Oh the Places You’ll Spray

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About Jason Deveau (Spray Guy)

Dr. Jason Deveau has been the OMAFRA Application Technology Specialist since '08. He researches and teaches methods to improve the safe, effective and efficient application of agricultural sprays in specialty crops, field crops and controlled environments. He is the co-administrator of Sprayers101, co-author of the Airblast101 Textbook, a slow cyclist and an even slower runner.

See all posts by Jason Deveau (Spray Guy).

Enjoy our take on a Dr. Seuss work-of-art. We’re sure the fine doctor would want to end resistant pig weed’s reign of terror as much as we do. Hear us recite it in the sound bar, read it yourself, or head to the bottom of the article to see the talented Bridgette Readel (@bmreadel) read it for you. Enjoy!

Press Play to hear the audio version of this article

In the home farm’s west field,
where the soybeans won’t grow,
and the wind blows the soil from deep tillage you know,
and no pollinators come, excepting old crows
is the patch of resistant pigweed.

And downhill in the boundary, some neighbours say,
if you look close enough you can still see today,
where herbicide persisted,
in the places it drifted,
from the winds that took it away.

How did it drift?
How did it get there?
And why was it lifted and taken somewhere
from the home farm’s west field where the soybeans won’t grow?
Look to the sprayer.
Look close, and you’ll know.

You won’t see Coarse nozzles.
You will see high booms
that wobble and bounce on a sprayer that zooms
in headwinds too high
in the late afternoon.
They may even spray by the light of the moon!

Check the chemical shed.
Crack the door, just a fraction.
You’re likely to see
A lone mode of action.

“Tell me how,” says the farmer
“I’ll do what you say.”
“But I only have so many hours in the day
to spray the west field where the soybeans won’t grow,
and battle the pigweed that simply won’t go.”

“Oh the things you can do! So much can be done!”
“Learn to spray in light winds, in the day, in the sun!”
“Lower booms, use more water, use droplets so Coarse.”
“We’ve told you before…
(you will note we are hoarse.)”

The farmer said nothing, just gave us a glance.
We could tell he was thinking of time, effort and cash.
“Driving slow improves coverage,
and you can make up the time,
with faster fills, longer booms, and more precise A-B lines.”

That was long, long ago.
Let’s check in today,
and see if the problems have withered away.

In the home farm’s west field,
where the soybeans now grow,
and cover crops cling to the soil down below,
the pollinators buzz because drift doesn’t blow.

And the pigweed?
Still there.
…but it’s under control.