Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) calculates pesticide buffer zone distances, in order to protect sensitive non-target organisms from those pesticide products which have been assessed to be of risk to the environment. These zones can vary in size during the spraying season, depending on weather conditions, pest control products used, and the type of spray equipment and nozzle design. Spray applicators have expressed concern over the changing nature of the buffer zones, and the resultant tendency to leave multiple rows unsprayed at certain times of the year. These unsprayed rows can act as reservoirs for insects and disease, or become weed banks which may create unwelcome risks for the remainder of the crop season.

Weather INnovations (WIN), in cooperation with Environment Canada, has been asked to develop an alternative approach, based specifically on weather conditions. This project, being conducted in Southern Ontario, will identify times during the day that are more or less favourable for spraying. This would allow the buffer zone to remain constant throughout the season.

SPRAYcast® uses decision support criteria, developed by Environment Canada, incorporated in a 3 day weather forecast. Growers can choose their field location, to obtain weather forecast data pertinent to their field operation.