Insight on spray drift and off-patent chemistry
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A program with a large diversity of agricultural topics that included information about adjuvants and inerts was conducted in Kansas City May 15-17. The annual conference was organized by the Council of Producers & Distributors of Agrotechnology, which is the former Chemical Producers & Distributors Association.
Over the years, the organization that kept its acronym of CPDA with the new name, has conducted the annual Adjuvants & Inerts Conference in various locations of the country. Whether the name change had anything to do with attendance isn’t clear, but attendance was announced as a record that topped 130 persons.
The broad list of topics on the agenda had to influence the attendance, but probably of most interest was the session about the upcoming rule making by the Environmental Protection Agency related to spray drift products—active ingredient pesticides, spray mix additives, adjuvants and equipment, including nozzles. This last session on the agenda May 16 was “Role of Innovation and Technology in Reducing Spray Drift.” Three presenters spoke.
Greg Kruger, University of Nebraska, reported on the progress of construction of two wind tunnels at North Platte being certified for testing nozzles and products to determine drift potential in field application situations. A low-speed wind tunnel for testing ground application and a high-speed wind tunnel for testing aerial application have been constructed by the university with private industry funding involved. The aerial application tunnel is nearing completion, and the ground application tunnel recently became operational.
The second speaker was Curtis Elsik, Huntsman Corporation, who talked about progress in characterizing product performance in reducing “driftable fines.” He emphasized the wording of reducing and driftable fines being measurable. At one point, regulatory wording centered around eliminating spray drift, but that has changed. He noted how working with the EPA has helped the industry working group determine that a droplet under 105 microns should be classified as a driftable fine.
Concluding this session of high interest to attendees were comments made by Jay Ellenberger, EPA Office of Pesticide Programs. He talked about the EPA Drift Reduction Technology Program and how it is “all about identify and verify drift reduction.” The EPA, working with industry and universities, sees a program that will outline testing protocol to verify with data that application technology achieves drift reduction. This is where the Nebraska wind tunnels become so important, it was noted. There are only two other low-speed wind tunnels in the U.S. and no other high-speed wind tunnel for testing active ingredient or inert ingredient products.