The University of Arkansas has partnered with FieldWatch to offer pesticide applicators working in row and field crops ways to identify herbicide-sensitive crops and beehives so they can adjust their spraying accordingly.
CropCheck, an online platform developed by the non-profit FieldWatch, hosts registries that map locations of sensitive crops and hives.
The partnership between FieldWatch and the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service also will enable Arkansas producers to have access to two other FieldWatch products — DriftWatch and BeeCheck, according to a university news release. All programs are voluntary.
“Farmers in 18 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,” Vic Ford, Division of Agriculture interim associate vice president-agriculture and natural resources-Extension, said in the release. “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 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 also can sign up to receive email notifications when new fields or beehives are added to their designated state, county or areas.
“CropCheck is only available in Arkansas for the 2018 growing season as part of a pilot program funded by the Cooperative Extensive Service and developed in coordination with FieldWatch,” Stephanie Regagnon of FieldWatch said in the release.
DriftWatch will allow commercial producers of specialty crops, such as tomatoes, fruit trees, grapes and organics, to register and map their sites online with an easy-to-use 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.
In addition to Arkansas, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia joined FieldWatch in 2018.
There is no cost to enroll or use the new registry, and participation is voluntary
Both commercial and hobby beekeepers can use the system; however, only managers and owners of crop fields used for commercial production and that are of at least 0.5 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/ to create an account to get started.
For more information CropCheck or FieldWatch, contact your county Extension office at https://uaex.edu/counties/default.aspx.