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Be Proactive – Consider FieldWatch Registries

One situation that sometimes arises in springtime is pesticide drift. This is unfortunate for everyone involved. To be more proactive, consider registering with one of the registries in FieldWatch.

FieldWatch began simply as DriftWatch, a project that began at Purdue University in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department with input and support from the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Bernie Engel, the Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture for the Purdue College of Agriculture, was the ‘father’ of DriftWatch, alongside Steve Smith of Red Gold Tomatoes. Now, FieldWatch operates as a non-profit company and national collaborative.

“It’s great to see the continued growth of FieldWatch beyond Indiana,” said Engel. “What started as a simple and effective idea has now grown to encompass half the states of the U.S. (new state announced it was joining last week), D.C., and a Canadian province.”

FieldWatch, at, offers four different registries: Driftwatch, for specialty crop producers; Beecheck, for beekeepers; FieldCheck, for pesticide applicators; and SeedfieldCheck, for seed companies to protect in-field workers.

The stated goals of FieldWatch are advancing communication, cooperation, and collaboration in agriculture.

FieldWatch explains on their website that using their registries is simple: producers of specialty crops, organic or conventional (not herbicide tolerant) row crops, beekeepers, and seed companies map the locations of fields, apiaries or seed field workers using dedicated mapping tools. Pesticide applicators check for mapped locations before spraying to improve decision-making and manage potential pesticide drift. 

FieldWatch describes how each registry works:

“DriftWatch is a voluntary and free registry that allows for improved communication and collaboration between producers of specialty, organic and conventional (not tolerant to herbicides) row crops and pesticide applicators. Producers can map their sites and provide contact information to pesticide applicators. The registry makes it possible to map vegetables, grapes, nurseries, tobacco, industrial hemp, herbs, greenhouses, orchards, tree crops, flowers, as well as conventional soybean and corn. Pesticide applicators access the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops in their trade areas. Registered applicators can also sign up to receive email notifications when new specialty crop fields are added to their designated state, county or areas.”

The website explains that DriftWatch is for commercial specialty crops, not homeowner gardens or sites with less than ½ acre.

“BeeCheck is a voluntary and free online beehive/apiary registry and mapping tool that allows for improved communication and collaboration between beekeepers and pesticide applicators. Both commercial and hobby beekeepers register and map their sites and provide contact information to applicators through an online mapping system. Before spraying, pesticide applicators access the site to help determine the scope and location of beehives to effectively manage drift effects.” On a side note, I have access to some beehive signs for local beekeepers enrolled in BeeCheck. Contact me if you are interested.

“FieldCheck is a critical tool for pesticide applicators. Applicators can visit the FieldCheck map before spraying to locate areas identified for sensitivity to improve decision-making and avoid damage from spray drift. Pesticide applicators in agriculture (ground and aerial) and outside agriculture (vegetation management for right-of-way and invasive species, mosquito control, vegetation management, turf, and ornamental grass) can find value from using FieldCheck. In addition to accessing a reliable, free mapping tool with clearly identified crop, apiary, and field worker locations, applicators receive alerts when new and modified sites are added to the registry. FieldCheck is free and can be accessed via desktop or mobile app.”

“SeedFieldCheck site is a voluntary communication tool that enables seed companies and pesticide applicators to work together to increase stewardship and protect seed field workers.”

FieldWatch explains that growers, beekeepers, seed companies, and applicators can access the registries and free mapping tools without becoming dues-paying members. However, if you choose to join FieldWatch as a dues-paying member, producers and beekeepers can record their sites and purchase signs, and applicators can receive email notifications about newly added sites in their defined areas. Many sponsors also contribute to the sustainability of the service. See the website for further details.

In the event of a pesticide drift incident, although Purdue Extension can provide general information on plant health, we do not investigate pesticide drift complaints. That job is done by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist.

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