By Clint Thompson
The Using Pesticides Wisely (UPW) program that has helped Georgia drastically reduce pesticide drift complaints to the Cooperative Extension Service since 2015 will be offered again this year, beginning Monday, March 9 in Taylor County, Georgia, according to University of Georgia Extension weed specialist Stanley Culpepper.
“Those growers who were trained last year with these tools have an option, if they want to come back for 2020 and get trained, they can, but they’re not required to do so,” Culpepper said. ““If you’re applying Engenia, XtendiMax, Fexapan or Tavium, if you’re the person making the application, you have to be trained and you have to have a license. You can’t make the application under someone’s license and you can’t skip the training, unless you were trained last year.”
The UPW trainings, which started in Georgia in 2015, were created by UGA Extension and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The state program is aimed at teaching farmers and other pesticide applicators how to properly apply pesticides.
“The goal was to help our growers and work with our growers to apply all pesticides wisely. We talked about it, every grower in the state of Georgia wants to make the best application they can. People like me need to develop science to help them achieve that goal. That’s what we’ve done,” Culpepper said. “We’ve conducted over 115 studies now about improving on-target movement. Using Pesticides Wisely Program allows us to share that information directly with our growers.”
Since the UPW trainings were implemented, the number of pesticide drift complaints in Georgia to the Cooperative Extension Service have been reduced by 76% over the past five years.
“Now let’s be clear, it’s a small part the program, it’s a large part the growers wanting to do the right thing; they just needed the information,” Culpepper said.
During the trainings this year, which will be held at nine different locations, Culpepper will highlight the 15 factors UGA research has identified will impact off-target pesticide movement. These include boom height, sprayer speed and droplet size.
“We’re trying to make sure everybody has the right information. We know our applicators and our growers will make good decisions if they have the right information. It’s our job to generate the information and communicate that information in a way they understand and can implement on their farms,” Culpepper said.
Georgia Using Pesticides Wisely 2020 Trainings
When Where RSVP #
March 9, 10 a.m. Taylor County 478-472-7588
March 11, 9 a.m. Colquitt County 229-616-7455
March 16, 10 a.m. Floyd County 706-295-6210
March 17, 9 a.m. Laurens County 478-272-2277 (40 max)
March 17, 9 a.m. Pierce County 912-449-2034
March 19, 9 a.m. Elbert County 706-283-2037
March 25, 9 a.m. Early County 229-723-3072
March 26, 9 a.m. Bulloch County 912-871-6130
April 3, 9:30 a.m. Tift County 229-646-1413