Protecting Pollinators: In bloom? Mind the Spray Boom.
The original article was written by Melissa Shipman and published by Seed World on June 4, 2019. You can access the full article here.
Small adjustments make a big difference for stewardship.
Springtime crop protection spray applications are often necessary for the success of the nation’s food system but stewardship and safety are always top of mind.
Tom Smith, executive director of the National Pesticide Safety Education Center, says the center’s goal is to support Extension Pesticide Safety Education programs.
“One of the things we do is provide resources and science-based information for educational efforts in each state, and certainly, a large part of that is focused on pollinator safety and stewardship,” Smith says.
The center has worked closely with the Honeybee Health Coalition to amplify its message that labels and best practices for pesticides really do matter.
“The label is the law,” Smith says. “I always say to ‘read it, then read it again and follow it.’”
Farmers and applicators can find information about rates of application, protective equipment that is needed, and precautions to protect other wildlife, whether pollinators or aquatic animals and birds.
Ram Ramalingam, group leader for application technology at Syngenta, is one of the scientists who contributes to the research behind those labels.
“We have a team of chemists, engineers and biologists who look at how products will be handled and applied to ensure minimal waste of the product and maximum protection for the applicator and environment, Ramalingam says.
There is extensive work that goes into ensuring products are safe and effective, and Syngenta scientists take spray drift very seriously.
“One of the ways to alter the potential for drift is to design the nozzle itself to use larger droplet sizes, which reduces the potential for droplets to move off target as they are being applied,” Ramalingam says.