‘Flag the Technology’ to Keep Your Traits Straight, Profits Safe

An innocuous $4 flag, prudently placed, could help no-tillers avoid a failed crop or an irate neighbor due to a herbicide mistake.

The thought of planting colored flags to keep track of where herbicide-tolerant crops are planted might seem a little silly to some farmers.

But would the loss of $600-$1,000 worth of corn, soybeans, rice or wheat — or a lawsuit from an angry neighbor — due to a misapplication seem funny?

Farmers may be able to reduce or eliminate the chances of these mistakes by taking a closer look at the Flag the Technology (FTT) program that has been growing in popularity in the South.

FTT is a field-marking program developed by the University of Arkansas, now adopted in several states, designed to reduce the risk of herbicide application errors, improve herbicide and technology stewardship and foster good community relations, says University of Arkansas weed scientist Bob Scott, who helped develop the flag system.

Utilizing a color-coded system of flags placed at or near field entrances, or at GPS coordinates, the system indicates the specific herbicide-tolerant trait(s) being raised in the field and makes applicators aware of sensitive crops adjacent to fields being sprayed.

Where Do I Buy Flags?

Flags to be used with the Flag the Technology program can often be purchased through local coops and chemical retail outlets, and there are also several good online sources, says University of Arkansas Extension weed scientist Bob Scott. One online source for flags that has been used since the conception of the program, he says, is www.parkerflags.com.

Multiple flags can be placed in a field where stacked technologies are used…

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John-dobberstein2

John Dobberstein

John Dobberstein is senior editor of No-Till Farmer magazine and the e-newsletter Dryland No-TillerHe previously covered agriculture for the Tulsa World and worked for daily newspapers in Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Joseph, Mich. He graduated with a B.A. in journalism and political science from Central Michigan University.

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