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Published July 20, 2010, 09:45 AM

Wind hampers spraying

The region’s aerial crop sprayers say they’ve caught up after frequent wind delays.

By: Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

The region’s aerial crop sprayers say they’ve caught up after frequent wind delays.

“There’s been a lot of wind. We were behind, but we’ve caught up,” says Chris Orwick, a pilot who sprays crops in both the Oslo, Minn., and Michigan, N.D., areas.

Spraying in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana was slowed in June by frequent showers and high winds.

In Michigan, N.D., for instance, the average daily speed in June was 8.8 mph, 3.7 mph above normal. The maximum average daily speed for the month was 23 mph, 8 mph above normal, according to the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.

Much of the wind carried moisture with it. Much of the wind also came from the southwest, which was unusual, Orwick says.

Aerial spraying was complicated this year because some of the crop got in early and some did not, he says.

At Dakota Air Service in Britton, S.D., favorable weather allowed spraying to get back on track in early July, says Ryan Furman, an employee.

Spring wheat and soybeans have been treated with fungicide, and alfalfa has been sprayed for aphids, he says.

The average daily wind speed in June in Britton was 8.4 mph, 2.9 mph above normal, according to the North Dakota Agricultural Weather Network.

The maximum average daily wind speed for the month was 24 mph, 7 mph above normal.

Crops in his immediate area look good, although conditions vary elsewhere, Furman says.

Ed Obie, with Obie Flying Service in Chinook, Mont., says crops are looking good, making it more difficult for weeds to thrive.

His business primarily applies chemicals to kill weeds in small grains, and he was nearly finished for the season in early July.

Tim McPherson of Tall Towers Aviation in Page, N.D., says he’s caught up for now.

But he says he’ll continue spraying well into fall, as usual, applying chemicals to crops as conditions warrant.

In North Dakota, post-emergence spraying for the control of broadleaf weeds and wild oats were 96 and 97 percent completed, respectively, as of July 11, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

In Minnesota, dry conditions in some area were good for spraying in the week of July 4, NASS says.

In South Dakota, mostly sunny and dry conditions in the week of July 4 boosted spraying, NASS says.

Conditions across North Dakota, Minnesota, South Dakota and Montana were conductive to fieldwork during most of the first half of July, NASS says.

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