Free, voluntary platform designed to aid applicator stewardship and producer protection now available; may help reduce impacts of off-target pesticide movement
By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
March 15, 2019
- Program provides mapping system for row crops, specialty crops and beehives
- CropCheck is a partnership between FieldWatch, Division of Agriculture
- Arkansas users go to https://ar.driftwatch.org/ to establish account.
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LITTLE ROCK – As spring rolls toward Arkansas and growers begin to approach their planting dates, the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is encouraging growers throughout the state to make use a new program designed to help them identify herbicide-sensitive crops, and adjust their spraying accordingly.
CropCheckTM, a new program offered in partnership with FieldWatch®, is designed to help farmers prevent damage to their neighbors. The partnership between FieldWatch — a not-for-profit company that hosts registries that map locations of pesticide-sensitive crops and bee hives — and the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service will also enable Arkansas producers to have access to two other FieldWatch products, DriftwatchTM for peanuts and specialty crops, and BeeCheckTM for bee hives.
The program, which is free and voluntary, may prove especially valuable in 2019, in light of recent Arkansas Plant Board decisions regarding the permissible use of herbicides with known volatility issues.
“Farmers in 21 states and one Canadian province are working with FieldWatch in an effort to increase communication, collaboration and awareness to prevent problems with off-target spraying,” said Vic Ford, interim associate director for agriculture and natural resources-extension for the Division of Agriculture. “The work FieldWatch was doing came to our attention during the very difficult year Arkansas had in 2017 with some pesticides not staying where applied.”
With CropCheck, row crop producers may to submit crop site information. Pesticide applicators can access the site to help determine the scope and location of specialty crops and beehives in their areas. Registered applicators can sign up to receive email notifications when new crop fields or beehives are added to their designated state, county or areas.
DriftWatch will allow commercial producers of specialty crops such as tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and organic crops o register and map their sites online with an easy-to-use mapping tool and provide contact information about their operation.
BeeCheck has a few additional features for beekeepers and apiaries to communicate their location and site details to applicators.
On March 5, FieldWatch announced several technological advances for 2019, including the ability for users add a layer of data annotation to the site, adding specific notes that may be beyond the scope of the software in typical use, such as the locations of private gardens. This information will be visible only to the user who enters the data, and whomever the user decides to share it with.
To date, Arkansas has 164 producers who have registered more than 800 sites, totaling more than 63,000 acres. Arkansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia all joined FieldWatch in 2018.
Free and voluntary
There’s no cost to enroll or use the new registry and enrollment is voluntary. Both commercial and hobby beekeepers can use the system, however only managers and owners of crop fields that are used for commercial production and are of at least a half-acre in size will have fields approved by the state data steward. The stewardship platforms provided by FieldWatch are not intended for homeowners or those with small gardens.
Pesticide applicators will have different options for viewing locations on the new system but all users in Arkansas, applicators, producers, and beekeepers, will need to go to https://ar.driftwatch.org/ and create an account to get started.
For more information CropCheck or FieldWatch, contact your county extension office at https://uaex.edu/counties/default.aspx.
FieldWatch, Inc®, a non-profit company that helps applicators, growers of specialty crops and beekeepers communicate about the locations of crops and hives to improve stewardship, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with five new member states and enhanced technology.
FieldWatch was created to develop and expand the operation of DriftWatch™, a voluntary online specialty crop registry program originally created by Purdue University in 2008. Today, FieldWatch offers an online national registry and tools that facilitate communication between commercial applicators and growers of sensitive crops and beekeepers.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your (insert appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service