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60 Ways Farmers Can Protect  Surface Water
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53. Determine Your Pesticide's Potential For Runoff

flooded field

Pesticides can make their way to lakes, rivers, and streams in two basic ways. They can hitch a ride with eroding soil by "adsorbing," or attaching, to soil particles.

Or, they can dissolve in runoff water and move with the water as it flows across the surface. That is why the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service have given pesticides two different runoff ratings.

Pesticide runoff rating The pesticide runoff potential for adsorption loss indicates which pesticides are more likely to attach to soil particles and move with eroding soil. The runoff potential for solution loss indicates which pesticides are more likely to dissolve in and move with the runoff solution.
Pesticide runoff rating By contacting the NRCS, you can find out whether your pesticides have a large, medium, or small potential for adsorption-loss runoff, as well as solution-loss runoff.
Foliar application It is possible to improve the pesticide runoff rating by either foliar-applying, incorporating, or banding the pesticide over the row. For instance, if your insecticide has a medium runoff rating, but you foliar-apply it, assume that its rating is actually small.

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