Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development provides information for producers interested in obtaining aerial application services.
Aerial application businesses must be registered with provincial regulatory agencies to ensure they are employing only certified pesticide applicators, carrying insurance, and meeting provincial regulatory requirements regarding their operating practices.
Do not hire anyone to conduct aerial applications unless they hold a valid authorization for the province in which they are operating. Aerial applicators cannot cross provincial borders to provide aerial application services without authorization from the host province. In choosing an aerial applicator, seek recommendations from neighbours or suppliers who have previously used aerial application services. Provincial authorities can confirm whether an applicator is authorized to provide aerial application services.
The Canadian Aerial Applicators Association (CAAA) holds annual calibration clinics to ensure that aircraft used for aerial pesticide application are delivering sprays in a manner that ensures both even spray coverage and drift minimization. Ask whether the aircraft that will be used to spray your property has met calibration requirements. Calibration can be verified by a calibration certificate issued by the CAAA.
Applicators must use professional judgment to determine the best way to spray the field. Aerial applicators must determine how a field is to be sprayed by considering safety, product performance, and efficiency. In some cases, the applicator may only be able to spray the field when wind speed and direction are satisfactory or he may recommend spraying the field through a combination of aerial and ground equipment.
For pesticide safety, application swaths should be oriented so that the applicator is working in a light cross wind with each swath upwind of the last. Applicators should spray when winds are blowing away from sensitive areas (e.g. farmsteads, gardens, adjacent crops, wetlands, etc.) or leave a downwind buffer sufficient to minimize deposition in any sensitive areas. The applicator can determine buffer size using drift model charts and tables. Again, it is very important for applicators to know of all hazards in advance to ensure quality application in all aspects.
Spraying should cease at the onset of a temperature inversion, because fine spray droplets can remain suspended in the air and drift for considerable distances. Applicators may use “smokers” on their planes to determine how spray droplets will disperse by observing the direction and time for smoke plume dispersal. Smoke is used prior to spraying and should not be mistaken for spray drift.