Ontario's airblast sprayer operators regularly apply pesticides to ensure the health and marketability of their tree fruit, nursery, berry and vine crops. Their success relies on three things: an understanding of safe pesticide handling, criteria for what and when to spray, and having the requisite skill to apply pesticides effectively and efficiently. Until recently, operators had few if any resources to address the final point.
Airblast 101 is a four hour classroom-based course designed to provide participants with practical tools to allow them to apply pesticides, plant growth modifiers and foliar nutrients in an effective, economic and environmentally-responsible manner. Developed by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAF/MRA) and funded by Croplife Canada, this course was created to introduce a new operator to spraying, or to refresh a seasoned veteran.
Since its introduction in 2011, hundreds of operators have received a solid grounding in the basics of airblast sprayer operation, as well advanced techniques. Those that have made changes to their spray programs report significant improvement in the effectiveness of the application (i.e. improved crop quality and/or yield) and greater application
efficiency (e.g. pesticide inputs reduced by ~10% or more per annum and reduced environmental impact such as drift and runoff).
Thanks to the continuing financial support of Croplife Canada, Airblast 101 goes live at www.sprayers101.com and www.sprayers101.ca on January 1st, 2014. The website hosts all the content in the participant's handbook, but also includes a library of additional resources such as:
The website will serve as a one-stop shop for airblast sprayer information and provide information about where Airblast 101 courses are being taught. The website is free to anyone interested in improving their spray programs.
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