Dr. Jason S.T. Deveau, Application Technology Specialist, OMAFRA; Kristen Callow, M.Sc., Weed Management Program Lead – Horticulture, OMAFRA
Pesticide spray drift has become a prominent issue in recent years. Both industry and the farm community take it very seriously, recognizing that even extremely low amounts of spray drift can impact sensitive crops, human habitats or environmentally sensitive areas.
Pesticide drift is the aerial movement and unintentional deposit of pesticide outside the target area. There are two forms of pesticide drift:
Particle drift is the movement of pesticide droplets or solid particles outside the area being treated. Coarser droplets move short distances and fall close to the point of release. Finer particles (i.e. less than 200 microns) can remain suspended on air currents for long periods of time and can be carried far outside of the target area. For example, a 100 micron droplet takes 11 seconds to fall three metres in still air, and will drift more than 20 metres in an 8 km/h wind.
Vapour drift is the movement of pesticide vapours outside the area being treated. Vapour drift is invisible and can have a considerable impact. Vapours are created when spray droplets evaporate both at the time of application and for some time after the spray has dried on plant or soil surfaces. The potential for vapour drift is more a product of the volatility of the active ingredient, the formulation (e.g. esters) and environmental conditions (e.g. hot and dry) than the equipment used.
CropLife Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs have partnered to develop two educational videos on pesticide application best management practices in an effort to educate, and ultimately reduce the incidents of spray drift.
The first video, ‘What is Spray Drift?’, highlights the various causes of spray drift. The second video, ‘Equipment and Methods to Reduce Spray Drift’, focuses on how applicators can modify equipment to reduce spray drift.
The videos describe the newest and best practices in pesticide application using an energetic and fast-paced style geared towards today’s growers and custom applicators. Watch drift happening during night spraying under high powered lights, see air induction nozzles prevent drift on a boom sprayer and learn about how spray particles behave from unique computer-animated segments.
The videos were formally launched in January 2012 and are available to educators, pesticide safety organizations, sprayer manufacturers and retailers, agrichemical companies and agricultural associations. Translated into French, the videos are posted at ontario.ca/spraydrift. In addition to the videos, this web page hosts the most up-to-date resources on pesticide drift.