The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging commercial specialty crop growers, pesticide applicators and beekeepers to work together to protect sensitive crops and pollinators from harmful pesticides. Pesticides include all categories of pest control products such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.
FieldWatch™ is an online mapping service, and NDA monitors FieldWatch registries for the state. Included in FieldWatch are commercial apiary sites, vineyards, orchards, fruit and vegetable grow sites, nursery and Christmas tree production sites and certified organic and transitional organic crops.
Online mapping services help satisfy requirements on certain pesticide product labels. Depending on the product, applicators may be required to check the FieldWatch map for specialty crops or beehives, survey the area adjacent to the application site for these crops, and use no-spray buffers or apply another day if the wind is blowing toward a commercial specialty crop.
In Nebraska, 757 growers have registered a total of 2,173 specialty crop and apiary sites in FieldWatch. Those sites are currently found in 84 of Nebraska’s 93 counties and contain approximately 124,000 acres of specialty crops. New sites are added frequently.
FieldWatch now has several features specifically for applicators:
- Again this year, corn and soybean fields can now be mapped on Nebraska FieldWatch. These will appear on the map right along with the specialty crops, and will show various herbicide traits provided by the grower. Growers are asked to create a Nebraska DriftWatch account, map individual fields, and input associated site information about the crop.
- The free FieldCheck registry allows applicators to designate a “notification area” for email alerts when new information is added in that area, including sites with seed field workers (see below). When logged in, one can see all specialty crop and apiary sites in the DriftWatch/BeeCheck registries (not all apiary sites are visible from the public-facing website map).
- FieldWatch has a free mobile app for applicators, also called FieldCheck, that can be downloaded to see all mapped specialty crops in your area, as well as personal annotated sites
- Applicators registered in FieldCheck can also see fields having seed corn detasselers and other field workers in near real-time. This will reduce worker exposure to pesticides and assist applicators in complying with pesticide use requirements. In 2022, over 85,000 acres were displayed on the Nebraska DriftWatch map when seed field workers were expected to be there.
- The personal “Annotation Layer” feature allows applicators to customize the map view by adding personal sites or annotations with information that is typically not included in FieldWatch. This could be sites such as non-specialty crops, private gardens, sensitive habitats, schools, or other places where people have expressed concerns. This new layer will be wholly owned and managed by each individual applicator and is not seen by NDA.
- A time/date stamp is now shown on the screen for those who are registered and logged-in to FieldCheck. A screenshot could be used for application records and may be required for some products.
- In addition, Fieldwatch continues to work with third-party technology partners so that the DriftWatch and BeeCheck data are shown seamlessly with company mapping data.