Coming Soon, Aquatic & Mosquito Online Course
By UW-PAT Program.

Awhile ago the PAT program launched the Turf & Landscape (Category 3.0) online course. Since launch, 88 people have gone through the course. The Turf & Landscape was our first effort at online distance learning. This summer we launch our second online course; this one in the category Aquatic & Mosquito (category 5.0).

Online courses are $60 and come with a pdf of the manual. To purchase an online course go to the PAT Store and click "buy" as you would as if you were buying a printed manual. Training certificates for online courses are sent through UPS to the address given in the order.

PAT Store

Category 5.0, Aquatic & Mosquito Description

Audio (MP3)

Drone Use in Agriculture and New FAA Regulations
By Steve Tomasko, UW PAT Program.

Agriculture is humming these days, and it’s not just the sound of equipment on the ground any more. You’ve no doubt heard about drones, more technical known as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). A drone is an aircraft without a human pilot onboard—instead, the UAS is controlled from an operator on the ground. And though you may think of them as simply big kid toys, or something Amazon wants to use to deliver your packages, agriculture is set to become the biggest market for drones. Some estimate that nearly 80 percent of the commercial market for UASs will eventually be for agricultural uses.

Growers can use drones to gather a wide variety of data about the condition of crops, fields and livestock, including: plant height, count, and health; presence of disease and weeds; crop scouting, drought assessment, and much, much more. Producers can, of course, get the same data through manned planes, satellites or a good walk through the field. Drones, however, can gather data much quicker (and cheaper than manned planes).

As with many things, however, there are regulations to consider. On June 21, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a new set of regulations for small drones (UAS). The FAA developed the rules for commercial use of drones to minimize risks of their use to other aircraft and people and property on the ground. The new regulations are known as “Part 107” of the Federal Aviation Regulations and pertain to drones weighing less than 55 pounds.

The rules first split UAS users into two basic camps: hobbyists, or those “flying for fun,” and commercial users. FAA views all agricultural drone activity as commercial drone operation. There are quite a few rules commercial users must follow, and we don’t have room here to cover everything. However, we’ll hit some of the major points here and give you some resources at the end of the article if you need to dive deeper into this.

Pilot Certification

To operate a UAS, the pilot must have a Remote Pilot Certificate, or be under the direct supervision of someone who is certified. A potential pilot must be at least 16 years old and have passed an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.

Operating Regulations

You are only allowed to use drones during daylight hours. If the UAS is equipped with operational anti-collision lights, they may be operated during twilight hours as well (30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset).

Drones cannot go higher than 400 feet above ground level and cannot go faster than 100 mph. The aircraft must be in line of sight at all times, without the aid of binoculars or similar devices, and must yield to other aircraft. You cannot fly a drone directly over people not involved in the operation unless those people are in a covered structure or in a covered vehicle.

The aircraft can be flown in class G airspace without contacting air traffic control. If the aircraft is going to be operated in B, C, D or E airspace, prior permission must be received by air traffic control. The aircraft can only be operated from a moving vehicle in a sparsely populated area.

UAS Certification

The pilot in command is responsible for assuring that the UAS is in good operational condition. The pilot is also responsible for reporting any accidents that result in damages more than $500 to any property other than the drone itself within 10 days of the accident.


Operators can apply for waivers for some, but not all, of the above regulations (and others we didn’t discuss) if they can prove the proposed flight will be conducted safely under a waiver. The FAA will make an online portal available to apply for these waivers in the months ahead.

Government Agency Use

Though we’ve been discussing drone use for and by agricultural producers, government agencies are also getting into the game. Some of these (such as UW-Extension researchers and agents) might use drones to help out producers. Government entities or organizations have 2 options for flying UAS:

  1. Fly under the small UAS rule – follow all rules under 14 CFR part 107, including aircraft and pilot requirements, or

  2. Obtain a blanket public Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) – permits nationwide flights in Class G airspace at or below 400 feet, self-certification of the UAS pilot, and the option to obtain emergency COAs (e-COAs) under special circumstances

Again, as noted above, there is much more to these regulations than we can cover here without boring you to death. Below are some links you can use to get more information:

FAA News Release

FAA UAS Fact Sheet

FAA Summary

Fly for Work/Business

Government Entity Specific

Audio (MP3)

Certification and Training Update
By Glenn Nice, UW PAT Program

The new certification and training rules proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have gone through the public comment period and have been passed on to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for review. I have not seen if the comment period has changed the proposed rules. For a summary of the proposed changes see the PAT CHAT Newsletter “Certification & Training Rules Changes, in a Little More Detail,” link below.

