WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A Purdue University online series on
Indiana grapes and wines continues this week with a report examining the issue
of herbicide drift and how it can affect vineyards.
Part 2 of “Through the Grapevine,” produced by the
Department of Agricultural Communication, appears on the website of the Purdue
This week’s report notes that drift poses a significant
threat to grape growers, particularly in the Midwest where vineyards often are
surrounded by corn and soybean fields that are sprayed with herbicides to
In the report, Larry Pampel, co-owner of Whyte Horse Winery
in Monticello, said the loss of a vine is especially critical because of the
time it takes to raise a fruit-bearing grapevine.
“It’s not like a row crop that you can replant and harvest
the next year,” he said. “If you lose a vine, you’re looking at three to four
years to recovery.”
To help minimize the potential for drift, the report notes
that growers of specialty crops can list their fields on the online registry
DriftWatch, developed at Purdue. Herbicide applicators use the maps on the site
to look for sensitive areas before spraying.
Leighanne Hahn, the website’s director of operations, said
the agricultural community has accepted DriftWatch tools readily.
“Our users tell us that it works,” she said in the report.
“As the interaction between row-crop farmers and growers of specialty crops
increases, mutual respect is going to continue to develop. Everybody’s going to
find ways to work together.”