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A view from Kyle Stackhouse’s tractor-spray rig.

When spraying crops, be mindful of neighbors

Spraying season means more than just picking the right chemical or nutrient to apply.

Since the first of June, most of my time has been spent in the sprayer seat. I have traversed most of the fields twice. Soybean passes included an in-crop herbicide application and then an application of micro nutrients. Corn fields were supposed to be crossed only once with a herbicide with some micros; however, I have made a second trip over about half the acres because weed kill was poor.

Grass has been the main problem, but we knew some fields would require a late trip to control burr cucumber. That application was made in the last five days as corn is starting to tassel and getting to tall for the spray rig. Burr cucumber emerges all summer long, so hopefully this application is late enough to keep the weed under control.

Low key in the fields

When spraying we do our best to be invisible. We are aware of nearby crops, wind direction and weather conditions. We also attempt to be cordial with the neighbors. I always slow down and lower the boom to avoid off target application of products when going around houses or different crops. Sometimes I’ll even skip a portion of the field and return later.

Last week, apparently it wasn’t enough. I laid off of a neighboring property on Thursday due to wind. I was spraying in a different area on Friday, and returned to original field to finish the job on Saturday when conditions were better.

Unfortunately, the product I was using has a pungent aroma.

The neighbor chased me down and complained. As he complained the wind was blowing away from his house. Mind you, I was also using drops which are extensions that put the spray down in between the corn rows. I was also moved over two or three rows inside the edge of the field to provide an even greater buffer.

I won’t dispute there was a smell, but what more can I do? Well, now they want advance notice of applications.

Last week, dad spoke with an investigator from the Indiana Office of the State Chemist. He asked specifically about this type of issue. The investigator told him these complaints are not uncommon. He suggested to try and be a good neighbor. He also said we do not have to notify the neighbor or alter our operation. As long as we stay on label we are okay.

As a side note, I ran out of the product and re-ordered. When the next shipment came, it was a different manufacturer. The new stock was much less aromatic. I’ll try and get that brand again next time, maybe I won’t get chased down!

Spraying is winding down for me. I will have one more fungicide and insecticide application on soybeans at R3 (beginning pod set). Some corn fields will be flown this week to coincide with tasseling and the hatch we western bean beetle.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Penton Agriculture.

TAGS: Corn Soybean
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