Primary producers in the Mid North, Mallee and Riverland are set to benefit from the $1.4 million Mesonet weather network installation with 30 weather stations to be installed by the end of 2020.
Funded under the Marshall Liberal Government's Regional Growth Fund, the system allows producers through their mobile phones and computers, to access more applicable, up to date weather information, and in particular identify weather inversions near their properties.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the expansion of the $1.4 million localised weather system will give primary producers greater data to make an informed decision.
"By the end of this year we anticipate 30 weather stations will be installed across the Mallee and Riverland with the majority to be operational by the commencement of the fire season. This will be in addition to 40 stations that came online across the Mid North in 2019," Minister Basham said.
"Not only will the expanded system assist primary producers during the upcoming fire season but will also be invaluable, particularly to broadacre farmers, as they plan spring and summer spraying operations.
"This is a critical investment by the State Government to ensure primary producers have all the necessary data at hand so they can make responsible informed decisions in managing their properties. With this information farmers can avoid spraying when weather conditions indicate spray drift is likely.
"Estimates currently put the potential loss of value of agricultural production in the Mid North, Riverland and Murraylands from spray drift at over $430 million per annum, so it is important we continue to educate and put management tools in place to address this issue.
"While the Mesonet system is an extremely valuable tool, growers will still need to measure, assess and record the weather at the sites they are proposing to spray."
In addition to the new stations, two research stations with 3D wind sensors are also planned for Loxton and Geranium.
With recent wet weather over spring, producers are also being reminded about the need to consider good diligence when planning their spraying operations.
It is vitally important to be aware of sensitive crops, particularly newly shooting grapevines which are highly susceptible to many broad-acre herbicides.
The Mesonet weather system is managed by Ag Excellence Alliance.
To access the latest Mesonet data visit www.midnorthmesonet.taindata.com
For more information about reducing the risk of spray drift visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/chemical-bestpractice