News

Don’t get the drift - think before you spray

Thursday 31 January 2019

With recent hot weather think about your neighbours, particularly those with vineyards, and don’t underestimate the potential distance of impact before spraying summer weeds, PIRSA Biosecurity SA reminds producers.


Manager Rural Chemical Operations at PIRSA Biosecurity SA, Michael McManus, said producers must be particularly alert to NOT spray during inversion conditions.

“While we are aware the recent heatwave conditions have limited the day times available for spraying, the new label instructions on 2,4-D products which came into effect in October last year do include a legal requirement to NOT spray during inversion conditions,” he said.

“Inversion conditions are likely in the early morning, evening and at night. So undertaking planning before any spraying operation is a key to avoiding such issues.

“Actively growing grapevines are highly susceptible to off-target herbicides, so as part of any planning process it is vitally important to be aware of sensitive crops in your surrounding area, even those many kilometres away, and check that the weather conditions are suitable.

“Good planning is not only good neighbourly behaviour but it also help to avoid any potential impacts on local and export markets.”

Mr McManus said that Biosecurity SA is investigating reports of farmers in the Riverland and Northern Mallee spraying in less than ideal conditions in mid-January.

“Being careless when spraying can result in unnecessary damage to someone else’s crops, and can also hit your own hip pocket,” he said.

“Biosecurity SA will pursue all reports of anyone who has either deliberately or negligently caused damage to others by not following regulatory requirements. If caught, offences can carry a maximum penalty of $35,000.”

The latest label instructions on 2,4-D products, set by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), are a direct result of spray drift damage from 2,4-D products in the past and aim to address the risk to non-target crops.

In addition to the requirement to NOT spray during inversion conditions, the latest instructions include new mandatory label requirements to produce very coarse (VC) droplets for all 2,4-D products. There are also advisory instructions specifically for 2,4-D use in cereals, fallow and pasture between 1 October and 15 April for summer weed control, aimed at producing extremely coarse(EC) to ultra-coarse (UC) droplet sizes.

They also include instructions for mandatory no spray zones, more clearly defined mandatory instructions for suitable weather conditions and application techniques, and detailed mandatory record keeping for all users.

For information on avoiding spray drift and best practice chemical use visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/rural_chemicals/chemical_use_best_practice

For information on the latest APVMA 2,4-D labels visit www.apvma.gov.au

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