Illinois Pesticide Review
January / February 2018
In This Issue
Assessing Spray Conditions
Kestrel 5000 with vane mount.
"Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative"
– Oscar Wilde
The winter months are a prime time to consider your current procedures for pesticide application decision making and recordkeeping. For those that made it past that first sentence and are still reading, you probably already understand the end-goals here: (1) To be good environmental stewards, and (2) to avoid misapplication allegations, or worse, spray drift litigation. The ever-present threat to those ends? Mother Nature and her favorite tool for making applicators sweat – the wind.
When it comes to playing with the cards Mother Nature has dealt you on a given day, the first and most critical step is to assess your local conditions. Factors like temperature, humidity and wind speed/direction can be found in your favorite smartphone weather app, but these should be treated as nothing more than a very rough guess as to what is happening at your intended site of application.
Even the most experienced licked-finger-pointed-into-the-wind cannot give you the objective assessment you need. Instruments designed to make this assessment are available and are collectively known as weather meters.
When shopping for a weather meter, you will quickly note the wide variety of features available. The most affordable options usually include real-time temperature, humidity and wind speed measurements. While this is certainly better than nothing, these types of meters can give misleading wind speed measurements. This is because the meter must be held directly into the wind.
For example, holding the meter 30 degrees off of the prevailing wind direction would report an 11 MPH wind as 9.5 MPH on the meter. The major downfall of these types of meters, then, is that they do not capture wind direction. Without wind direction, the speed really has no meaning in determining where spray drift may occur.
The baseline weather meter you should be adding to your shopping cart is one that gives temperature, humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. These are commonly mounted on a miniature wind vane that freely rotates with the prevailing wind direction displayed in degrees magnetic (0-360°) from an internal compass. If coupled with a collapsible tripod, you will have a rapidly deployable weather station that can be set up at any application site.
Looking into a professional weather meter with these abilities also opens the door to other features, which can be of good use in monitoring conditions and recordkeeping. Some meters have accompanying smartphone apps, which communicate with the meter and allow you to remotely monitor weather conditions while spraying, even if you aren't right next to the meter.
Many units also come with internal memory for logging conditions at preset intervals (every 1 min, 5 min, etc.). If your meter is set up in this way to automatically log weather data, you will not only have accurate information while spraying, but an objective, timestamped record to protect yourself from claims of misapplication.
As the cost of quality weather meters has come down and the responsibility of the applicator in mitigating spray drift is at an all-time high, the investment of a few hundred dollars here is certainly money well spent. By adopting this technology as part of your standard application procedures, it can pay for itself many times over.
Matt Gill (mailto:email@example.com)
What Exams are Offered When?
We commonly are asked which exams are offered where. Typically, this will come in the form of the applicator, who shows up at the start of a Commercial clinic wanting to take something other than the General Standards exam.
Unfortunately, sometimes we have to deliver the bad news that his or her trip there that morning has been wasted and indeed another trip should be planned for the next day to arrive at 12:30. This is not a fun conversation for anyone involved. To prevent this, here is a summary to help you plan for your upcoming testing sessions.
At Private Training Clinics, these exams are offered:
- Private Grain Fumigation
At Private Test Only sessions through local Extension offices, the only exam offered is Private.
At Commercial Training Clinics, these exams are offered on Day 1. Those who participate in the training for the duration will be given first priority to seats for testing:
- General Standards
- Aerial General Standards
- Dealer (highly recommended to go Day 2 instead)
At Commercial Clinics, ALL exams are offered on Day 2 and typically, there are more available seats then. Walk-ins are welcome and encouraged.
At Test-Only Sessions, ALL exams are offered. Keep in mind that preregistration is required.
As always, there is no fee for testing. Remember to bring your picture ID and a basic function calculator OTHER than the one on your phone. Our training and testing schedule can be found at www.pesticidesafety.illinois.edu.
Michelle Wiesbrook (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Corn Gluten Meal: 2 For 1 Special
At this Purdue University research trial, corn gluten meal was applied at 20 lbs of product per 1000 square feet. The bright green grass is crabgrass that was not controlled.
At a recent turf weed management program, I spoke about many different pre-emergent herbicides, including corn gluten meal. After the program, I met an applicator whose company focuses on using organic treatments for lawns and who had a lot of experience using corn gluten meal. I was intrigued and did some more research that I would like to share with you about this herbicide that also can be used as a fertilizer.
With the push for ethanol in the late 80s and early 90s, a byproduct of the wet milling process was corn gluten meal or CGM. CGM is high in protein and is normally used in livestock and small animal feed.
In 1986 Dr. Nick Christians, a professor at Iowa State University, conducted an experiment using corn gluten to study the effect of fungal organisms on creeping bent grass and noticed the pre-emergent herbicide effects where he had placed the corn gluten meal.
He conducted further research and determined that there are naturally occurring chemicals in the corn gluten that reduce root growth during germination. He eventually patented corn gluten meal to be used as an herbicide in the granular form, and the product was evaluated by the EPA.
EPA's Corn Gluten Meat Fact Sheet states that "[c]orn gluten meal is present in corn and in foods that contain corn or processed corn byproducts. Corn gluten meal is a non-volatile powder, and in its granular form tends to remain near where it was applied. End use products are intended for use only on established lawns, where the substance prevents normal root development in weed seedlings.
"It is not harmful to humans, to other non-target organisms, or to the environment. Furthermore, it provides a safer alternative to toxic chemicals commonly used for weed control on lawns."
Because it is naturally occurring, corn gluten meal has been approved for use in certified organic production practices. Since the product is non-toxic, it is appealing for customers who do not want to use chemicals in their lawn. It also has the added benefit of containing almost 10% nitrogen by weight; thus 100 lbs of CGM contain about 10 lbs of nitrogen.