Certification & Training Rule Changes, in a Little More Detail

Proposed Rules

Audio (MP3)

Pesticide Resistance Part I: Some Basics
By Steve Tomasko, PAT Program

Whole books have been written about pesticide resistance—and I don’t think you want to read a whole book’s worth of information in this newsletter—so I’m going to cover some basics here. In this article I’ll talk about what resistance is, and why it should matter to you. In a later article, I’ll discuss how pesticide applicators can try to slow down the development of resistance.

I’m going to use insects and their resistance to insecticides as examples in this discussion, but note that the principles apply equally well to weeds that are resistant to herbicides, or fungi resistant to fungicides, etc.

What Does Pesticide Resistance Mean?

Put simply, pesticide resistance is the inherited ability of a pest to tolerate the toxic effects of a particular pesticide. That still might not be clear, so let’s break that down a little.

First, what is an “inherited ability?” Inherited means something that can be passed from one generation of insects to the next through the genes. This is shown in diagram form in Figure 1. All bugs of one species may look the same to us, but they do have a natural variability in their genes, just like humans (we don’t all look alike, or digest food the same way, or have the same metabolism). By using an insecticide we are “selecting” those individuals, who might have a rare ability to tolerate the pesticide.


Figure 1. Some individuals in a pest population have genetic traits that allow them to survive a pesticide application, as depicted by the red, or lighter colored insect in panel 1. When sprayed with a pesticide it will survive (panel 2) and the survivor’s offspring will inherit the resistant traits. This will mean a larger population of resistant individuals in the succeeding generations (panel 3). And if continued selection is applied, by using the same pesticide, eventually a population consisting mostly of resistant types will come about (panel 4). Although we depict insects in this example, resistance happens similarly for weeds and disease organisms as well.

What is the “ability” that allows an insect to overcome an insecticide? That could be many things. Perhaps a thicker exoskeleton that doesn’t allow the insecticide to get inside the bug as easily. Or, an ability to detoxify, or break down the chemical faster so it has less chance of causing the insect harm. There are many different ways for a pest to become more tolerant of a chemical.

Why Should We Care About Resistance?

As resistance becomes more frequent in a pest population, that pesticide will be less effective and its continued use will only accelerate the problem. Over time, you may find it hard or even impossible to get adequate control with that particular pesticide. So, from a practical standpoint, if a pest population becomes resistant to a pesticide, you will have lost a tool for managing that pest.

Big Numbers

Over 500 species of insects and mites are known to have insecticide resistant populations. There are at least 250 weed species that have evolved resistance to 23 of the 26 known herbicide sites of action and to 160 different herbicides. Many bacteria and fungi (both plant pests and human health agents) are resistant to pesticides and drugs as well.

A Little History

It was not long after we started using synthetic organic insecticides (such as DDT) in the 1940’s that the first cases of resistance were detected. By 1947, resistance to DDT was confirmed in houseflies. After that, with every new insecticide we developed and used (for example, organophosphates, carbamates, pyrethroids and more) cases of resistance appeared to each of these classes of chemical within 2 to 20 years in a number of pest species. This phenomenon has been described as the “pesticide treadmill”

Pesticide Treadmill

As pests evolve resistance to certain chemicals it becomes harder control them at the legal labeled rates. This often leads to more frequent applications, which makes the problem worse because you end up “selecting” for more resistant individuals. The “selection” happens because the resistant individuals more often survive and breed with one another. Eventually users switch to other pesticides, and the process can start over again—thus the “treadmill.” While researchers are coming up with new chemistries, possible new pesticides with different killing properties is not infinite.

To briefly summarize, we need to care about pesticide resistance because it inhibits our ability to control the pests we want to control. We’d like all the tools possible to do this, but we lose some of those tools when large populations of pests become resistant.

