AGCO Ratliff featured
Eric SfiligojRemembering Robert Ratliff
May 15, 2017
With all the fast-paced happenings in agriculture this spring, with multiple mergers in the works and planting season in full Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentSpray Application: A Nozzle Renaissance
May 2, 2017
If you had asked four-decade ag veteran Mark Bartel, President of Wilger Inc., just a few years ago what lay Read More
Latest News
Crop InputsArkansas Plant Board Votes to Ban Dicamba — Now W…
June 23, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has voted to pass a proposed emergency rule to ban the use of in-crop dicamba, Read More
Engenia soybeans
Crop InputsBASF: ‘Closely Monitoring’ Dicamba Situatio…
June 22, 2017
BASF, whose Engenia herbicide is the target of more than 200 drift complaints in Arkansas, emailed the following statement to Read More
ManagementConsolidation Update
June 22, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss progress on manufacturer consolidation, and another big move for Midwest cooperative Central Valley Read More
Palmer pigweed seedhead in cotton
Crop InputsThreat of Dicamba Ban Looms in Arkansas
June 22, 2017
The Arkansas State Plant Board has rejected a proposed ban on the use of dicamba herbicide, but a procedural error Read More
Potash Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium-PotashCorp to become Nutrien upon Merger Complet…
June 21, 2017
Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. and Agrium Inc. have announced today that once the anticipated merger transaction closes, the new Read More
Crop InputsMidwestern BioAg Hosts TerraNu Fertilizer Plant Opening…
June 20, 2017
Last Friday, Midwestern BioAg was joined by over 80 local farmers, media and staff to celebrate the grand opening of Read More
Soybean Field
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New President
June 19, 2017
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Mary Tolke to the position of President/CEO, effective July 1. Read More
ManagementPlotting Corn, AGCO/Asmark’s Applicator Training Center…
June 15, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about their recent visits to Columbus, OH, and Bloomington, IL, along with an Read More
Seed/BiotechDow AgroSciences Announces Launch of Enlist Corn for 20…
June 14, 2017
Enlist corn will be commercially available in the U.S. for the 2018 growing season. Dow AgroSciences announced the launch today Read More
ASMARK AGCO Applicator Training Center
EmployeesAsmark, AGCO Open Training Center for Beginning Applica…
June 13, 2017
AGCO Corp. and the Asmark Institute have opened a new Applicator Training Center, created in a collaboration between the two Read More
Power to Do More Contest Winners
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Three Winners in Power to Do…
June 13, 2017
Thousands of votes have been cast and three farmers have been awarded the power to do more with a $10,000 Read More
Frogeye leaf spot
FungicidesStrobilurin-resistant Frogeye Leaf Spot Threat Looms wi…
June 13, 2017
Heavy spring rainfall throughout the South and Midwest delayed planting and created the perfect environment for diseases like frogeye leaf Read More
PrecisionAg Vision Conference
Precision AgPrecisionAg® Vision Conference: Focused on the Future
June 13, 2017
PrecisionAg® is pleased to announce the return of its PrecisionAg Vision Conference, October 10-12, 2017. Based on overwhelmingly positive response Read More
CHS St. Paul, MN fertilizer terminal
LegislationICGA Praises President Trump’s Remarks on Waterwa…
June 12, 2017
Illinois Corn Growers Association President Justin Durdan, a farmer from Utica, issued the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s comments Read More
Wheat Growers
UncategorizedWheat Growers Names Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice Presiden…
June 12, 2017
Wheat Growers has hired Tracy Linbo as Senior Vice President of Agronomy. Linbo joins Wheat Growers after having served 10 Read More
EquipmentAgTech Summit Aiming High for Modern Farming Solutions
June 12, 2017
THRIVE AgTech, in partnership with SVG Partners and Forbes, is hosting the third annual Forbes AgTech Summit June 28-29 in Read More
Central Valley Ag Randolph, NE
Precision AgLand O’Lakes Invests in EFC Systems
June 12, 2017
Land O’Lakes, Inc. has made a minority equity investment in EFC Systems, Inc., an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and precision Read More
BRANDT
Crop InputsBRANDT Products Approved for Use with New Cropping Syst…
June 12, 2017
BRANDT, a leading manufacturer of specialty products for the agriculture and turf markets, has announced that 11 BRANDT formulations have Read More