New herbicide formulations hitting the market in the near future are sure to include more specific application requirements, making it even more important that farmers and commercial applicators improve their practices.

“Regulators and company representatives are writing labels for these new products, and they will be more specific to application,” says Bob Wolf, Professor Emeritus at Kansas State University and president of Wolf Consulting & Research.

“You will be required to follow and do whatever it says on that label. We need to look at those application practices and understand how you can improve them.”

Wolf spoke at the Sprayer Clinic held at the E.V. Smith Research Center in Shorter, Ala., this past January.

Farmers typically think that being an applicator includes driving a sprayer and doing the spray jobs, says Wolf.

“I define an applicator as anyone who has a say about the decision-making process in that spray application. There are people who are not actually running the spray rig, but have a lot to say about how it is set up and how it operates,” he says.

This is especially common on the commercial side of the business, he adds.

“The guy running the sprayer rig oftentimes does not have the opportunity to set the parameters for that operation. It’s important that training be directed to everyone.

“There will be some major changes in the application processes, specifically as it relates to the label, and the label is the law,” says Wolf.

If you’re going out into the field with a tank-load of a herbicide mixture to spray, your No. 1 goal as an applicator is to kill the weeds, he says.

“Your No. 1 goal should be to increase the efficacy and control the pest. Your second goal is drift management, and those two goals go hand-in-hand. But if we let drift management become our No. 1 goal, we’re not always going to kill weeds, so we have to keep No. 1 in mind here,” he says.

Good coverage is required for a good weed kill, and good coverage requires smaller droplets that could lead to drift, says Wolf.