In the next edition of the PAT-CHAT Newsletter, I’ll discuss how we can fight resistance.


There are committees of researchers and industry involved in educating people about resistance and how to combat it. Here are links to some of them.

IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee):
On the IRAC’s home page you’ll find an informative (and entertaining!) video that explains insecticide resistance.

HRAC (Herbicide Resistance Action Committee)

FRAC (Fungicide Resistance Action Committee)

RRAC (Rodenticide Resistance Action Committee)

Audio (MP3)

Wild Parsnip, an expanding problem along roadsides in Wisconsin
By Mark Renz Associate Professor and Extension Specialist. University of Wisconsin Madison

Photo: Wild Parsnip, Mark Renz.

Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa), a non-native plant, was first discovered in Wisconsin before 1900. Even though this plant has been present for over 100 years populations continue to spread into unmanaged areas throughout Wisconsin. While this plant causes a range of impacts to the environment, the largest concern from this invading species is its ability to inflict burns to skin of people that come into contact with the sap from the plant. This reaction is called phytophotodermatitis as the sap will burn the skin when exposed to sunlight. Given the distribution of this species throughout the state (see map below) it’s impact on the human health of citizens of Wisconsin is likely large.

While this plant can invade a wide range of habitats, it is most commonly found in grassland areas near or alongside roadsides. In these habitats this plant is well adapted and can easily flower and produce viable seed that can be transported to nearby areas. Spread has been amplified by plants proximity to roadsides as they are often mowed after viable seed are produced and move seed long-distances. This and other factors have likely allowed for the enhanced spread of this plant.

This plant is regulated in Wisconsin by DNR invasive species rule (NR-40) as a restricted species. Due to this designation it is required that plants and reproductive propagules cannot knowingly be spread into un-infested areas. Fortunately this plant is easy to manage with a range of tools. Implementation of the appropriate management practice at the correct timing is critical. Below I summarize common control techniques available and how they can be fit into a management plan. Information is a combination of personal research, research from others and personal accounts from land managers. A detailed factsheet is available that summarizes these control efforts.


Photo: Known Observations of Wild Parsnip in Wisconsin.

Removal: Pulling or cutting the root from the stem is an effective individual plant control technique but is best utilized when infestations are small and isolated. Plants can be pulled if soil conditions allow for the removal of the taproot, but the best success has been observed when cutting the taproot with a sharp shovel 1–2” below the soil surface. If the entire taproot is severed it will not re-root and produce viable seeds. If seed is present make sure to properly dispose of so they do not spread into un-infested areas.

Mowing can be effective if timed after the emergence of flower heads, but before seeds enlarge. The optimum timing in Wisconsin is when the secondary inflorescences begin to flower. This has traditionally been around the first of July in southern Wisconsin. If using this methods plants will resprout and likely flower. In Wisconsin’s climate these resprouting plants rarely produce viable seeds IF mowed at the correct stage and the growing season is not atypically long. Mowing prior to flowering (June) will likely result in viable seed being produced if populations are not mowed when resprouts are flowering. When implementing mowing as a control method, results have been very successful if implemented at the correct stage for three consecutive years. This strategy’s effectiveness is based on the short lived seeds in the soil, therefore annual management is required for multiple years to eliminate seeds from the seedbank. Often this technique when initiated in the first year will result in an increase in the number of plants, with a reduction in populations not seen until the third year. Care must be taken not to mow when mature seeds are present as this will spread the seed.

While this strategy is effective and efficient it can be challenging to implement across large areas when equipment availability is limited as the window for mowing can be as narrow as a two to three week timeframe some years. Limited success is also observed if plants are unmanaged nearby and produce viable seed that can land in the mowed areas. This is typical of roadsides where areas nearest the road are only managed.

Grazing/Biological Control: Wild parsnip is readily grazed by a variety of animals. While effective in suppressing aboveground growth, if parsnip constitutes too great a percentage of animals’ diets they can also develop toxicity to the plant. Light skinned livestock are particularly sensitive to wild parsnip, while dark skinned animals can tolerate ingesting this plant. If grazing animals on parsnip, ensure that other forages are included in sufficient amounts to prevent injury. While no studies have been conducted on long-term effectiveness of grazing, it is expected that 3-5 years of grazing at an intensity that would prevent seed production would be required to substantially reduce populations. Several insects including the parsnip webworm can also feed and induce substantial injury to wild parsnip. While these can result in near complete defoliation of individual plants and prevent seed production, effectiveness of insects in reducing large populations has not been observed.

