A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Pausing on a ride to watch …

Written April 26th, 2016 by Hasso Hering

Pedaling along on a routine little bike ride on Tuesday, I hear this angry buzzing in the sky behind me and to the left. The video tells the story, more or less.

Well, not the whole story, obviously. I couldn’t ask the pilot his name or whose field he was spraying, nor indeed the exact nature of the stuff coming out of the nozzles of his plane. This was along Bryant Drive, and the field being treated appeared to be wheat.

This was one example of the variety of work involved in mid-valley agriculture. For a bystander down on the county road — well, a bike stander, actually —  it was a few minutes of entertainment too. And a display of piloting skill. (hh)

6 responses to “Pausing on a ride to watch …”

  1. hj.anony1 says:

    As a young boy, I would wake to that growing engine whine. Then it would trail off only to make several more cycles. Thank you for reminding me. More importantly, you providing me that close up visual! Please more video in your entries. Enjoyed it.

    Now, I am concerned about you standing so close and inhaling any of that spray that may have drifted over.

  2. Rolland Brower says:

    He flies out of an airstrip near Jefferson I believe, we hear him many times a year as he sprays the field on the other side of the river from our home. A few years back he crashed the plane, but was grounded only a short time. Fun to watch him fly and work.

  3. Pat says:

    Memories….as a youngster in North Dakota farm country we had 2 summer jobs: picking rocks left by the glaciers and they were more every year! Or “flagging” for the local aerial sprayer, which meant 2 young kids standing in line in the field so the pilot could line up his run. As he approached you would run to the end of your rope to keep the sight line straight and continue across the field as such. This was prior to EPA regs but my 2 kids are normal with advanced degrees and I got 2 cents an acre!! Now he has GPS.

  4. Ray Kopczynski says:

    Having lived a couple of years down in the Sacramento valley, these were rather ubiquitous. Always fun to watch. Not fun when you or your windshield got sprayed as the plane was turning over a road you were on. Back then the ramifications of being sprayed weren’t as well known. Most of us don’t twitch too much from the experience…

  5. Dick Olsen says:

    Thanks for the show Hasso.

  6. George Pugh says:

    My memories are similar to Pat’s. When my twin brother and I were in the third or fourth grade our father deployed us as “flaggers” for an aerial applicator that was spraying DDT for cutworms. We always believed that the over-spray cured us of sties.

    At this time the applications to wheat are most likely a fungicide for rust and/or a growth regulator to prevent lodging, i.e. the stalks falling over under the weight of the seed head.

    The general public’s lack of understanding and growing apprehension over pesticides has caused our aerial applicators liability insurance to increase to the point that he raised
    his rate per acre by 30 percent this year. And he no longer will apply insecticides.

    I wish he could take me along when he is working but economics (he needs a maximum payload) and liability won’t allow it.


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