Taking Down Spray Drift

Label Language Journeys On

On two different occasions over the past 15 years, EPA has sought to roll out language on spray drift for crop protection labels — with the most recent effort in 2009. But how close is the final rule? It’s still hard to say.

Andrew Moore, executive director of the National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA), reports President Obama has appointed a new administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution, who is still awaiting Senate confirmation — in an election year. “EPA releasing their drift language and other potentially controversial policies new may have the effect of tying up the nomination,” says Moore.

Mike Leggett, senior director environmental policy with CropLife America, has heard that EPA does indeed have a rule drafted, and it is now under Office of General Counsel review.

As with many regulatory processes, the road has been bumpy. “I don’t think EPA would have dreamed it would be 2012, heading into 2013 before they would have this out, but it’s a very contentious issue that people are quite passionate about,” says Leggett.

In fact, the three federal register notices posted in the 2009 effort brought in approximately 30,000 comments that the agency has had to wade through. “EPA has been very good about engaging all the stakeholders in this process,” he says “It’s been a tough, tough issue for them to come up with something that everyone can agree on or at least stomach.”

The ag industry and NGOs each have their own opinions on the language, and they don’t match up, adds Moore.

Unfortunately, the 2009 label rule included a statement “do not apply this product in a manner that results in spray [or dust] drift that could cause an adverse effect to people or any non-target organism or site.” Leggett says many in agriculture have seen this as a no drift standard that would be unworkable for applicators (putting them under undue liability) and would abandon FIFRA’s science-based risks/benefit standard of no unreasonable adverse effect.

Some kind of standard language is much-needed, however, as current manufacturers’ labels are “kind of all over the place when it comes to spray drift,” says Leggett. “Clarity is an overall industry objective.”

Unfortunately, some states have instituted their own strict drift label rules, says Moore. In Wisconsin and North Carolina, for instance, even trace amounts of off-site drift could be considered a violation. The problem will grow with scientific advances in detecting ever smaller amounts of compounds in the environment, even beyond parts per million.

Leggett believes recommendations from EPA’s drift reduction technology program will be rolled out at the same time as label rules. Based on several years of research, they will offer information a variety of drift control approaches, including nozzle choice.

CropLife America has worked with consultant Bob Wolf to develop a set of best management practices that industry members will be able to refer to pesticide labels as well as on the association’s website. “We want to make sure applicators have access to all the information and tools they need to make better choices regarding spray drift,” Leggett emphasizes.

The proposed EPA drift reduction technology program is modeled on similar programs developed in Europe. A novel approach has been adopted north of the border. Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have created an on-line buffer calculator that enables applicators to factor in wind, nozzle choice, boom height, and application conditions to determine what kind of buffer zone is legally required. It is possible that similar tools may be available to growers in the U.S.

Work at USDA-ARS has created an smart phone app that helps aerial applicators determine the droplet size needed in specific conditions (nozzle type, aircraft speed, the pressure at which materials are coming out of the tank, and application angle), adds Moore.

He is encouraged that fully 21% of aerial applicators are now using variable rate application. The technology harnesses GPS that works in conjunction with Geographical Information Systems and infra-red maps to tell the flow control system where to apply lower amounts of spray.

In addition, growing numbers of aerial operators are using the Aircraft-Integrated Meteorological Measurement System (AIMMS) which gathers key meteorological data and works with the aircraft’s GPS to help the pilot align the plane for the most effective, safest application, taking into account wind speed and direction.

Topics: ,

Leave a Reply

State of the Industry Stories

Liquid Fertilizer Storage tanks
State of the IndustryComplex Fertilizer Market Brings Mixed Feelings
January 5, 2016
Declining fertilizer prices and plentiful supplies should be good news for growers facing low crop prices. But they and their Read More
Asmus Farm Supply crop protection products in storage
State of the Industry2016 Crop Protection Outlook: The Guessing Game
January 4, 2016
One would naturally assume that retail sales of crop protection products in a contracted market would themselves be contracted, but Read More
Seed corn bags in storage
Special ReportsThe Outlook For Seed In 2016
January 3, 2016
Among all crop input categories going into 2016, the seed category has as many questions regarding which direction it will Read More
Wilbur-Ellis’ new fertilizer blending facility, located in Mott, ND, was designed by A.J. Sackett & Sons.
State of the IndustryBuying Intentions Survey: Retailers Taking A Prudent Approach In 2016
January 2, 2016
The CropLife® magazine Buying Intentions Survey made its debut last year to gauge current industry trends against the retailer’s plans Read More
Trending Articles
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
Eric SfiligojBiotech Corn Drop More Economics Vs. Consumer Rejection
April 18, 2016
Since their introduction into the agricultural marketplace, biotech crops has steadily grown in acreage in the countries of the world Read More
Crop InputsBayer: 5 Reasons We Disagree With Maryland Neonic Ban
April 12, 2016
We’re disappointed that the Maryland legislature chose not to stand up for sound science and the rights of Maryland’s homeowners Read More
Corn
OpinionChallenging Global Economic Conditions Putting More Heat On U.S. Ag Retailers
April 7, 2016
There it is. That vague, slightly sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach. Things are getting weird out there. Read More
ScoutPro iPad
Precision AgWhat’s Trending In Soil Testing And Scouting
April 6, 2016
Keeping up on soil testing and scouting, especially following unusual weather conditions, can play a role in maximizing yields. Soil Read More
Latest News
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More
Planter in Iowa
EquipmentTop 10 Twitter Pics For #Plant16
April 27, 2016
Despite some wet weather in parts of the Midwest, growers and ag retailers are working feverishly to plant this year’s Read More
HerbicidesHELM AGRO Launches New HELM Sulfentrazone 4F Herbicide
April 26, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new HELM Sulfentrazone 4F herbicide. Classified as a Read More
Valley Irrigation Valley 8000 series on corn
EquipmentValley Irrigation Receives Environmental Stewardship Ho…
April 26, 2016
Valley Irrigation has been recognized as a Groundwater Guardian Green Site by the Groundwater Foundation. The Groundwater Guardian Green Site Read More
Eric SfiligojMissing The Family Ties In Agriculture
April 25, 2016
By its nature, the agriculture market is cyclical. Up and down cycles come and go with a regular pattern. For Read More
HerbicidesHerbicide Resistance In Waterhemp Continues To Grow
April 22, 2016
Twenty-five years ago, waterhemp was virtually unknown to Illinois farmers. Today, the broadleaf weed blankets corn and soybean fields across Read More
ManagementIllinois Leads The Nation In 4R Certified Nutrient Mana…
April 22, 2016
As Illinois agriculture works to educate farmers about minimizing environmental impact and optimizing the use of ag nutrients, Illinois now leads Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Corey Abels To Midwest Sales Te…
April 22, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of Corey Abels as Territory Sales Manager for the Midwest region. In Read More
Soybean Field
HerbicidesHELM AGRO US Unveils New Sheridan 25 WG Herbicide
April 22, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the federal Section 3 registration of its new Sheridan 25 WG herbicide for selective Read More
ManagementCentennial’s Jim Fargo Talks Ag Retail
April 21, 2016
Special guest Jim Fargo discusses challenges facing this CropLife 100 retailer. Read More