Ag Notes: Pesticide storage important in winter

February 03, 2004|JERRY LITTLE

In the midst of below-freezing temperatures and other winter weather, farmers may not think there's much reason to pay attention to pesticides. However, pesticide storage is important, especially during winter.

Safety is the primary concern so that products are kept out of reach of those who should not come into contact with them and there is little chance for spill during the winter.

You're trying to protect the products you have. If they are stored properly, most can last for at two years on the shelf and still function effectively.

The best way to store pesticides on the farm is in a sound building on a concrete block. The building should be well ventilated since fumes can build up from chemicals stored in areas with stagnate air. Also, storage temperatures may be important.


Sometimes the label will have specific information about storage temperatures.

Some say not to store the product below 40 degrees, while others are as high as 50. So, that means having at least a partially heated storage area.

Another important storage aspect is to keep pesticides out of reach of children and animals. Having a storage facility that locks is the best way.

Good shelving also is important so products are not stored on the ground. Sometimes we get heavy rain and flooding during the winter months.

That can translate into water in the storage area. Make sure you have supplies on hand to clean any spills or accidents in a timely manner.

It is important to have signs on storage facilities that indicate it is a pesticide area. Some signs even give a warning about fire hazards.

Fumes from a fire can be dangerous to anyone around, especially those battling the fire.

Winter is a good time to take inventory of all of the products in storage. It's always good to have a list of the products you have on hand.

That way when you go to purchase chemicals for next year, you will know what you need.

Check products in storage and make sure they are not expired. Examine the packaging for damage and make sure the label is still readable.

If it's a little too humid, packaging can deteriorate. Most of the products now are in plastic containers, and they generally keep well, but it's still good to check.

Products in cans have some special concerns - rust and swelling. A swelling can has a pressure build-up that needs immediate attention.

It is a good idea to always keep protective equipment on hand like gloves and body wash solutions in case of emergencies.

Homeowners may not have specific storage buildings for pesticides, and typically they don't buy pesticides in significant quantities, but storage still is important.

Homeowners need to at least put products in the garage and get them up out of the reach of children.

Make sure you know the dates on your products. Us the oldest ones first and make sure you follow the label instructions for disposal.

On the farm or in the home, pesticide users may occasionally see products with telltale signs of ineffectiveness.

Powdery products may start to clump, and liquids may separate.

Before disposing of the product, read the label to see if there are steps for correcting it. Sometimes rolling a bottle or shaking a product will help, but make sure the label allows this before trying it.

Due to the Food Quality and Protection Act, passed by Congress in 1996, homeowner use of Dursban (chlropyrifos) and Diazinon is being phased out.

In some situations, chemicals are only discontinued for homeowners and become pesticides for certified applicators.

Farmers may still be able to use them if they go through pesticide applicator training provided by the Cooperative Extension Service.

Homeowners who have products containing phased out chemicals can use the product according to label directions until it is gone.

New replacement products will be on the store shelves to replace discontinued ones.

These products will do the same tasks and also be safer for humans and the environment.

Pleasing dad

A clergyman walking down a country lane sees a young farmer struggling to load hay onto a cart after it had fallen off.

"You look hot, my son," said the pastor. "Why don't you rest a moment, and I'll go and load the hay."

"No thanks," said the young man. "My father wouldn't like it."

"Don't be silly," the minister said. "Everyone is entitled to a break. Come and have a drink of water."

Again the young man protested that his father would be upset.

Losing his patience, the cleric said, "Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him and I'll give him a piece of my mind!"

"Well," replied the young farmer, "he's under the load of hay."

Jerry Little is Boyle County extension agent for agriculture and natural resources.

Central Kentucky News Articles