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Nutrient and Pest Management - Advanced Technology

Highlights in Conservation icon

Nutrient and Pest Management - Advanced Technology

Advanced Technology for Nutrient and Pesticide Applications Improve Water Quality

This is a photo of a man working with his GPS system in his truck. Adoption of GPS guidance systems reduces nutrient and pesticide losses.

Adoption of GPS guidance systems reduces nutrient and pesticide losses.

Location icon
Whitman & Spokane Counties

Project Summary icon
Improve surface and groundwater quality through management of nutrients and pesticides

Conservation Partners icon
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Palouse Local Work Group.

Resource Challenges icon
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.

Conservation Program Used icon
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.

Innovations and Highlights icon
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.

Results and Accomplishments icon
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 soil quality.

Contact icon
Ben Letourneau, NRCS, Colfax (509) 397-4301, ext. 3

NRCS, Fall 2009