Farm-A-Syst Pest Control Risk Assessment Quiz

For each category listed on the left that is appropriate to your farm, read across to the right and find the statement that best describes conditions on your farm, and click the radio button for that condition. If a category is not applicable to your farm, don't click any radio buttons. When you are done click the 'Score' button to view your risk assessment.

Words marked in red italics should be reviewed in the glossary before the question is answered. Results listed in Bold are ones which may not only be dangerous, but also illegal.

Soil texture Fine or moderately fine (silty clay loam, clay loam, silty clay, clay, sandy clay).
Medium (loam, silt loam, silt, very fine sandy loam, sandy clay loam).
Moderately coarse (sandy loam, fine or very fine loamy sand).
Coarse (sand, loamy sand, loamy coarse sand).

Soil structure Soil is crumbly, loose, and well-aerated.
Soil has definite structure and is not compacted.
Soil is lumpy, tight, or slightly compacted.
Soil is cloddy or dusty, compacted, and poorly aerated.

Soil fertility All nutrients at recommended levels, based on soil test values.
Major nutrients at recommended levels.
Nutrients below adequate levels or unbalanced.
Soil not tested. Fertility not known.

Depth to groundwater Greater than 50 feet.
30 to 50 feet.
10 to 30 feet.
Less than 10 feet.

Field scouting Pests monitored throughout growing season using traps, visual inspection, whole plant counts, surveys, sampling or computer modeling.
Pests monitored during critical periods of crop development (for example, seedling stage, flowering, fruit set).
General crop condition (including pests) observed during routine farm activities.
Crops are not inspected for pests.

Pest identification Local professional (Extension agent or consultant) identifies pests.
Pests identified by person trained through Extension agent, short courses, etc.
Pest ID done by self-trained or inexperienced person.
Pests not identified.

Planning and recordkeeping IPM-related information recorded in detail, records are kept for several years, AND manager refers to records to plan pest management program.
IPM information is recorded, and records are kept for a few years.
Records kept only on pesticide use as required by federal or state law.
No records are kept, or they are difficult to access.

Crop rotation
(Not applicable to orchards, pastures,
or hay crops kept longer than 10 years)
Rotation of at least 3 dissimilar crops designed to reduce pest pressure.
Rotation of 2 to 3 dissimilar crops.
Two crop rotation.
Single or closely related crop species grown in the same field 3 or more years in a row.

Resistant varieties Resistant varieties always planted when available.
Resistant varieties sometimes planted when available.
Resistant varieties rarely planted.
Resistant varieties not planted when available.

Cultivation Weed control exclusively by mechanical methods. Mowing, disking, tilling, or hand weeding.
Primarily mechanical weeds control methods used with directed spray, band spray, spot treatment, or wick applicators. OR No-till residue/weed crontrol used longer than two years.
Mechanical weed control used in conjunction with broadcast spraying. OR First or second year of no-till operation.
Little or no mechanical control used (except no-till). Herbicide control program used exclusively.

Pest habitat management Breeding/overwintering sites of specific pests identified and reduced by cultural means (for example, plowdown, removal of prunings, grazing, hoeing).
Breeding/overwintering sites of specific pests identified and reduced with chemicals (spraying fence rows, ditches, turnrows).
Good general sanitation practiced (waste areas mowed, crop residue plowed down [except no-till]).
No effort to remove breeding/overwintering sites. Uncultivated areas overgrown with weeds.

Equipment cleaning Soil and plant parts always cleaned from equipment between fields to prevent the spread of insects, diseases, and weeds.
Soil and plant parts frequently cleaned from equipment between fields to prevent spread of pests.
Equipment cleaned only after fields where a transmittable pest is known to exist.
Equipment usually not cleaned between fields.

Irrigation Scheduling Irrigation scheduled by monitoring soil moisture levels in the field OR by using computer model.
Irrigation scheduled using weather data to estimate crop water use.
Irrigation scheduled based on observations.
Irrigation scheduled by calendar, with no adjustment for weather conditions.

Water application rate Water application rate known.
Water application rate estimated.
No measurement of water applied.

Tailwater No tailwater produced.
Tailwater rarely produced, recycled when present.
Tailwater is common, but is recycled.
Tailwater is common, not recycled.

Beneficials and biological controls Beneficial habitat enhanced. Beneficials released when economical. Biopesticides (Bt, pyrethrum, etc.), pheromones, or selective pesticides used to minimize impact on beneficials.
Beneficials have refuge in untreated/undisturbed portions of field, or in nearby fields. Selective or low-rate pesticides used when possible to minimize impact on beneficials. OR Pesticides are not used.
Beneficials are not protected or considered AND pesticides are used occasionally.
Beneficials are not protected or considered AND pesticides are used frequently.

