What You Need to Know About Pesticide Use on the Farm

Pesticides serve many functions and come in many forms, including herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. The ultimate goal in all cases is to increase crop yields by reducing competitive environmental factors. 

Weeds, bugs, and disease steal a plant’s health and nutrients, reducing its productivity. Pesticides can help, if used properly. .

Herbicides reduce weed competition. The products on the market are many and varied. One of the more popular herbicides is dicamba. Dicamba kills annual and perennial broadleaf weeds by increasing plant growth rate until it outgrows its supply of nutrients and dies. 

Use of dicamba has increased with the introduction of Monsanto’s genetically modified dicamba resistant plants. 

Older formulas of the herbicide have been known to create problems with drift onto other plants. Newer, less drift prone versions are now available


When applying dicamba, there are steps farmers can take to increase effectiveness and reduce environmental impact, beginning with selecting the right product for the right crop. For Round-up Ready soybeans, use only approved formulas, and make sure the applicator is properly certified. Most state extension services offer the necessary annual pesticide applicator training.

With the new label comes adjusted wind direction restrictions and buffer requirements. Be sure the wind is blowing in the opposite direction of any nearby sensitive crops, and keep at least a one-half mile buffer between those crops and where you are spraying. Also beware protected species buffer requirements. And pay attention to timing. Dicamba can be volatile for up to three days, and the wind can shift and gust. 

There are time of day restrictions on dicamba application. The label states product should be applied within one hour after sunrise and two hours before sunset when temperature inversions are less likely. 

Be sure to use the right application equipment, and check product information for acceptable additives and tank-mix partners. 


Agric sector’s performance in Q1 worrying — Prof. Quartey

Economist with the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Professor Peter Quartey, has urged the government to pay more attention to the policies it has adopted for the country’s agricultural sector following a dip in the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP figures for the first quarter of the year.

The Gross Domestic Product which is the total monetary value of all the goods and services produced in the country grew by 6.7 % for the first quarter of this year.  Agriculture contributed 2.2 % which was the least out of the three subsectors.

In an interview with Citi Business News, Professor Peter Quartey said the government must review its agricultural policies to improve the sector’s performance.

“Growth in agriculture was woefully inadequate growing by some 2.2 percent at the back of planting for food and jobs and all the investments we have made in fertilizers and what have you, so that is not good news, I think then industry did quite well although it was driven mainly by oil”.

“We have to tap from the growth from oil to diversify the economy and invest some of the oil resources into some key sectors like agriculture so that we don’t suffer from the problem of economic stagnation.

I think it calls for further investigation we need to find out what exactly happened within the crop sector especially not the whole agric sector but the crop sector because that is where we have invested a lot of money,” he said.

Provisional GDP Q1 2019

Provisional figures released by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) shows that Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) grew by 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2019.

This is compared to the same period in 2018 which was at 5.4 percent.

Speaking at a press conference, the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel Kobina Annim pointed out that the non-oil GDP growth for the first quarter of 2019 was at 6.0 percent year-on-year compared to 4.2 percent recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

USDA Adjusts Prevent Plant Acres Planted to Cover Crop

Growers can graze or hay cover crop acres beginning September 1.

Farmers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres will be permitted to hay, graze, or chop those fields September 1, 2019. The USDA’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date to help farmers who were prevented from planting because of flooding and excess rainfall this spring.  

This is a one-year adjustment, said RMA Administrator Martin Barbre in a statement distributed today. “RMA will evaluate the prudence of a permanent adjustment moving forward,” Barbre added.  

"It makes prevent plant more attractive today than yesterday.” - Scott Irwin, University of Illinois

USDA anticipates many farmers and ranchers will plant cover crops on prevent-plant acres in 2019. Some lawmakers had proposed that cover crop acres be used for feed purposes later this year. U.S. Representatives Dusty Johnson (R-SD) and Angie Craig (D-MN) introduced legislation on June 10 that would give farmers and ranchers flexibility to use these cover crops for feed, in case of a feed shortage due to excessive moisture, flood, or drought.  

The representatives received broad industry support from the National Association of Conservation Districts, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and National Milk Producers Federation. Other lawmakers, including Senators John Thune (R-SD), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) supported similar measures.   

The Johnson-and-Craig-sponsored bill has not yet passed the House of Representatives.  

But today’s announcement addresses many of the lawmakers’ concerns. 

“We recognize farmers were greatly impacted by some of the unprecedented flooding and excessive rain this spring, and we made this one-year adjustment to help farmers with the tough decisions they are facing this year,” said Bill Northey, undersecretary for farm production and conservation in a statement. “This change will make good stewardship of the land easier to accomplish while also providing an opportunity to ensure quality forage is available for livestock this fall.”  

RMA has also determined that silage, haylage, and baleage should be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing for this year. Producers can hay, graze, or cut cover crops for silage, haylage, or baleage on prevented plant acres on or after September 1 and still maintain eligibility for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity.