Monday, May 16, 2011

Spray drift injury

   Last week a local farmer had several hundred acres of crop land sprayed for weed control in preparation for planting no-till soybeans. A farm services company applied a mixture of Round-up and 2,4-D for a quick knock down of all weeds. Unfortunately, the applicator made a huge error in judgement. The herbicides were applied on a day that had both high winds and high temperatures--perfect conditions to maximize spray drift and 2,4-D vaporization.

   The wind carried the 2,4-D more than a mile from the spray site causing massive damage to native pecan trees. Phenoxy herbicide damage to pecan is easily recognized by the curling of new growth and yellowing of foliage (photo at above). As the season progresses the trees will become either partially or totally defoliated. The nut crop will abort.
   From past experience with 2,4-D damage, the trees that survive will take at least 3 years to recover. We are currently working with the Kansas Department of Agriculture to document this terrible event.