Farmers put themselves and their operations at risk every time they spray a field without first measuring and then documenting the conditions. As regulations surrounding drift management get tighter and widespread attention continues to increase, it's important to protect your interests, profits, and the community around you by monitoring for safe and effective spraying conditions. Record keeping has never been more important with the new tighter restrictions for applying crop protection products, particularly dicamba.
The Kestrel Agriculture line of Environmental Monitoring Meters provide critical onsite measurements such as wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and more advanced automatic calculations such as Delta T. Delta T is one of the standard indicators for acceptable spray conditions. The Kestrel 5500 Agriculture Weather Meter provides complete measurement capabilities for compliance and drift management. Dicamba applicators and trainers rely on the accuracy, durability and ruggedness of this tool for onsite environmental condition monitoring and recordkeeping in the field or on the farm. Data logging and wireless transfer capabilities make documenting conditions easy - and can help to serve as detailed records for potential lawsuits.
Crop protection products that contain dicamba can only be applied when wind speed, measured at boom height, is between three and 10 mph and not during a temperature inversion. The maximum wind speed allowance is now below 10 miles per hour (down from 15 miles per hour) to reduce potential spray drift.
It's important to measure wind speed at the height of sprayer booms and not rely on readings from the local airport which could be dozens of miles away. The data from remote weather stations do not accurately reflect the conditions at your specific site. Field measurements are critical to maintaining safety and compliance with label restrictions.
"If you ever face any litigation, they will go to nearest airport and get wind speed there," [if no other record exists] "Airfields are typically flat, so the wind speeds are higher there and they're taken at heights much greater than the boom height of your sprayer. It's not unusual to find that the wind speed 20 inches above your crop canopy is 2 to 3 mph slower than a nearby airport's reading."
-Dr. Bob Beck, Regional Agronomist at Land O'Lakes
Experts urge applicators to take measurements at the field location and make decisions from accurate, onsite information. Andrew Thostenson, Pesticide Program Specialist for North Dakota State University Extension Service provides examples of why onsite field assessments are much more reliable than phone apps, remote sensors, or NWS data.
"Weather stations are never a substitute for observation," he said. "(Pesticide) labels are specific about where to take readings and even in particular locations in a field."
-Andrew Thostenson, Pesticide Specialist for NDSU Extension Service
"Do not rely on an app to make your application decision. I can't emphasize this enough. Why would you make an assessment off a phone that's using interpretative data from multiple tower locations, and it may not be at all what it’s like in that field?"
Portable, durable, waterproof, affordable, easy-to-use and equipped with on-unit data logging and wireless data transfer for monitoring and reporting, the Kestrel 5500AG is your trusted weather tool for onsite field assessments and many other farming microclimate monitoring needs.