Nutrient and Pest Management - Advanced Technology
Nutrient and Pest Management - Advanced
Advanced Technology for Nutrient and Pesticide Applications
Improve Water Quality
Adoption of GPS guidance systems reduces nutrient and pesticide losses.
Whitman & Spokane Counties
Improve surface and groundwater quality through management of nutrients and
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Palouse Local Work Group.
Improper application and over-application of nutrients and pesticides to
cropland can lead to the impaired use and function of surface water and
groundwater. The use of GPS guidance systems for nutrient and pesticide
applications has not yet been widely adopted in the Pacific Northwest for
dry land cropping systems.
The Environment Quality Incentives Program, with the support of the Palouse
Local Work Group, was used to promote cropland technology as a local priority.
Working with NRCS, growers receive technical and financial assistance to develop
a nutrient management plan and a pest management plan.
Improvements in equipment, the need to reduce nutrient and pesticide losses from
crop fields, and economics have all encouraged local growers to adopt the new
technology. Sprayers outfitted with a GPS guidance system, automatic nozzle
shutoff, and automatic boom height adjustment can greatly reduce overlap and
skips when applying pesticides. The reduction of overlap greatly reduces
over-application and less skips can reduce the number of times a field needs to
be sprayed. Some growers have reported that their over-application has gone from
15 percent to less than 5 percent with the adoption of a GPS system. Similar benefits can be
seen in nutrient applications as well.
For Fiscal Year 2009, 23 producers applied for advanced technology in Spokane
and Whitman Counties. Of those, 14 were awarded contracts for a total of 4738.1
acres. These conservation plans are often coupled with residue management
practices to further reduce nutrient and pesticide loss as well as improving
Ben Letourneau, NRCS, Colfax (509) 397-4301, ext. 3