Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Buddy Hance has announced a new online tool under development to protect sensitive crops from unintended herbicide exposure.
Growers of grapes, tomatoes, tobacco, fruit trees, ornamentals and other specialty vegetable crops are encouraged to register their crops and field locations with the Maryland Department of Agriculture to ensure they are included in the database.
“Controlling pesticide drift is an important issue for applicators,” said Secretary Hance. “The innovative Sensitive Crop Locator database will be a valuable tool to help protect sensitive crops from unintended herbicide exposure. We encourage farmers to register their sensitive crops and field locations with MDA to ensure they are included in the voluntary database.”
Crop and field location information will be included in the new voluntary statewide Sensitive Crop Locator database to assist pesticide applicators in identifying locations where sensitive crops are grown in order to take extra precautions for preventing the potential exposure of these crops to spray drift from neighboring fields.
Applicators can search, identify and locate sensitive crops adjacent to areas where they intend to spray pesticides.
The database, developed with Maryland Speciality Crop Block Grant funding, will also offer pesticide applicators access to maps and aerial photographs.
The off target movement of herbicides from the site of application, referred to as drift, may cause injury to desirable plants located in adjacent fields, or property. Spray drift is typically the result of small spray droplets being carried off-site by air movement.
The main weather factors that cause drift are wind, humidity and temperature changes. Drift can injure foliage, shoots, flowers and fruits resulting in reduced yields, economic loss and illegal residues on exposed crops.