EQUIPMENT AND METHODS TO REDUCE PESTICIDE DRIFT

Farms aren't as isolated as they used to be.
More and more, their neighbours can be people's homes, natural habitats or other farms with sensitive crops.
Farmers have to be good neighbours and responsible environmental stewards doing everything possible to reduce pesticide drift.
One of the easiest ways to prevent a drift issue is through communication with neighbours. Give them a call, post spray records where interested parties can see them, and work with each other to come to a mutually acceptable agreement.
Greenhouses might close vents, residential windows can be closed, and
neighbouring growers can better plan their spray programs and activities.

What's around you when you spray? Under certain conditions, small pesticide droplets can drift over large distances.
Whether you are spraying, or you use custom applicators, consider creating an awareness map that shows the location of anything that might be negatively affected by drift.
That's anything from foraging bees and open water to residential areas or other farming operations.
Make sure the person spraying knows where these areas are and can plan accordingly.
Perhaps the easiest drift-reducing modification is changing nozzles. There are lots of choices, but they're not created equal.
This graph shows the drift potential expressed as a percentage of the drift from an extended range flat fan nozzle.
This sprayer will produce fine droplets under high-powered lights to show you what you can't see during the day.
Air induction nozzles have already been widely adopted on boom sprayers. Here's the same sprayer from before, applying a similar rate, but using low-drift air induction nozzles.
Air induction nozzles don't eliminate drift, or permit applicators to spray in poor conditions, but as you can see they reduce drift significantly.
Whether airblast or field sprayer, nozzles should be as close to the target as possible while still within the nozzle manufacturer's guidelines.
The further the droplet has to travel to the target, the higher potential there is for evaporation loss. Droplets are also slowed, resulting in the potential of off target drift. In addition to nozzle choices, modifications can be made to sprayers to keep spray on target.

Some modifications include shrouds or deflectors, air-assist sleeves and spray towers, to name a few. Each has benefits and drawbacks. Consider your application equipment and talk to both retailers and growers that have had prior experience, allowing you to decide what's right for your situation.
Spraying in ideal conditions isn't always possible, but sprayer adjustments can extend the window a little, and it's important to know when you can safely spray and when you shouldn't spray.
Using handheld weather devices, consulting local forecasts and checking wind socks can tell you a lot. If the predominant wind is blowing in the direction of a nearby sensitive habitat, if it's too hot or dry, or if there's the possibility of a temperature inversion, don't spray.
Be aware of the weather and how it changes throughout the spray day. Remember, drift can happen long after you're done spraying.
Cultural practices can also help reduce the impact of drift. Hedgerows like this are essentially spray filters.
Other practices include observing buffer, or no-spray zones, which are listed on the product label and can often be reduced using Health Canada's web based drift calculator.
Crop separation planting and even the relocation of nearby sensitive areas are sometimes feasible.
No amount of drift-reducing equipment will prevent drift entirely. Understanding what causes drift and making educated spray decisions can greatly reduce off -target drift.

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