Prescribed Fire: Spring burns can kill germinating seedlings and can suppress above-ground growth of established plants depending on fire intensity. While seedlings are often killed as a result of fire many rosette plants will resprout and flower if not managed. This management method is not recommended unless integrated with other techniques such as mowing or herbicides.

Herbicides: A range of herbicides are effective at controlling wild parsnip. While research has shown that these products can control wild parsnip at any stage of development, the best results with the lowest rates applied have been obtained in the fall (September – October) to rosettes. Applications of herbicides that include metsulfuron, 2,4-D, or dicamba have provided greater than 90% reduction in flowering plants the following year. Unfortunately seedling germination the following spring is not reduced from herbicides with extended residual activity, therefore application would need to be applied the following year to prevent seed productions for two consecutive years.

Spring applications to rosettes (April-May) can alleviate this issue if timed after seedling emergence as they will control seedlings and rosettes. This can result in two years of prevention of seed production with one application. Applications to plants that are about to or are flowering (June) can be effective, but higher rates of herbicides are required to prevent seed production. Applications when seeds are present on the plant (late July –August) ARE NOT RECOMMENDED as plants are beginning to senesce and viable seed has already been produced by the plants.

It is important to remember that these active ingredients mentioned can impact other broadleaf species, but are safe to most established grasses. If concerned about off-target damage to nearby desirable broadleaf plants spot or individual spot treatments are recommended. Non selective herbicides that contain glyphosate, while effective, are not recommended in grasslands as they will also injure desirable grasses and lead to reinvasion from parsnip or other unwanted species.

Selection of the appropriate herbicide for a site is critical to be in compliance with the label and minimize non-target damage. As many of these infestations are on/near roadsides, drift of herbicides should be considered. Often sensitive crops are grown adjacent to these locations that could be injured if the herbicides drift off-target. While drift can occur any time of the year, spring and summer applications are of the greatest concern. Fall applications after crops have senesced or been harvested can alleviate some of the risk, but depending on the product and rate applied enough residual activity may persist and cause injury the following spring.

Developing a management plan: While these management tools can be effective, the best results occur when individuals develop a multi-year management plan for infestations as one year of control with any technique rarely eradicates populations. These plans should include mapping, identification and implementation of acceptable control practices that fit the location, and monitoring of success of control methods applied. As some populations are too large for treatment in one year, this also allows for the development of a strategic plan that works from the leading edges of the infestation inward to over multiple years to efficiently reduce the population.

UW Extension Weed ID Site
For further information on how to identify and manage wild parsnip. Enter wild Parnip in the search box.

Audio (MP3)

Poly Tanks
By Glenn Nice, UW PAT Program.

Poly tanks are used extensively in the world of pesticide application and chemical storage. These polyethylene tanks are usually called "poly tanks" for short and are common on farms where they are used to store pesticides, water, and fertilizers. Businesses such as lawn care companies, grounds facilities and anywhere where chemicals may be stored use poly tanks. They are also commonly used in the application equipment itself.


Poly tanks are so common and used for so many different things for several reasons. The first is that they are cost effective; poly tanks tend to be cheaper than tanks made of other materials. In a review of poly tank prices over several companies in July 2016, the average price worked out to be about $0.85 per gallon of storage averaged over many different sizes and types of tanks. This cost per gallon of storage tended to decrease as the size of the tank increased. It also was variable depending on tank construction, whether a sump pump was included, etc.

Poly tanks are available from many different retailers and come in many different shapes and sizes. They tend to be compatible with many of the chemicals used in the industry, specifically pesticides and fertilizers.


Poly tanks are constructed from chemically-resistant resins of either high density linear (HDLPE) or cross-linked (XLPE) poythylene. Both work well for most cases, but XLPE can be more chemically resistant [1]. Tanks are manufactured using “roto-molding.” Roto-molding is sales slang for rotational molding, a process where the mold for the tank is rotated evenly distributing the heated resin. In poly tank construction a UV-inhibitor is added to the resins to reduce UV damage. In some cases, tanks will be painted or constructed using colors that reflect UV light. However, UV light can still eventually break down poly tanks.

