Researchers Aim to Reduce Pesticide Drift in the Lower Mississippi Delta


Researchers with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Mississippi are investigating the best ways of using hooded sprayers to combat drift.

Pesticide drift occurs when droplets move through the air to another place other than the target area during or after pesticide application. The research finds using a hooded sprayer can reduce pesticide drift of pre-emergent herbicide applications by 63 percent, in comparison to a nonhooded sprayer. Hooded or shielded sprayers effectively minimized the exposure of herbicide spray to wind and led to fewer off-target depositions. While hooded sprayers have advantages, the presence of a physical shield can pose challenges during road transport or repairing nozzles when compared to conventional sprayers.

If a farmer does not have access to a hooded sprayer or prefers to use a conventional sprayer, mitigating pesticide drift is still possible by avoiding high wind speed and high temperature during spraying. Researchers also found reduced drifting with a longer sprayer boom length during pre-emergent herbicide applications.