It’s time again for work to crank up in the orchards and vineyards. The WA State Department of Ag and the State Department of Health are urging caution this year after last spring saw an unusually high number of pesticide drift cases. Wayne Clifford at the Department of Health explains why the higher reports last year.
CLIFFORD: There was an early bloom and there was an awful lot of applications going on to predominately blossom thinning and there was some other pest control going on but we had a real early spike in the number of drift events and and the number of people affected by them.
Of course this year we are seeing even earlier crop development so that will mean more spraying earlier.
CLIFFORD: What the Department of Health is asking the industry and the farm owners and operators and the applicators to do is to be just a little bit more careful about making sure that people are out of the way when they’re applying and maybe that might mean notifying the neighboring farm that you’re going to be applying across the road.
Anyone preparing to spray need to follow the label, wear proper protective gear, be aware of buffers and effects on other crops, be aware of sensitive areas such as schools, homes, occupied buildings and public roadways as well as alert neighboring farms, homes, etc. In addition it’s important to properly calibrate equipment, constantly evaluate environmental factors like wind speed and direction and be prepared to immediately stop applications as conditions warrant.
That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.