A new Purdue Extension publication examines the causes and effects of pesticide drift, including information on how to recognize and report a drift incident.
Pesticide drift occurs when chemicals used to manage weeds or insects are blown or carried off target by wind during application, posing a potential risk to people, animals and plants on neighboring properties.
Pesticide drift can happen in both residential and agricultural settings and under all types of weather conditions, even if wind speeds are low, said Fred Whitford, director of the Purdue Pesticide Programs and one of the authors of Options for Dealing with a Pesticide Drift Incident.
"Whether it's a next-door neighbor or a farmer who owns the field adjacent to your property, they have the legal right to apply pesticides to their property," Whitford said. "However, pesticide applicators also have the legal obligation to keep those products on their side of the property line."
According to the publication, some crop damage attributed to drift might be the result of other factors, such as insect infestations, plant diseases or weather conditions. The authors say it is important to find out what actually caused the damage before reporting a possible drift incident.
"Purdue Extension educators can help you determine the cause of injury symptoms," the publication says. "The educators will look for any possible explanations for the damage, including nutrient deficiencies, insect, weed and disease problems, improper planting and cultivation practices and environmental conditions."
Readers will also learn about the steps for reporting a possible drift incident and what actions could be taken if a drift incident is confirmed.
Whitford's co-authors are Michael O'Donnell, an Extension educator in Delaware County; Roy Ballard, an Extension educator in Hancock County; and Joe Becovitz, an agent with the Purdue-based Office of the Indiana State Chemist.
The publication can be downloaded as a free PDF from Purdue's The Education Store at https://edustore.purdue.edu/item.asp?Item_Number=PPP-110. Single printed copies are also available at no charge.