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Survey of Missouri Pesticide Applicator Practices, Knowledge, and Perceptions

  • Mandy D. Bish (a1) and Kevin W. Bradley (a1)

The introduction of soybean and cotton traits with resistance to synthetic auxin herbicides has led to an increase in concern over the off-target movement of dicamba and 2,4-D. A direct-mail survey was sent to Missouri pesticide applicators in January of 2016 to understand current herbicide application practices and applicator knowledge and awareness of the new synthetic auxin technologies. Completed surveys were returned by 2,335 applicators, representing approximately 11% of the state’s registered pesticide applicators. Survey data reported herein provides information regarding current pesticide applicator knowledge and practices and highlights areas that need more emphasis during applicator training. Overall, survey respondents were familiar with physical drift and methods to minimize that risk. However respondents were less familiar with volatility and temperature inversions, which can each influence off-target herbicide movement. Of the 427 commercial applicators and 1,535 noncommercial applicators who answered questions regarding volatility, 81% and 74% respectively, recognized that high temperatures can contribute to a herbicide’s ability to volatilize. However, only 48% and 39% understood that a herbicide’s vapor pressure influences volatility. Answers from the survey indicate further education is needed on the synthetic auxin technologies, such as what herbicides can be used with each technology, proper methods for inspecting and cleaning spray equipment, and the importance of reading herbicide labels. When asked whether applicators were aware of the new 2,4-D-resistant and dicamba-resistant traits, 76% of 443 commercial applicators and only 40% of 1,713 noncommercial applicators selected “yes.” Additionally, survey results suggests that current methods aimed to facilitate communication among producers and applicators, such as FieldWatch and Flag the Technology, may not be successfully adopted, at least in Missouri. Findings from this survey can be utilized to enhance training of pesticide applicators in preparation for the synthetic auxin herbicide technologies.

La introducción de soja y algodón con resistencia a herbicidas auxinas sintéticas ha generado preocupación por el movimiento accidental de dicamba y 2,4−D a lugares no deseados. En Enero de 2016 se envió una encuesta vía correo directo a aplicadores de plaguicidas con licencia de Missouri para entender las prácticas de aplicación de herbicidas actuales y el conocimiento de los aplicadores acerca de las nuevas tecnologías de auxinas sintéticas. Se recibieron 2,335 encuestas completadas por aplicadores, lo que representó 11% del registro de aplicadores de plaguicidas del estado. Los datos de la encuesta presentados aquí brindan información acerca del conocimiento y prácticas actuales de los aplicadores de plaguicidas y resaltan las áreas que necesitan mayor énfasis para la capacitación de los aplicadores. En general, los encuestados estaban familiarizados con la volatilidad y las inversiones de temperatura, las cuales pueden influenciar el movimiento accidental del herbicida a zonas no deseadas. De los 427 aplicadores comerciales y los 1,535 aplicadores no comerciales que contestaron las preguntas relacionadas a volatilidad, 81% y 74% respectivamente, reconocieron que las altas temperaturas pueden contribuir a la habilidad del herbicida de volatilizarse. Sin embargo, solamente 48% y 39% entendía que la presión de vapor del herbicida influencia la volatilidad. Las respuestas en la encuesta indican que se necesita más educación acerca de las tecnologías con auxinas sintéticas, como cuáles herbicidas pueden ser usados con cada tecnología, métodos adecuados para inspeccionar y limpiar los equipos de aspersión, y la importancia de leer la etiqueta del herbicida. Cuando se preguntó si los aplicadores estaban al tanto de los nuevos cultivos con resistencia a 2,4−D y dicamba, 76% de 443 aplicadores comerciales y solamente 40% de 1,713 aplicadores no comerciales seleccionaron “sí”. Adicionalmente, los resultados de la encuesta sugieren que los métodos actuales dirigidos a facilitar la comunicación entre productores y aplicadores, tales como FieldWatch y la tecnología de Banderas, podrían no ser adoptadas exitosamente, al menos en Missouri. Los descubrimientos de esta encuesta pueden ser utilizados para mejorar la capacitación de aplicadores de plaguicidas en preparación para el uso de las tecnologías de herbicidas auxinas sintéticas.

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Associate Editor for this paper: Lawrence E. Steckel, University of Tennessee.

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  • ISSN: 0890-037X
  • EISSN: 1550-2740
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