When reading the specifications of a poly tank it will provide its size, whether it is HDLPE or XLPE and in many cases it will provide the tanks specific gravity.

Specific Gravity:

When searching to buy poly tanks you will often see in the specifications specific gravity or less commonly you may see specific weight. Specific weight is a measurement of the weight of a substance per unit of volume. For example, water’s specific weight is about 8.338 lb per gallon at 60 degrees F. This can increase or decrease based on temperature and impurities in the water. Specific gravity associated with poly tanks is based on the specific weight of water.

Specific gravity is a ratio most often based on water’s average specific weight of 8.334 lb/gal. Since water is the standard, water has a specific gravity of 1. So in the specifications, if a poly tank has a specific gravity, often abbreviated to simply “sp” of 1 it can hold the weight of water or any other liquid that has a specific weight of 8.334 lb/gallon. In a survey of poly tank sales sites tanks had ratings for specific gravities of up to 1.9. A poly tank that has a specific gravity of 1.5 can hold liquids 1.5 times heavier than water.

What does this mean for how we use poly tanks? In the case of application equipment where the substance we are putting in the tank is mostly water with a little bit of pesticide poly tanks with a specific gravity of 1 work. However, if you were storing large amounts of pesticide concentrate you would have to use poly tanks that have higher specific gravities. A familiar glyphosate product had a specific gravity of 1.36, meaning that a poly tank rated for a specific gravity of 1.5 should be used. I did not find any poly tanks rated sp of 1.4. Fertilizers can have specific weights 10 to 12 lb/gal having specific gravities of 1.2 to 1.4 [1].

When Buying a poly tank:

In the publication “Poly Tanks for Farms and Business” by Purdue University (PPP-77), authors propose six questions to ask before buying a poly tank.

  1. What size of tank do you need?
  2. How will the poly tank be used?
  3. What specific gravity rating should be used?
  4. What level of service do you expect?
  5. How much does the poly tank really cost?
  6. How does the poly tank compare to tanks made of fiberglass or metals?

The size of the tank is going to depend on what it is going to be used for. Whether the tank is going to be stationary or used for transporting.


Poly tanks are often used to transport liquids. If the tank is going to be used for transporting 1,000 gallons or more it is recommended that you use baffles to help control the liquid from surging. Having 1,000 gallons or more of a liquid surging back and forth behind you pushing and pulling your vehicle is not a comfortable feeling. Loads that exceed 80,000 lb on Class A highways and 48,000 lb on class B highways will require permits from the DOT [2]. Class B highways being county roads, streets, etc. [3].

It is also important to assure that your vehicle or trailer can support the weight. Steering, bearings, tires, suspensions and brakes must all be suitable to haul the load. Check your gross vehicle weight rating to assure that your vehicle and trailer is able to take the weight.

Assure that the load is secure. Some poly tanks are designed specifically for transport. These tanks are molded to provide areas for strapping to secure the tank. There is a certain amount of bulging when tanks are full. It is important to tighten straps and hoops before filling, but then again once full. However, do not over tighten them, for it can lead to deforming the tank and stress to the tanks.

Water Testing:

Some manufactures require a water testing of new tanks, before being used for chemical storage. It is not a bad idea to do it even if the manufacture does not require it. Assemble the tank so that it is functional, then fill the tanks with water and let it sit for a few days. Then inspect the tanks water levels and for leaks.


Several of the sales web sites surveyed offered a 3-year warranty on poly tanks, in some cases 5 years. This is often based on time of manufacture and not on time of sale. Most people who use poly tanks uses them far beyond the warranty. Although the warranty may cover the poly tank, it probably does not cover the material inside the tank. Lost product due to an accident may not be replaced and the cost of cleanup will most likely be yours. If the poly tank is used outside of manufacturers requirements, the warranty may become voided. Read the manufacturer’s warranty to know what is covered and what is not and under what conditions.

