Pesticide drift occurs whenever pesticide leaves the intended target site through the air during or soon after application.
Pesticide drift may cause injury to farm workers and other people, particularly children, adjacent crops or other non-target plants, livestock, sensitive environmental areas, fish and wildlife. Even if visible injury does not occur, illegal residues may be present in adjacent areas. Pesticide drift may also result in regulatory fines, legal liability, and litigation.
When pesticide drift occurs, some part of the pesticide is not reaching its intended target, and the potential benefit from the application is reduced. The likelihood of pesticide drift will be reduced if the applicator understands the relationships among pesticide product, application equipment, and site and weather conditions.
This IS drift
|So IS this|
This is not drift
Neither is this
|Photos: Bob Wolf’s Application Technology project|
It is the applicator’s responsibility to know whether there are any sites near the application area that are particularly at risk, from exposure to pesticides. These may include sensitive crops, organic fields, bee hives, bodies of water, areas of shallow ground water, schools, parks, hospitals, nursing homes and endangered species habitats. Read the pesticide label to determine if the product has any specific warnings or environmental hazards. Write down your plans to avoid pesticide drift into sensitive areas, and follow your plan during application. Keep a copy of the plan with application records.
A brief description of, and links to, the various topics within this module follows:
- Drift — PowerPoint presentation of issues related to drift and drift management. Also in Adobe Flash
- Types of Drift — Differences between vapor and spray drift
- Evaluate the Site — Identify sensitive areas and potential problems
- Evaluate the Weather — Weather conditions and how they affect drift
- Understanding Droplet Size — The effect of droplet size, on drift potential
- Managing Drift with Nozzles and Boom Height — Nozzle size, maintenance and height; all influence drift potential
- More Drift Reduction Methods — Drift reduction technologies
- Air Blast Sprayers — Ways to reduce the drift potential of air blast sprayers
- Aerial Application — Additional drift potential encountered by aerial applicators
- Using Buffers to Reduce Pesticide Drift and Wind Erosion — This section describes buffers used to reduce drift and wind erosion potential.
- Spill Quiz Module
- Resources — Links to additional resources
Initial compilation courtesy of Jim Wilson, PhD