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Risk Mitigation Management Measures

Legal requirements and situation, summary of accepted risk mitigation measures

April 26, 2017

Application technology can contribute significantly to risk mitigation with regard to PPP application.

In principle, only PPP application equipment must be used if they are in line with §16 of the plant protection law (PflSChG). Equipment tested and listed by JKI are in line with this legislation.

The brochure “Drift mindernde Technik – drift reducing technique” from the Federal Ministry for food and agriculture and JKI summarizes information on drift reducing technique (Status: Jan 2017). 

Field borders, bank hedges and wood islands of a minimum width of 3 m are considered to be edge biotopes. Farmers using NT 101 – 106 products have to observe a distance of minimum 20 m from these areas to be protected and minimum 50% drift reduction nozzles. With NT 107-109 products an additional zone of 5m has to be let untreated along to the edge biotope. There may be exceptions to these rules, depending on the region. Farmers have to check for these with their relevant plant protection service.

With regard to water protection, safety zones vary between the different Länder. Water bodies are classified at a federal level into:

- Permanent water body

- Periodic water body (usually dry from May to September, muddy below the surface, etc.)

- Occasional water body (contains only water after strong rainfall, without water there is no true waterbed to be distinguished).

Farmers are advised to act as follows to prevent spray drift:

If wind speed of > 3m/s are measured in the direction of a non-target area the application is of problematic, with a wind speed of >5 m/s the application should be postponed.

PPPs should not be applied when it is too hot or when the air is too dry. These two factors promote the evaporation of water in spray droplets and hence decrease their size, which, in turn increases the risk for spray drift. Therefore, farmers are asked to apply PPPs in the vicinity of water with temperatures < 25°C and with air humidity > 30%.

Farmers are requested to keep the appropriate distance between the spray boom and the target surface. With a distance of e.g. 70 cm about 50% more drift is produced than with a boom height of 50 cm. However, boom heights should be set according to use instructions. With products without NW[1]-conditions it is advised to lower the boom by an additional 10 cm.


In order to protect water organisms in surface waters there are so-called NW conditions (Naturhaushalt Wasserorganismen). There are to date around 1200 of these specifications. In Germany, around 80% of all PPPs are subject to these additional norms, safety distances range from 5-50 m. It might even happen that for the same product, depending on crop or timely authorization; needless to say that this does not make life easy for farmers.


Depending on the drift reducing nozzles used, the safety distance can be lowered. However, the country specific minimum distances with regard to surface waters must be kept in all cases.

Source: So bleiben Sie auf Abstand.


[1] Naturhaushalt Wasserorganismen)

Certification and approval procedure for spray drift reducing nozzles

April 26, 2017

Within the context of the authorization of plant protection products, drift endpoints are used since 1995 to assess the effects of PPPs on non-target organisms and to set use instructions. Results from 119 drift studies from 1989 to 1992 have served to calculate the 95th percentile. Rounding up the 95th percentile to 1 position after the comma has resulted in the endpoints. Additionally, more tests have been done in field crops and orchards from 1996 to 1999. These tests were conducted with improved measurement technology, allowing accurate measuring points 10 times below the previous results. Hence, soil sediments values inferior to 0.01% of the application dosage could be measures, values sometimes found at higher distances. As a result, the JKI would measures at higher distances (up to 100m) from treated fields and obtain more accurate assessments on the drift curve. 

German authorities responsible for product authorization have, in alignment with the FOCUS group (Surface Water Scenario Group), agreed an approach considering the 90th percentile instead of the 95th percentile. 

In contrast to vineyards, drift end points in orchards would distinguish between early and late growth phases. The reason is that depending on growth pace there would be significant differences in drift levels, because of lead density.

For special use areas such as home and garden, railways or other crops treated with water values > 900 l/ha, there are additional drift values.

All drift endpoints are published in the "Bundesanzeiger".

The drift endpoints can be found here.

Applicants must provide results from field tests (JKI Guideline 7-1.5) or wind channel (ISO 22856). The procedure to get a drift reducing equipment item listed as such is described in the JKI Guideline 2-2.1.

JKI also tests pesticide application equipment with regard to its potential to limit use quantities (JKI Guideline 2-3.1) and if positive, the equipment would be listed as such.


(source: website of the Julius Kühne Institut)


More information on the way drift reducing nozzles are tested to be approved for the nationally approved list of drift reducing technology can be found here.

Use of drift reducing equipment

Drift reducing equipment and nozzles are listed in the list “Verlustmindernde Geräte”. These lists contain information on the use conditions, that is, under which circumstances the indicated drift reduction is achieved. These tables are to provide an overview including pressure, use quantities etc.

At field edges special edge nozzles approved by JKI should be used or alternatively, the outer nozzles should be shut down when spraying edges, minimizing the so-called “overspray”.

Buffer zones

Even if there are no specific use instructions drift reducing nozzles should be used. Close to houses, gardens or persons a minimum distance of 2 m is to be observed, independently of the used nozzles or equipment.

Often use conditions are set that are a combination of the use of drift reducting technology and safety distances. In these cases it should be noted that the safety distance/ edge zone in the list “Verlustmindernde Geräte” is to be added to the non-treated zones .

Example: application of PPP with the following use instructions: 90% drift reduction a, 20m edge zone and 20m non treated zone.

Various buffer zone widths

The NW 605 specification provides the distances to be kept with regard to water bodies. These vary according to the product. In general, the following rules apply:

With 50-75% drift reducing nozzles a non-treated strip of 5 m must be observed. In addition, an other strip of 20m must be treated with minimum 50 or 75% drift reduction nozzles, At a distance of 25 m from the upper bank edge the drift reduction specifications are no longer mandatory.

Source: So bleiben Sie auf Abstand.

List of spray drift reducing nozzles

March 29, 2017

The list called “Verlustmindernde Geräte- Abdriftminderung” lists all drift reducing plant protection application equipement and the list is updated since 1993. Until 1999 equipment was listed if it reduced drift by minimum 90%. Since 2000 there are also drift reduction classes 50% and 75%. In the meantime, equipment allowing for a drift reduction of minimum 95% are listed as well.

Application equipment manufacturers provide for many possibilities to reduce drift. These are tested by the JKI and listed according to the results: 50%, 75%, 90% and 95%.

Source: Julius Kühne Institute

Competent bodies

March 29, 2017


Julius Kühne Institut (for nozzle testing)

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