2018, January

The interesting reflections of the Agronomist Dr. G. Lippolis about the pesticide drift and its containment

Drift effect in agriculture

A title that smacks of paradox if we think about economic issues and increasingly open and globalized markets. A theme of very topical relevance, however, if linked to recent and dramatic humanitarian issues.

In the agricultural sector, "barriers" have often been avoided or torn down in order to facilitate work. Instead they could represent a value, an opportunity, and we will try to understand to what extent.

There are many aspects that a good farmer finds himself having to manage during the cultivation stages, from the varietal choices to the pursuit of quality. Moreover, in carrying out his activity, he cannot ignore how much the legislation, but also the specifications of the clients, ask about Maximum Permitted Residues or RMA (Residui Massimi Ammessi, in Italian).

How many are the actions that come into play for the respect of RMA? Many and on several fronts!

Exhaustive consultation of technical services for the selection of active ingredients that should leave as little residue as possible, continuous training of operators regarding the correct use of plant protection products and above all the correct use of dosages, maintenance and calibration of sprayer machines, risk assessments and development of appropriate monitoring programs. How much work and how much effort to handle a whole series of tasks that, certainly have a legal basis but, not less, also a moral nature.

What if what we did not expect would happen? That is, what does not depend on our control?

The chemical analysis presents the "unexpected" residual, that is the residual that comes from the neighboring fields linked to the drift effect. A very real problem in this period, an issue which often causes complaints from customers. This is why we are forced to produce a variety of documentation in order to provide the right evidence and, above all, set up actions to reduce risks. This explains why artificial "barriers" can be an opportunity to mitigate any type of danger in a sensitive way.

The National Action Plan for the sustainable use of plant protection products (Piano di Azione Nazionale, in Italian), prescribes the ban on the application of products belonging to the classes of toxic or very toxic risk at shorter distances of 30 meters from vulnerable areas (recreational areas, areas near to schools, hospitals, etc.). This provision is required in the absence of measures to contain the drift; these measures allow to bring this distance down to 10 meters. But what to do in agricultural areas where there are uninterrupted plots of land?

Here the installation of artificial barriers, fitted with specific fabrics and, above all, not very demanding in assembly and disassembly, such as the Anti-deriva Gray DELIMITA made by Arrigoni group, can represent the right solution to shield your crops and mitigate the consequences of the drift effect, all while respecting the management of plots and rotations.

In short, what is the value of one less problem to manage? And what is the worth of a concrete action to manage the drift effect? Just the cost of a barrier!