NDA encourages pesticide applicators, specialty crop growers to work together

Nebraska City News-Press

Nebraska’s diverse geography, soil and climate support traditional crops, like corn and soybeans, as well as specialty crops, like fruits and vegetables. Specialty crops can be sensitive to pesticides used on neighboring farms, though, which is why the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) encourages growers and pesticide applicators to work together to protect sensitive commercial specialty crops and pollinators from pesticides. Pesticides include all categories of pest control products such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.

“Nebraska farm and ranch families do what they can to diversify and grow their agriculture businesses,” said NDA Director Steve Wellman. “At NDA we’re working to support traditional and specialty crop producers in Nebraska, encouraging growers and pesticide applicators to communicate with one another throughout the planting and growing season to raise awareness of local specialty crops and beehives.”

DriftWatch and BeeCheck are online mapping services from FieldWatch designed for reporting field locations of commercial specialty crops, organic crops and beehives. Farmers and other pesticide applicators can review the map to see where specialty crops are located. Included in the FieldWatch registry are commercial apiary sites, vineyards, orchards, fruit and vegetable grow sites, nursery and Christmas tree production sites and certified organic and transitional organic crops.

Online mapping services help satisfy requirements concerning restricted use pesticide (RUP) dicamba products. Pesticide applicators planning to use RUP dicamba products are required to complete online training and locate specialty crops in the area before using RUP dicamba products.

In Nebraska, over 1,000 growers have registered a total of 2,170 specialty crop and apiary sites on FieldWatch. Those sites are currently found in 80 of Nebraska’s 93 counties and contain more than 113,000 acres of specialty crops.

NDA monitors the FieldWatch registries for the state. Registration is voluntary, free, easy to use and secure. Pesticide applicators can view maps, sign up for free email alerts and get the free FieldCheck app, or receive direct data feeds or downloads. In addition, applicators registered in FieldCheck can take advantage of another new feature this year – SeedFieldCheck. SeedFieldCheck allows seed companies, in near real-time, the ability to show locations of detasseling operations which helps ag applicators stay in compliance with label directions for worker safety.

Information about FieldCheck, DriftWatch and BeeCheck can be found at https://nda.nebraska.gov/pesticide/fieldwatch.html or by calling Craig Romary, NDA Program Specialist, at 402-471-2351.