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
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
Farmer on tablet
CropLife 100Southern States Co-op: An Inside Look At Our Aerial Imagery Program
February 8, 2015
Now is as good a time as any to explore the basics of what a retail aerial imagery program looks like today. Read More
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Inks Satellite Imagery Agreement
February 3, 2015
Wilbur-Ellis Company has reached an agreement with Planet Labs to bring satellite imagery to the AgVerdict software platform. Read More
Latest News
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
Management2,4-D Celebrates 70 Years; GROWMARK Uses Super Bowl Ad …
February 27, 2015
Jim Gray, executive director of the 2,4-D Research Task Force, lays out planned activities to mark the chemistry’s 70th anniversary. Read More
HerbicidesUniversity Of Arkansas Flag The Technology Program Adds…
February 27, 2015
Started in 2010, the Flag the Technology program provides a visual reference for applicators to distinguish between fields planted with different herbicide-tolerant trait technologies. Read More
Luckey Farmers, Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center
Industry NewsLuckey Farmers’ Berkey Branch Certified In 4R Nut…
February 26, 2015
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced Luckey Farmers Inc.’s Berkey Farm Center in northwest Ohio has been added to its growing list of nutrient service providers to achieve certified status. Read More
Crop InputsWinField Unveiling NutriVision Technology, Ascend Dry F…
February 24, 2015
New for 2015 are NutriVision Technology, a unique tool for monitoring in-season plant nutrient availability, and Ascend WSG plant growth regulator, a new dry formulation of Ascend plant growth regulator. Read More
FertilizerNew Formulation Of NutriSphere-N Protects High Volume U…
February 24, 2015
Verdesian Life Sciences is launching NutriSphere-N HVTM, a new polymer formulation of the proven NutriSphere-N Nitrogen Fertilizer Manager that protects high-volume applications of UAN. Read More
EquipmentIowa Ag Secretary Northey Names Hagie Water Quality Lea…
February 24, 2015
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has named Hagie Mfg. as a recipient of the Secretary’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI) Leader Award. Read More
FungicidesEvito Fungicide Gives Canadian Wheat Growers New Diseas…
February 24, 2015
EVITO fungicide from Arysta LifeScience North America gives Canadian wheat and barley growers a new option for disease control. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Commodity Classic Turns 20
February 23, 2015
Two decades in, this annual gathering of all things agriculture has become a must-see event. 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
ManagementCropLife Retail Week: On The Road Edition
February 20, 2015
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent trips to the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville and the Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Acquires FLM+ Assets
February 19, 2015
FLM+ will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O'Lakes, Inc., and the company will retain its employee base after closing of the deal, which is scheduled for the second quarter of the year. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnited Suppliers, Stine Seed Form Marketing Alliance
February 19, 2015
The new alliance will greatly expand sales opportunities for Stine Seed with the United Supplier Seed Link Owners. Read More
Crop InputsVilsack To Deliver Commodity Classic Keynote Address
February 19, 2015
The secretary will deliver a keynote address to several thousand farmers and ag allies during the event's General Session, to be held Friday, February 27, in Phoenix, AZ. Read More
Crop InputsSoybean Storage Tips
February 19, 2015
On-farm storage of soybeans requires some special considerations compared to corn. Read More
Monsanto Sign
Crop InputsBioAg Alliance Delivers Promising Field Trial Results
February 19, 2015
In its first full year of field trials, the BioAg Alliance reported that the top 10 microbial strains tested in corn and soybeans showed very promising results. Read More
National Farm Machinery Show overview
EquipmentNational Farm Machinery Show Attendance Up By 16K
February 18, 2015
The 2015 event saw the second highest attendance total of all time as 310,589 attendees that included exhibitors and agribusiness professionals traveled to the Kentucky Exposition Center to participate in the nation’s largest indoor ag trade show. Read More