chemical field applicator
AVOID PROBLEMS: Protection of gardens and crops sensitive to spray drift, along with protecting honeybee hives, is the purpose of Iowa’s sensitive-site registry.

Iowa updates directory on sensitive crops, honeybee locations

FieldWatch directory will replace Iowa’s current registry; goal is to improve communication between farmers and chemical applicators.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is encouraging Iowans with pesticide sensitive crops and those who have apiaries or beehives to register their locations using the department’s new sensitive-crop registry through FieldWatch Inc., a nonprofit created by Purdue University in collaboration with interested ag stakeholder groups.

The registry offers two online platforms providing state-of-the-art mapping features. DriftWatch is a registry site for use by producers of commercial crops sensitive to pesticides and includes online capacity to map boundaries around production fields. BeeCheck is a registry site for beekeepers that designates 1-mile radius boundaries around apiaries. Producers of sensitive crops who also have apiaries can enter their beehive locations using either the DriftWatch or BeeCheck registries.

Streamlined data entry, better accuracy
“We’re excited to offer this new directory with all of its capabilities,” says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. “The mapping features, streamlined data entry and increased accuracy of the information presented will promote better communication of sensitive site data between farmers and pesticide applicators. By improving our sensitive crop registry we hope to make sure Iowa continues to be a great place for all types of agriculture.”

Commercial pesticide applicators are also encouraged to register through FieldWatch to gain increased access to mapping features and email notifications about new sensitive sites in their spray areas. Applicators of farm chemicals can also access downloadable files for a $100-per-year fee. Also, agriculture retailers can join for a $500 fee and $100 per location to give multiple applicators access to the downloadable files.

An information session for applicators will be held during the FieldWatch annual meeting Feb. 15 as part of the Agribusiness Showcase and Conference at the Iowa state fairgrounds. More information about this session is at

The new registry was made possible by a monetary award presented to IDALS by the Agribusiness Association of Iowa Foundation. Donors included the Iowa Agriculture Aviation Association, Syngenta Crop Protection, Dow AgroSciences, Growmark Foundation, Monsanto, BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Iowa Wine Growers Association, Crop Production Services Inc., Helena Chemical and Meridian Agriculture.

Find beehives, orchards, sensitive crops
What’s listed in the directory? Along with apiary sites, sites that are half an acre or larger and are commercial vineyards, orchards, fruit and vegetable growing sites, nursery and Christmas tree production sites, and certified organic crops are all included in the registry. 

What if you want to use “No Spray” signs instead? The signs will still be provided at cost by IDALS.  FieldWatch also offers signage on its website. Links to the FieldWatch site and the ag department’s “No Spray” signs can be found at online. Direct your questions to Paul Ovrom, IDALS state horticulturist, at [email protected] or 515-242-6239.

Iowa has had a sensitive site registry for a decade run by IDALS, but FieldWatch is a step up and will be a benefit to Iowa. “This will make it easier for folks to register their sites,” says Northey. “It’ll make it easier for those applying crop protection products to be able to figure out where those sites are. It’s going to be very important to maintain the opportunity to use pesticide products, where we need to use the products, and be able to protect other sensitive crops and certainly our pollinators as well.” 

Registered producers and beekeepers may update their information at any time during the year. However, because registration expires Dec. 31 yearly, producers and beekeepers who wish to remain actively registered must confirm, and edit if necessary, their registration information beginning in January of the following year.

Source: Iowa Department of Agriculture


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