2020 CERSA Virtual Workshop
Advances in Regulatory Risk Assessment of Pesticide Drift from Unmanned Application Systems (UAS) and Manned Aerial Application
December 1-3, 2020

CERSA UAS Spray Drift Workshop Final Report

Spray drift is a major exposure pathway considered in pesticide regulatory risk assessment for human and environmental safety. Emergence of Unmanned Application System (UAS)-based pesticide application technology for crop production, mosquito control, and industrial vegetative management brings regulatory challenges and potential benefits for human safety and precision control of invasive weeds. Regulatory models like AgDRIFT® and AgDISP™ have been used by regulatory authorities like US EPA for decades to estimate spray drift from manned aerial applications. However, these models have not been updated to reflect many best management practices and newer technologies utilized today. This multi-stakeholder workshop focused on advancing the science around regulation of pesticide drift from both UAS and manned aerial applications. At the end of the workshop, attendees agreed upon a set of consensus statements:

Under the auspices of the 2020 CERSA Virtual Workshop Advances in Regulatory Risk Assessment of Pesticide Drift from Unmanned Application Systems (UAS) and Manned Aerial Application, multiple stakeholders across public and private sectors agree that:

  1. We promote the implementation of UAS platforms in a complementary manner to conventional aerial and ground application equipment rather than a replacement for traditional application methods that may have the potential to expand application capacity in specific use conditions.
  2. We recognize the need for the development of public-domain regulatory models, supported by high quality data, for the predictions of performance, drift and exposure from the use of UAS.
  3. We commit to continuing the conversation on how to keep drift modeling for manned aircraft up-to-date, whether by revising default inputs or expanding assessments to consider higher tier simulations.
  4. We further support continued research into the effect of pesticide droplet size on efficacy for all application platforms.

Therefore, we support a concerted, collaborative effort involving diverse stakeholders in academia, government research organizations, industry sectors, and other key groups to develop research protocols, empirical data and regulatory models in order to drive this effort forward.

Please reference the Main Menu to navigate to each of the subpages containing information relevant to the workshop. Coming out of the December 2020 workshop, this website is intended to serve as an archive of presentations, materials, and other resources related to this topic, and to be a hub for ongoing working group activities.


For any questions, please contact:
Geoff Bock, Project Manager, NC Plant Sciences Initiative, NC State University, grbock@ncsu.edu