Ultra violet light can breakdown the polymers used in poly tanks. How quickly this occurs can depend on many things. For example, how much it is exposed to sunlight. A tank that is exposed to sunlight can show signs of damage within five to eight years [1]. Keeping a tank covered or in the barn out of the sunlight can help prolong the life of your tank. Color does not have a large impact.

It is important to conduct inspections to identify any problems. Check for new leaks or faulty components. It is difficult to identify problems with the tank walls, but there several of things you should be looking for. Scratches or gouges in the surface of the tanks. These you can usually feel with a fingernail or the tip of your finger. Scratches are a result of surface damage that can occur in regular use. Crazing is a patchwork of fine lines that can occur. Crazing may not easily be seen or felt by your fingers. Cracking can occur as the tank ages. These may not be easily identified by sight or feel. As this progresses UV cracking can form grid-like damage that breaks down over time to make a rough-feeling alligator skin looking patch. Finally, the tank can become brittle, leading to weak areas that could break going over rough roads, tracks or the weight of the liquid the tank is holding.

Marking the Tank with a Water Soluble Marker:

The first inspection method is to use a water soluble marker to check for crazing. Rub the marker over several patches of the tank in areas that might be commonly exposed to the sunlight and around fittings. Then use a cloth or paper towel quickly after applying to wipe away excess ink. The ink will settle and remain in small cracks and crazing producing a lattice work of lines. You will probably feel advance stages of deterioration if it is present.

Using Light for Inspection:

In this inspection method you place a light sources inside the tank and view the integrity of the tank walls from the outside. This method is also called “candling,” but I am hesitant to use this name because I fear someone might actually try to use a candle to do it. Use a cool light source to inspect the tank. Light shining through the polyethylene walls will reveal cracks, crazing and any small scratches you may not be able to feel.

The Bat Method:

Another method of inspection can give some people an uneasy feeling. This is to literally hit the tank with a baseball bat. Oh and only do this when the tank is empty. If the tank is in good condition it has the flexibility to endure a smack with a baseball bat. If the tank is brittle it will break with the hit of the bat. That is the whole point, if it breaks the tank was not in the condition to continue to do its job. It is far better having this break before you have pesticides in the tank and you are heading down a county road. Use the bat on the areas that are most commonly exposed to the sun.


As a final note, check with your insurance provider on if you are covered for spills and pollution from fertilizers or pesticides. You may be surprised that you are not covered. Accidents involving spills can become fairly costly with clean up and possible law suits due to damages of private property.

Much of the information for this article came from the Purdue Publication (PPP-77) “Poly Tanks for Farms and Businesses.

1. Poly Tanks for Farms and Businesses. Purdue pub PPP-77. Accessed July 20, 2016.

2. Maximum Weight Limitations Summary. Accessed August 1st, 2016.

3. Determine if a permit is required. Accessed August 1st, 2016.

Audio (MP3)

The Poison Control Center Annual Report
By Glenn Nice, PAT Program

The American Association of Poison Control Centers provide information and support you can turn to when seeking information regarding toxic chemicals or to seek guidance if you suspect a poisoning event. The Poison Control Centers' phone number is:

1 – 800 – 222 – 1222

If you suspect poisoning due to anything you can call this number and get help. This is a 24-hour phone number and is manned by trained medical personnel. However, the Poison Control Center wants you to call 911 if the person collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing or cannot be awakened.

Poison Control Centers have to record data in the National Poison Data System. This system is used to track incidence of calls and in many cases the outcome of that call. At the beginning of the year the Centers upload this data as part of the reporting process. The annual report summarizes the data collected and publishes in the journal Clinical Toxicology.

In the 2014 report, it was reported that the Poison Control Centers logged 2,890,909 closed encounters. Of those, 2,165,142 were calls involving human exposures, 56,265 were calls involving animals. The following are some results taken from the article “American Association of Poison Control Centers National Poison Data System (NPDS): 32nd Annual Report in Clinical Toxicology 53:10, 962-1147.

Of the calls involving human exposure, 91.29% were made from places of residence, 1.69% from places of work and 1.26% from schools. Most of the calls were about exposure in the home. Of the human exposures, 79.4% were logged in as being accidental, 2.4% as adverse reactions, 2.5% as misuse and tragically 11.2% as suspected suicide.

