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June 7, 2012:
Allows for customized approaches based on new buffer zone guidelines
Crop producers can test drive a new buffer zone calculator that helps them understand the concepts behind new buffer zone guidelines for Canada launched in 2011.
The new guidelines represent a more customizable, sophisticated approach that allows applicators to modify the buffer zone based on how they conduct their application, says Jock McIntosh of Alberta Environment and Water, one of the people involved in developing the guidelines and the calculator.
"The calculator can help applicators understand how to modify labeled no-spray buffer zones for the specific conditions of their site," says McIntosh. Information on drift mitigation along with the buffer zone calculator can be found on the Health Canada website at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/pest/agri-commerce/drift-derive/index-eng.php.
McIntosh says the calculator is a valuable learning tool and encourages applicators to test drive it. As more feedback is received, it will help decisions on potential options to make the calculator a better tool and available in more field-friendly versions, such as a smartphone application.
"The calculator is a good tool for producers and other applicators to use, to get a feel for how different factors such as wind speed and sprayer configuration really play an important role in determining the best approach," says McIntosh. Over time we will have the opportunity to make the tool more specific and more of a practical in-field option based on feedback from industry. It's a real nice tool to get familiar with, even if it just helps to understand the concepts behind the updated guidelines."