Since 2012, BASF has been focused on improving application of its herbicide technologies – both up-and-coming and current. To increase that effort, the company has enlisted the help of Dr. Bob Wolf of Wolf Consulting, to lead regional seminars focused on training producers in proper herbicide application.
The program, called the On-Target Application Academy, will offer four more regional seminars before the end of this year and a feature seminar s each day of the Farm Progress Show in Decatur, Ill. Organizers say the no-cost program addresses key concerns among producers about herbicide drift, application timing and new spraying technologies.
According to BASF, 80% of growers self-apply herbicides to their fields, creating a greater need for advanced and product-specific training.
"The changing weed management landscape is causing growers to employ a drift management plan that includes multiple strategies to ensure proper application," Wolf says.
There are five key recommendations that Wolf says will improve spray efficiency: selecting the correct nozzle, using appropriate pressure, watching application speeds, avoiding adverse weather conditions, and keeping up with technologies.
Some of the recommendations are interrelated. For example, how fast sprayers are driven can increase pressure and increase drift. And nozzles, also a key part of the whole equation, are often overlooked because of their small size and generally smaller cost.
"It's an inexpensive part, but it's critical," Wolf said, noting that nozzles can be a big player in minimizing spray drift. Choosing the right nozzle can mean proper protection.
Wolf said another key to keeping up with herbicide application education is understanding new spraying and herbicide technologies, especially as younger producers hit the scene.
Wolf emphasized that even though operators are learning more about how to apply herbicides, new technologies may require even better attention to sprayer cleanout.
"Sprayer cleanout is going to be a bigger challenge than we expect it to be as we move forward with new technology," Wolf notes, explaining that applicators should pay special attention to filters and screens.
Last but not least, Wolf says the operator is an important piece of the puzzle, as reading and understanding labels and driving at appropriate speeds lie in the hands of a human.
"The label is the law – and if (producers) don't follow that label there will be consequences," he said.
Producers interested in attending one of the remaining 2013 seminars, to be held in Texas, Kansas, and Mississippi, can click here.