Implement a Quality Management System to help ensure proper application.

Herbicides for cotton and soybeans, such as the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System®, or the Enlist Weed Control System were developed to help fight resistant weeds. They require strict adherence to the safety precautions and applications instructions on the manufacturer's label.

Implementing a Quality Management System (QMS) can help you track herbicide and pesticide applications and help reduce the risk of misapplication.

Follow these steps for safe application

  1. Follow the product label instructions. The label details lawful herbicide and pesticide usage and explains what licensed applicators need to do before, during and after application. It is against federal and state law to use herbicide and pesticide products other than in accordance with their labeling.
  2. Develop a QMS. A QMS utilizes the skills and experience of your employees and the risk management expertise of Nationwide to define and implement written policies and procedures to effectively manage your agronomy operations. This can help you achieve consistent business operations and ensure the safety of your employees, customers and the general public. Additionally, a QMS is a defined and documented way of communicating to employees what is required to produce the desired service level and can help influence employee actions to complete tasks according to specified quality and safety standards.

Risks from misapplication

Nationwide’s claim data suggests that misapplications may increase when new herbicide technologies are implemented. Such was the case when cotton and soybean seed traits for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and dicamba tolerance were integrated. Two of the most common losses we see are due to tank contamination and drift.

Tank contamination may increase if the tanks aren’t rinsed according to the label instructions. Carefully read the tank rinsing requirements on each product label as products may have specific tank rinsing directions. To avoid drift issues, follow the preventive measures listed on the product label, specifically labeled wind speeds, approved nozzles, and buffer requirements. Observe what susceptible crops, trees, vegetation or other vulnerable targets are near application sites and evaluate the potential impact of drift.

A QMS can help reduce the risk of misapplication through consistent documentation of important tasks, such as cleaning, spraying, product mixing and field mapping, as well as documenting essential information, such as seed genetics, sprayer settings, inventory and inspection logs. It can also help ensure that your company has appropriate policies in place to help reduce the potential for tank contamination, drift and off-target application.

Learn more about additional safety risks

When using a new herbicide, find out what safety risks it presents to humans and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What personal protective equipment (PPE) is required?
  • Is proper PPE being used? If not, why and what are the potential consequences?
  • Is a respirator required?
  • If using an enclosed mixing system instead of a respirator, are other necessary PPE utilized?
  • Is there a respirator protection program in place?
  • Are there any other concerns listed in the Agricultural Use Statement section of the label?
  • Is there a policy detailing who decides when to spray based on weather conditions? If not, a policy should be developed.
  • Have applicable websites been checked for registered sensitive crops or have our scouts documented the crops, trees, vegetation or other vulnerable targets near the application site?

During the application season – for your safety and the safety of those around you – following the instructions listed on the product label should be top of mind.

Available only to Nationwide members, please consult the Agronomy QMS eModule containing a manual to guide the creation of your company’s unique QMS, as well as work instruction templates, forms and standards for constructing your own effective quality management system.

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