A corn field in Saunders County, Nebraska, just outside of Ashland grows in mid-summer sun. These crops, like all plants, sweat out moisture pulled from the ground as a means to keep cooler in the heat. Some of that “corn sweat” makes Nebraska more humid in late July and early August than it might otherwise be. (Aaron Sanderford/Nebraska Examiner)
LINCOLN — The Nebraska Department of Agriculture is encouraging collaboration among commercial specialty crop growers, pesticide applicators and beekeepers to protect sensitive crops and pollinators.
The department is recommending Nebraskans in these fields use FieldWatch, an online mapping service that the department monitors.
According to a news release from the department, specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables and key pollinators are sensitive to pesticides. This includes some herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
Commercial apiary sites, vineyards, orchards, grow sites for fruits and vegetables, nursery and Christmas tree production sites and certified organic and transitional organic crops are included in FieldWatch.
The department states that 757 growers have registered 2,173 specialty crops and apiary sites across 84 of Nebraska’s 93 counties. That’s approximately 124,000 acres of specialty crops.
“Nebraska farmers are innovative and find ways to increase productivity while protecting sensitive crops and pollinators,” Sherry Vinton, director of the Department of Agriculture, stated in the news release. “There are free mapping resources available online designed for reporting field locations of commercial specialty crops, organic crops and beehives to help protect them from harmful pesticides.”
Online mapping services such as FieldWatch help in meeting certain pesticide requirements, according to the release. This includes checking the location of specialty crops or beehives, surveying the areas adjacent to application sites for those crops and using no-spray buffers or applying on another day if the wind is blowing toward a commercial specialty crop.
People can learn more about FieldWatch and its other services here or by calling Craig Romary, program specialist with the Department of Agriculture, at 402-471-2351.
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