Farm and Field

Review crop, liability insurance before spraying herbicides

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Jan. 14, 2018 12:01 am

Recent issues with dicamba spray drift have highlighted the need for producers to understand third-party liability associated with all herbicide applications.

"It's always important that growers understand their liability when using certain products and consult an attorney who specializes in this area for legal advice about any specific third-party pesticide injury," University of Missouri Extension economist Ray Massey said.

Crop insurance does not cover damage from pesticide drift, according to the crop insurance manual of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, Massey said. In addition to crop insurance, general liability insurance might help with third-party herbicide injury, which can include spray tank contamination, herbicide drift and volatilization.

"Liability insurance usually covers accidental tank contamination and drift, but it is less clear whether herbicide injury due to volatility is a covered loss," Massey said. "The cause of loss is a critical hurdle for insurance companies to clear because of the various causes of herbicide injury."

Massey suggests that farmers:

º Verify the applicator is certified to apply the pesticide being used. Check the applicator's license. If farmers spray their own fields, take the required training and become certified.

º Review farm policies and procedures for spraying decisions.

º Review the application for general liability coverage insurance. Update the application based on any changes in the farm operation since applying, which includes hiring an employee.

º If farmers spray their own fields, make sure to have a spray endorsement provision in the policy. If farmers spray for others, verify that the spray endorsement covers commercial as well as private applications.

MU Extension will hold both in-person and online synthetic auxin herbicide applicator training. Go to to register and for more information. For questions, call 573-882-4349.

Energy digestibility

Gestating sows digest energy in diets more efficiently than growing gilts, and a recent study from the University of Illinois is shedding light on some of the reasons why.

"Growing pigs are allowed to eat as much as they want, but sows are generally restricted in their feed intake. This may affect the absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract and increase the efficiency of digestion," said Hans Stein, a U of I professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Stein and Ph.D. candidate Gloria Casas designed an experiment to separate the effects of physiological stage and feed intake level. They fed diets containing corn, soybean meal and rice bran to 24 growing gilts at 3.5 times their maintenance energy requirement. They also fed 24 gestating sows at 3.5 times maintenance and 24 more sows at 1.5 times maintenance.

The apparent total tract digestibility of gross energy and organic matter in diets was greater in gestating sows than in growing gilts.

"The results confirmed that there is a difference in energy and nutrient digestibility between sows and growing gilts," Stein said. "However, they provide evidence against the hypothesis that level of feed intake is responsible for the difference."