FieldWatch: Tools for Drift Prevention
by Vic Ford, Associate Vice President – Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Whitney Haigwood, Technical and Social Media Writer – Agriculture and Natural Resources
Are you involved in Arkansas row crop production, commercial horticulture, or beekeeping? While the 2022 growing season brings many uncertainties, one that remains is the importance of drift protection and management. FieldWatch® is here to help, by hosting a registry of mapped locations with pesticide-sensitive crops and beehives. This technology is made possible by unique online platforms offered in partnership between FieldWatch, Inc.® and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.
FieldWatch is a non-profit company that was created in December of 2012. It offers technology tools based on a 2008 program launched by Purdue University. This web-based program caught the attention of neighboring states, and FieldWatch was formed to provide secure, online stewardship tools. Since its establishment, FieldWatch has grown into a national mapping registry of specialty crops and apiaries, serving twenty-one states and one Canadian province. Participation is voluntary, and membership is offered at no cost.
The database of registered sites provides a collaborative communication tool for farmers and applicators to help prevent drift damage to their neighbors. The partnership between FieldWatch and the Division of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service enables Arkansas producers to access other FieldWatch products, including Driftwatch™, BeeCheck™, and FieldCheck™. Sites registered with this technology allow Arkansas pesticide applicators to identify pesticide-sensitive crops and beehives to adjust their spraying accordingly.
DriftWatch is designed for managers and owners of crop fields used for commercial production, of at least a half-acre in size. The Arkansas database comprises over 20 specialty crop types. These include row crops, horticulture, evergreens, and floriculture. The site allows farmers and producers to map out their cropping systems using an online mapping tool. Users can enter details about the crop site to include growing conditions, pesticide tolerances, and comments for the public registry. Submitted planting sites are entered into the registered public database, upon approval from the state data steward.
BeeCheck is an online registry for beehives and apiaries. It is designed for both commercial and hobby beekeepers. Users of BeeCheck can map out hives and apiary locations and provide site details for the public registry. This empowers a collaborative communication tool between beekeepers and pesticide applicators.
Note: Beehives owned by crops and commercial horticulture producers can be registered through their DriftWatch account.
FieldWatch registries are voluntary and publicly available. Applicators can access the map of registered crop and beehive locations on the FieldWatch website. For added benefits, applicators can register with FieldCheck™ and subscribe to area-specific email notifications for new crops and beehive registries approved in their “alert area.”
For more information, visit the FieldWatch page on the Cooperative Extension website of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.