There has been much research on the effectiveness of corn gluten as a pre-emergence herbicide. The rates of application as well as timing are key to getting the greatest benefit from this product. Research from Iowa State University shows that applying 20 lbs/ 1,000 sq. ft. (M) will help to suppress grasses and broadleaf weeds, such as crabgrass, poa annua, buckhorn plantain, lambs quarters, dandelion, foxtail, purslane, and redroot pigweed. Since CGM contains 10% nitrogen, applying this rate is equivalent to 2 lbs N/M. CGM has been used by growers for controlling weeds in strawberries, radishes, onions, garlic, saffron, herbs, and grapes.
Application rates can vary from 20-60 lbs/M for gardens to 20 lbs/M for lawns. Corn gluten meal needs to contain 60% protein as this quantity allows for the highest effectiveness. If applying to bare ground, you can rake it into the soil; otherwise it is best to apply to turf when it has been lightly watered in or after a rain. Too much water will dilute the CGM and reduce its effectiveness.
When applying this product for several years, a benefit of the slow-release nitrogen is that it will thicken the turf, out-competing crabgrass and other weed problems. According to research by Iowa State University, this product does not work on all grasses and broadleaf weeds, and it is more costly compared to a chemical weed and feed for lawns. If the product doesn't work well as a pre-emergence herbicide it will still be beneficial as a fertilizer for the turf.
Most of the research on this product has been conducted at Iowa State University, and scientists at other universities have obtained mixed results. If you are seeking an organic, nontoxic option, CGM has the potential to provide a modest level of crabgrass control along with providing a good, but somewhat expensive, source of nitrogen fertility.
Additional information on corn gluten meal can be found at these websites:
Maria Turner (mailto:email@example.com)
Learning Opportunities Abound during February’s National Pesticide Safety Education Month
February 2018 is designated National Pesticide Safety Education Month, an initiative of the National Stakeholder Team for Pesticide Safety Education Program (PSEP) Funding. During this month, Illinois PSEP will be offering five commercial training clinics and 3 private training clinics where approximately 2000 applicators will participate.
Preventing safety concerns during pesticide transport, storage, application, and disposal are just some of the many goals of land-grant university PSEPs and other public and private sector groups that promote pesticide safety.
"PSEPs and other educators work throughout the year to teach safe handling of pesticides from purchase to disposal," says Lee Van Wychen, Ph.D., Director of Science Policy for the Weed Science Society of America. "National Pesticide Safety Education Month is intended to highlight and enhance safe use practices by everyone."
Pesticides are often erroneously thought to be insecticides only, but include herbicides, fungicides, disinfectants, sanitizers, and many other types. "Thousands of pesticide products are sold in the U.S., and safe handling has a tremendous positive impact on the protection of human health and the environment," notes Kristine Schaefer, Ph.D., Program Manager of the Pesticide Safety Education Program at Iowa State University. "For example, most pesticide accidents in the U.S. are due to improper storage, and involve someone who was not even using the pesticide."
Visit the National Pesticide Safety Education Month webpage at
to learn more about this new initiative, access helpful information, do a self-assessment of your personal pesticide safety practices, and more.
Organizations interested in becoming a sponsor of National Pesticide Safety Education Month are encouraged to complete and submit the sponsor commitment form located on the webpage. Current sponsors of 2018 National Pesticide Safety Education Month are Syngenta and Valent U.S.A. LLC.
Press release from the WSSA/ESA/APS, slightly modified by Michelle Wiesbrook (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pesticidal Carbon Dioxide – New Registered Uses
Some new uses for a gas carbon dioxide product were recently accepted on Jan. 19, 2018. The label (EPA Reg. #91274-1) is available through EPA's Pesticide Product and Label System at https://iaspub.epa.gov/apex/pesticides/f?p=PPLS:1. This product allows gas cylinder fumigation of burrowing pests such as rats, voles, moles, groundhogs, ground squirrels, pocket gophers, and more. Please see label directions for specifics.
According to a 2016 article by Western Farm Press and an Inert Gas Injection (IGI) press release, "the proprietary CO2 technology will provide a patented, biologically, and efficient solution to eliminate targeted species with no residual chemical or other biologically active substances that could harm children, pets, wildlife, or an aquifer." Further, the article says, "CO2 immediately induces an amnestic effect and pests confined within this space succumb to a lack of breathable air resulting in pest suffocation. There is no contamination of soil or other spaces due to lasting chemical and toxic agents."
The former Federal Registration Notice soliciting public comments on this and others is at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0234-0001. The comment period is now closed with 603 comments received. It appears that about 15 other active ingredients including a neonicotinoid insecticide were included in the comment period. Hence, the large number of comments, especially concerning bees. From my quick scan, I could not find any comments about naturally occuring carbon dioxide.
A search of PPLS reveals the following carbon dioxide pesticides that are active registrations (see https://iaspub.epa.gov/apex/pesticides/f?p=105:6:::NO::P6_XCHEMICAL_ID:1741 ). These are listed by EPA Registration number:
1) # 12455-148 (RAT ICE)
2) #38719-5 gas (CARBON DIOXIDE: beetles, psocoptera, moths, ag pests)
3) #87766-1 gas (ANT ZAP: ant mounds, mole tunnels), (MOLE ZAP)
4) #87942-1 gas (IGI CARBON DIOXIDE: mouse trap w/CO2), (RADAR)
5) #91274-1 gas (IGI CARBON DIOXIDE: beetles, psocoptera, moths, ag pests, burrowing mammals)
EPA email sent 1/24/18
Michelle Wiesbrook (mailto:email@example.com)