Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sensitive Crop Registry

While modern pesticides have made agriculture easier in many ways, these chemicals sometimes drift into areas where they are not intended. Most farmers and pesticide applicators take great care in preventing this. But unfortunately, it still happens occasionally.

When I was in southeast Missouri, I saw a lot of pesticide drift. While the problem is much less in the counties of northwest Missouri that now I serve, I have seen it a time or two.

For the grower on the receiving end of this unintended drift, the results can sometimes be disastrous. Herbicides especially can injure sensitive crops. Even insecticides and fungicides can cause problems, if they drift onto an organically-grown crop.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has developed a web site where sensitive crops can be registered. This is especially useful for commercial pesticide applicators, who may not be aware of a nearby sensitive crop.

Crops that are eligible for addition to the database include fruits, vegetables, nursery stock, pastures, row crops, forage crops, and even bee hive locations.

To be listed on the registry, the crops must be for commercial use. They must also meet a minimum acreage requirement. If you are a beekeeper, you may list your hives, as long as they are for commercial purposes. Multiple hive locations can be entered.

The listing of your farm is done on the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Sensitive Crop Registry.

Once your crop is listed, pesticide applicators can search for sensitive crop listings by county. If they see a listing near the area where they will be applying a pesticide, they can click on the “Map View” which shows an aerial photograph of your farm, with the location of the sensitive crop that you listed. While this is very useful, it is dependent on how accurate you are when submitting your sensitive crop’s data.

Recently, I decided to see how many producers in northwest Missouri had taken advantage of this new database. I found nine farms that had taken advantage of this new resource in our region. 

To keep the registry current, you will be notified annually to confirm registration and provide updates in January. For assistance, contact the MO Dept of Ag's Integrated Pest Management Program at (573) 751-5505.  (by Tim Baker, MU Horticulture Specialist)

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