The annual report stated that most cases of human poisoning occurred by ingestion (79.63%). Do not confuse this with the most common route of pesticide exposure, that being through dermal contact. In the Poison Control Centers' report, dermal exposure was reported 6.67% of the cases. When a fatality was reported exposure occurred 81.42% by ingestion. However, the second highest amount of exposure was inhalation at 10.06% of the cases.

The annual report also breaks down the substance category involved in the exposure. They report on the top 25 categories. I have taken select categories and put them in Table 1. The number one substance category are analgesics (pain killers) at 11.29% of the human exposures. Most of the other categories are in the single percent brackets. For human exposures, pesticides were the substance category 3.33% of the time; however, this is still 83,005 calls.

Miscellaneous sedatives, hypnotics or antipsychotics are linked to the most fatalities at 13.27%. Second are miscellaneous cardiovascular drugs (13.30%), then opioids (7.89%) and then miscellaneous stimulants and street drugs at 7.39%.

Table 1. Substance Categories Most Frequently Involved in Human Exposures (Adapted from Table 17A of 2014 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 32nd Annual Report. Clinical Toxicology 53:10.)

Substance (Major Generic Cateogry)

Percent (%) [a]

Analgesics (Pain Killers)
Cosmetics / Personal Care Products
Cleaning Substances (Household)
Sedative / Hypnotics / Antipsychotics
Cardiovascular Drugs
Foreign Bodies / Toyes / Misc.

[a]Total number of substances reported in exposures.

As part of the report, the American Association of Poison Control Centers include several fatal cases providing circumstances, diagnosis, symptoms and treatment. Some cases were reported of rodenticide (anticoagulant) ingestion. Other cases report ingestion either by accident or intentional of other pesticides. NEVER store pesticides in food containers such as soda bottles or milk jugs. Pesticides should always be stored in the containers they came in and kept secure away from children or those who may use the pesticide for purposes other than its intended use.

There are many chemicals that we come in contact in our daily lives, from benign to dangerous. However, even the most benign chemical in the right circumstances, for example in the hands of a child or in combination or the wrong amount can be dangerous. Knowing, understanding and taking steps to avoid accidents and unnecessary exposures is important.

James B. Mowry PharmD, Daniel A. Spyker PhD, MD, Daniel E. Brooks MD, Naya McMillan DrPH, MS & Jay L. Schauben PharmD (2015) 2014 Annual Report of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ National Poison Data System (NPDS): 32nd Annual Report, Clinical Toxicology, 53:10, 962-1147, DOI: 10.3109/15563650.2015.1102927 Link to this article:

Audio (MP3)

Farmers Considering Ditching or Tiling Need to Check Wetland Rules First
By Steve Tomasko, UW-PAT Program.

About one out of three Wisconsin farms depend on some kind of constructed drains to remove excess water from fields. However, before considering new projects, such as digging ditches or installing drain tiles, growers need to make sure they are complying with state wetland rules.

In the past five years, there has been a large increase in the number of proposals for projects related to ditching and drain tiling. Because these projects could affect wetlands, state and federal rules may require permits before farmers can go ahead. Not all these projects require a permit, but it’s better to find out beforehand rather than after.

Wetlands provide a variety of benefits to people and the environment including flood protection, storm water storage, habitat for wildlife, including fish and waterfowl, and groundwater and shoreline protection.

Wetlands are regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the DNR and by local counties, cities and villages. Excavating or placement of any material in low areas or wetlands requires a DNR permit. The DNR has both general permits and individual permits available. DNR staff reviews proposals to determine if they comply with the state laws. State regulations require people to show that projects cannot avoid or reduce wetland impacts or that they will not have significant adverse impacts on wetlands.

For more information see the DNR Website

The DNR water resource contact person for your county

Audio (MP3)

EPA Proposes to Strengthen Requirements on use of Paraquat to Prevent Poisonings
By Steve Tomasko, UW-PAT Program.

Since 2000, accidental ingestion of paraquat has caused 17 deaths—three involving children. Because of this, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is initiating steps to stop these kinds of incidents. Short of death, paraquat can also cause severe injuries from skin or eye exposure.

