Let me fess up that my message today falls squarely under the heading of “the pot calling the kettle black.” Why? In several meetings and field days recently, I have heard Extension agents and specialists tell producers they need to slow down when spraying pest products in peanuts and all other crops. Yep, me telling someone they need to slow down — that IS the pot calling the kettle black!
From the time I was 16 until, well, now, I have always liked to drive fast. Not dangerous, out of control fast, but faster than the speed limit, which seems overly, cautiously, mind-numbingly slow. I know the worst spots in the Southeast for getting a ticket, and I know the Clerk of Courts by name in more counties than I should.
But when it comes to applying pesticides, there are many reasons to slow down. One of the primary reasons is to reduce drift. Tractor speed is only one factor in effectively managing off-target pesticide movement. Other important ones are wind speed, spray pressure, boom height, terrain and the product and formulation used. Reducing drift and the resulting complaints are necessary if you want to continue having the ability to spray pesticide products, and that alone is a good reason to dial back the throttle just a bit.
Another reason is for pesticide effectiveness. In the disease management article on page 14, Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia Extension plant pathologist, talks about making sure fungicides for soilborne disease are placed in areas where they work to help control white mold. While he mainly talks about increasing pressure or volume and the need for irrigation, spraying at the proper speed is part of achieving efficacy. As Scott Monfort says in his Peanut Pointer, it is not the year to try untested products; nor is it the year to not get maximum use of the pesticides you have paid for just for an extra mile per hour or two.