Frequency of Pesticide use Pesticides are not used.
Pesticides used only when pest levels are large enough to do economic damage (economic threshold).
Pesticides are used at selected stages of pest development, without regard to economic threshold.
Pesticides applied at first sign of pest, or at fixed intervals (for example, every two weeks, every four days).

Choice of Pesticide Effective pest control, human health concerns, and environmental impact (for example, low toxicity, effect of beneficials, narrow spectrum, low leaching and runoff potential, low volatility) considered equally when choosing pesticides. Chemicals chosen from different classes.
Impact on environment (for example, toxicity, effect on nontarget crops and animals, solubility, volatility, persistence) is considered in selecting pesticide. Chemicals chosen from different classes.
Health and environment are not significant factors in pesticide selection. Chemicals mostly in the same class.
Pesticides selected based on past habits, relative cost, advice of others (salesmen or neighbors). Same chemical used repeatedly, no rotation of chemical classes.
Compliance with pesticide labelling Pesticides always applied, handled, and disposed according to label requirements and manufacturer recommendations, including rate used, target pest, crop treated, timing, method of application, incorporation, additives, and tank mixes.
Pesticides usually applied, handled, and disposed according to label requirements and manufacturer recommendations.
Pesticide applied at labeled rates, good general pesticide handling principles observed, but manufacturer's recommendations not considered.
Pesticides used in a manner inconsistent with labeling.

Weather conditions Weather forecast considered before pesticide applications. Pesticides never applied when wind could cause drift to reach ditches or waterways, or when rain could move pesticide off-target.
Steps are taken to reduce drift and runoff, but pesticides occasionally applied when winds could cause drift to ditches or waterways, or when rain is likely to move pesticide off-target.
Pesticides sometimes applied when winds could cause drift to ditches or waterways, or when rain is likely to move pesticide off-target.
Pesticides are frequently applied when weather conditions are unsuitable.

Spill response planning and cleanup Formal written response plan developed. Employees/family trained in response procedures. Assembled spill kit (including MSDS, product labels, and emergency phone numbers) is always on hand when handling or transporting pesticides.
No formal response plan. Employees/family instructed to notify supervisor or call authorities in case of a spill. Spill kit is incomplete or not on-site during handling/transportation. Labels and MSDS kept with products.
Not fully prepared for a spill. Employees/family unaware of spill response steps. Tools and materials for cleanup not assembled. Spill response would require 1 to 2 hours. Labels not on hand, or difficult to find. No MSDS.
No spill response planning. Labels not available. No MSDS. No tools or materials for spill clean up are available.

Applicator qualifications
(Includes custom applicators.)
Persons who mix, load, and apply pesticides are trained and licensed by state regulatory agency.
Persons who mix, load, and apply pesticides are not licensed, but are supervised by licensed applicator.
No one on the establishment is trained or certified in pesticide application.

Size of target area Exact acreage known from survey or measurement of fields.
Accurate estimate of acres in each field from aerial photos, NRCS maps, etc.
Rough estimate of acres in each field.
Acreage not known.

Equipment selection and setup Equipment treats small areas of field (spot treatment) or contacts only target pest (rope wick) when appropriate, OR equipment allows use of ultra-low volumes of pesticide.
Equipment confines pesticide to the general (likely) location of pests throughout a field (directed spray, banding), OR equipment uses low volumes of spray mix (recirculating sprayer).
Mostly broadcast application, with occasional use of banded application, OR equipment applies moderate volumes of spray mix.
Equipment for broadcast applications only, OR equipment applies high volumes of spray mix.

Calibration Equipment calibrated by electronic devices, OR calibrated each time speed, pressure, nozzles, or spray width changes.
Sprayer is recalibrated frequently based on amount of use and type of pesticide formulation.
Equipment calibrated once a year.
Equipment is not calibrated.

Equipment maintenance Sprayer maintenance performed after each use and after long periods of non-use.
Maintenance performed on a routine schedule.
Maintenance performed annually.
Repairs made as required.

Chemigation equipment Chemigation valve in place; injection unit located at pivot tower; all system interlocks being used as required; all check valves in place and functional.
Chemigation valve in place; injection unit located as far from well head as possible; injection line check valve in place; all system interlocks being used where required.
Check valve used in place of chemigation valve; injection unit adjacent to well head; injection line check valve used; no system interlocks being used.
No backflow prevention device used; no check valves used; no system interlocks; injection unit located adjacent to well head.

Send questions and comments to Craig Runyan.