Paraquat dichloride, commonly simply called “paraquat,” is one of the most widely used herbicides registered in the U.S. It is also used as a defoliant on crops such as cotton prior to harvest. Paraquat is often referred to as Gramoxone, however, that is a brand name of just one particular product that contains the pesticide.

Many poisonings from paraquat result from people illegally transferring it to beverage containers, which are later mistaken for a drink and consumed. A single sip can be fatal and there is no antidote. You should NEVER put ANY pesticide into unlabeled containers, much less into containers people could mistake for something they could drink. To prevent these tragedies, EPA is proposing:

The herbicide paraquat can kill and cause severe injury to people who are exposed to it in other ways besides drinking it. Since 2000 paraquat has caused three deaths and many severe injuries when workers have gotten the chemical onto their skin or into their eyes. To reduce exposure to workers who mix, load and apply paraquat, EPA is proposing:

The EPA is working with paraquat manufacturers to implement the new labeling and supplemental warning materials and new targeted training materials. These risk reduction measures will likely be in use before publication of the final mitigation decision later in 2016. The prohibition of hand-held applications will take place later. To allow current paraquat users time to switch to alternate products for situations where hand-held equipment is necessary, the EPA anticipates allowing registrants one year from the date of publication of the final mitigation decision for submission of revised labels that will prohibit application by hand-held equipment. The change in packaging to a closed system will require packaging design, testing, and manufacturing changes and will likely happen later.

Information for this article came from the EPA’s website.

More information on paraquat and these proposed rules

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Drift Reports Around the New Technology
By Glenn Nice, UW-PAT Program.

Reports are coming out regarding dicamba drift in relation to Roundup Ready Xtend technology [1]. This is concerning because there are no dicamba products labeled for this technology yet. This technology provides soybeans with dicamba tolerance. Soybean is a plant that is normally very sensitive to growth regulators such as dicamba. Many of these reports come from fields still planted in soybean that does not have this technology, and are very sensitive to dicamba.

It should be noted, that while the seed technology has been registered and is available this year, the use of dicamba products over the top is not. These drift reports have been associated with growers using non-labeled dicamba products over the top to control glyphosate resistant weeds. Although this may be tempting, it is not a good idea and it is illegal. Significant drift situations can cause financial repercussions for the land owner who has damaged other peoples property from drift, but also may include fines for the person who caused the drift due to breaking label instructions.

Many of these complaints have been the result of vapor drift. Vapor drift is when a pesticide is applied then evaporates into a gas and moves off-site as a vapor. The dicamba products that will eventually be labeled for use in Roundup Ready Xtend technology will be formulated to reduce vapor drift, but there will be additional requirements by the label to decrease drift potential.

Soybeans are very sensitive to growth regulators such as dicamba and 2,4-D. Symptoms seen in soybean due to exposure of growth regulators are cupping, puckering and strapping of soybean leaves. Stems and petioles can curve or twist. As a herbicide diagnostician in the past, I often found that dicamba injury would produce cupping and puckering of soybeans where 2,4-D could also produce a higher frequency of leaf strapping.

Particle drift, the movement of spray droplets off-site, often produces a clear pattern of injury. Severity of injury is greater closer to the source of injury and extends into the affected field forming finger-like or wave-like boundaries across rows. Injury eventually lowers as you move away from the source.

Vapor drift can travel greater distances than particle drift, sometimes making it more difficult to identify its source. The pattern of vapor drift can be less defined than particle drift; however, vapors can settle in lower portions of the field causing more injury in those areas. High temperatures and low humidity can increase the potential of evaporation and increase vapor drift. Temperature inversions can promote the movement of vapors.

Nozzle design, label requirements and the formulations of the pesticides themselves can all be used to inhibit drift. Dicamba products that are not labeled for use over the top of Roundup Ready Xtend technology may not have or use these technologies and will have a higher possibilities of causing a problem. Remember, you can only use labeled products over this new technology.

As applicators, we always have to be conscious of the possibility of drift. As new technology is made available to us, we must make sure that we use the technology correctly, effectively and as safely as possible. The alternative is that we may lose it before it gets a chance to be useful.

“More Herbicide Heartburn As Dicamba Injury Reports Mount” – Progressive Farmer.

Progressive Farmer

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