Purdue wine grape series delves into issue of herbicide drift

September 18, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue University online series on Indiana grapes and wines continues this week with a report examining the issue of herbicide drift and how it can affect vineyards.

Part 2 of "Through the Grapevine," produced by the Department of Agricultural Communication, appears on the website of the Purdue publication "Agricultures" at https://ag.purdue.edu/agricultures/Pages/ThroughTheGrapevine/02-Drift.aspx.

This week's report notes that drift poses a significant threat to grape growers, particularly in the Midwest where vineyards often are surrounded by corn and soybean fields that are sprayed with herbicides to control weeds.

In the report, Larry Pampel, co-owner of Whyte Horse Winery in Monticello, Ind., says the loss of a vine is especially critical because of the time it takes to raise a fruit-bearing grapevine.

"It's not like a row crop that you can replant and harvest the next year," he says. "If you lose a vine, you're looking at three to four years to recovery."

To help minimize the potential for drift, the report notes that growers of specialty crops can list their fields on the online registry DriftWatch, developed at Purdue. Herbicide applicators use the maps on the site to look for sensitive areas before spraying.

Leighanne Hahn, the website's director of operations, says the agricultural community has accepted DriftWatch tools readily.

"Our users tell us that it works," she says in the report. "As the interaction between row-crop farmers and growers of specialty crops increases, mutual respect is going to continue to develop. Everybody's going to find ways to work together."

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Source: Leighanne Hahn: 765-427-3472, support@fieldwatch.com

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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