Beyond the Requirements: Smart Items That Should Be Recorded
There are significant differences between USDA and EPA recordkeeping requirements. Also many states have additional recordkeeping items. Following is a list of items recommended for you to record for each and every application; some states may already require some of them. Recording these details may prove invaluable in defending your proper application. Without accurate, thorough records, you end up relying on neighbors' records which can, at times, be significantly different from the condition under which you made the application.
Smart Pesticide Application Records
Air temperature during the application, taken in the area of the application: Record the temperature in Fahrenheit. Take readings several times during the application and note the time of these recordings. Some labels have restrictions on air temperatures. Take readings in the application area. Do not rely on weather stations that are not directly associated with the field. For roadside applications, take a reading close to the pavement, and not at chest height.
Cloud conditions: Make note of sun, partial sun or clouds. Climatic conditions directly influence pesticide efficacy.
Crop variety: If you plant a new crop variety, it may be good to record this change since different sensitivities to chemicals and pests are known to occur between varieties.
Name of person for whom the application was made: This is for custom applicators. Note client information. Custom applicators are required to provide application records to their clients.
Nozzle manufacturer, make and size: Document your equipment was set up to deliver label-specified droplet size or spray volume; note nozzle manufacturer, nozzle make and size. For example, Teejet XR110001, CP03.
Pest timing: Record the pest stage when application was made. Herbicide example - unemerged, seedling, tillering, rosette, etc. Insecticide example - egg, first/second instar, third/fourth instar, adult
Reasons for delaying an application: Record any management decision regarding delaying an application. For example, due to the sensitive crop that sits just north of the field, I waited until June 12 to make this application when there was a 5 mph North Wind.
Reasons for halting an application: If for any reason you make the conscious decision to halt an application, make note of the reason. For example, "I stopped application at milepost 29 when the school bus approached at 3:35 and waited until 3:40 when the bus had passed one mile away."
Reasons for terminating an application: If for any reason you make the conscious decision to abort an application, make note of the reason. For example, stopped application at 2:15 pm since the wind shifted from the Southeast to the Southwest.
Sensitive areas downwind of treatment area: Note any sensitive site that you recognized to protect in your records. These could include, but are not limited to schools, daycare centers, organic crops, sensitive plants, wildlife preserves, etc.
Required spray droplet classification: Check nozzle manufacturer literature for spray droplet classification based on nozzle size, pressure and speed. Many herbicide labels require a Medium or Coarse droplet. Document droplet size and how your equipment was set up to deliver it.
Spray tank concentration: Record the total volume of spray made up by noting both the amount of product and the total spray volume mixed. For example, 2 pints in 30 gallons water; or 4 pounds in 50 gallons water.
Sprayer operating pressure: 20 psi, 40 psi, etc.
Start and stop times: Record the time the application started and when you stopped. Start a new application record if you take an hour break for lunch or for any other reason. Recording stop time defines the application time block, which can be compared to environmental and other conditions that occurred during that period.
Surfactants and other Adjuvants: Note the product name and spray mix rate of any adjuvants (buffers, surfactants, wetting agents, spreaders, dyes, oils, etc). Use this information to assess possible reasons for changes in efficacy and crop safety.
Wind direction during the application, taken in the area of the application: Record the direction from which the wind is blowing. Use something like a piece of flagging tape on an electric fence post to assess wind direction. For example, if you are looking eastward and the wind and flagging is blowing toward you FROM the east, you record an East Wind. When you apply in areas with concerns for off-target movement, consider actually getting a compass reading for wind directions, for example, 80-95 degrees from the east. Also note any other wind direction indicators, such as smoke plumes, dust, or flags in the near vicinity of the application area. Radio and TV reports do not suffice.
Wind speed during the application, taken in the area of the application: Purchase a quality anemometer or wind meter to measure wind speed. There are several in the market ranging from $40-$120. Take readings several times during the application and record the range, for example, 4.5-5.8 mph. Do not simply report calm or gusty.
Ramsay, C.A. and C.R. Foss. 2004. Use of a Survey as an Educational Tool for Recordkeeping. Journal of Pesticide Safety Education. 6:1-14.
Wolf, R.E. and R.G. Bellinger. 2003. Weather and Application Instruments. Presentation to Spray Drift Conference for Educators, Kansas City, MO
Authored by Carol Ramsay