Spraying herbicides as weed control is a very controversial subject so I took great care filming this episode of Rice Farming TV. Working within the agriculture industry this information is obvious to me. I do know though that consumers have been made to fear their food because of herbicides and pesticides. There’s no reason for it. Conventionally grown food is safe and its due to great over-sight, restrictions, guidelines, testing and a whole lot more factors. I hope this episode is able to shed a little light on the touchy subject.
A special thanks to my two favorite Pest Control Advisors (PCAs) here in Butte County: Kevin and Joe. They help me out in the fields and consulted me on this episode. I wanted to make sure I got everything right and fair.
Thank you for watching.
It’s been 105ºF all week! Great growing conditions for the rice, however also great growing conditions for the weeds.
We have some mid season water grass escapes out there that we need to eradicate, otherwise the weeds will overrun the rice field.
Now I want to be straightforward here by saying, we need to kill these weeds. Otherwise they’ll kill our rice, so we use herbicides and herbicides are chemicals and that’s a touchy, controversial subject. So I’d like to explain briefly how the herbicide and pesticide industry works in relation to farming. But first, let’s get out of the sun, head into town and get something refreshing to drink.
So the scientists at this chemical company wanna create a herbicide that will kill weeds but not rice. Well they get to work, a little bit of this, a little bit of that but then the EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency wait a second we need some trials, testing, we wanna know what this product is all about. It’s not only the Federal EPA, it’s that California EPA, it’s the Department of Pesticide Regulation. Everyone wants to know exactly what’s going on with this chemical. So the testing and trials must be done by an independent entity outside of the company and it must be paid for by the company trying to create the herbicide and these rigorous trials are annually and it can amount up to 10 years of data collection and testing, all before the product even reaches market .
What these agencies want is to be sure that the chemical is safe for humans, the natural habitat and environment. They want to know the half-life of the chemical, they want to know what’s degrading it, what’s breaking it down and how long does that breakdown take before it disappears. There must be no chemical residue in the water nor food product when both leave the field.
After the years of testing is completed and the data is collected, the chemical is deemed safe. It is approved and released with use rates, safety restrictions and all kinds of guidelines.
But even when it’s released to the commercial market it’s not like the farmer can just walk in and pick it up off the shelf. A licensed pest control advisor or PCA must write a recommendation for the chemical.– It’s like a doctor writing you a prescription for pharmaceuticals and like a doctor, the PCA has gone through years of education.
So you see from creating a herbicide or pesticide to actually applying it to a crop there is immense care and regulation. Ensuring safety of consumers and the environment.
And look I know what you’re thinking, you see these crop dusters spraying on huge swaths of a chemical and you think “that can’t be good, I mean look at all that volume of a chemical that being sprayed on that crop out there”.
Well the herbicide that we are going to use to treat these water grass escapes calls for 2.8 ounces per acre. 2.8 ounces! That’s about how much soda I have left and what’s coming out of the crop duster you ask? Well it’s suppose to be mixed with 10 gallons of water. That’s 10 times this jug right here, let me give you a little bit better visual of what 2.8 ounces looks like over an acre.
And there you have it guys this equipment yard represents one acre of ground because it’s one acre and this soda here represents 2.8 ounces of herbicide. Remember herbicides expensive so for the farmer it’s a tough economic decision to use herbicides, we’re not just spraying it willy-nilly, so thanks for watching guys, if you have any questions let me know down in the comment section below. Otherwise, have a great day