‘Think before you spray’

Support local, independent journalism

The SE Voice is the Limestone Coast’s only fully digital publication. Locally owned & operated, we deliver all the latest news & sport direct to your fingertips. We're run by a creative team of local journalists all based in the region. News as we know has changed - we're delivering it first and free. Thank you for your support in keeping local news alive.

Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

‘Think before you spray’

Adry May, but with good June rains expected, has most grain producers across the state currently dry seeding.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is encouraging well planned associated spraying operations to avoid spray drift onto neighbouring properties or locations further afield.

Agricultural chemicals should not be sprayed in unsuitable weather when wind speeds are over 20kphr or with hazardous prevailing or predicted inversion conditions under which chemicals can drift for tens of kilometres.

Conditions should be checked by referring to local weather stations, whether that be local Mesonet, on-site or local weather stations for less detailed inversion data or, as a matter of course, not spraying one or two hours before sunset or after sunrise when inversions most frequently occur.

Another important way to reduce the potential for chemical spray drift is to strictly adhere to spray methods that do not produce fine droplets.

Fine droplets are inherently able to drift much easier and further than large, heavier droplets.

Large, course droplets are produced when the correct nozzle and pressures are chosen for spray equipment, as specified on the labels on all chemical containers.

Following label directions is mandatory and enforceable by PIRSA Compliance Officers who are currently in the regions conducting strictly applied audits on properties.

Penalties for not following mandatory label instructions can be as high as $35,000 following a successful court prosecution.

Boom height is also a key factor with the ideal height being 0.5m above the target.

When this height is not possible the requirement is for very course spray quality, for 0.75 metre boom heightand ultra course spray quality at 1 metre height.

Application speed is also a variable to be considered with lower speeds best, to a maximum of 20kph when using higher boom heights.

PIRSA encourages all community members and producers to report any incidents, misuse or observed damage to the Spray Drift Hotline 1300 799 684 or email pirsa.ruralchemicals@sa.gov.au.

People can report anonymously to the hotline.

All reports will be acted upon.

Biosecurity Investigations and Operations manager Michael McManus urged people to heed the warnings.

“We know that most producers are aware of the dangers of spray drift to their neighbours, their communities and the environment in general and we appreciate those people who are very diligent in their effort to avoid it,” he said.

“Nonetheless the risk is always there during periods of high activity so we want to remind producers to pay close attention to weather conditions and the way they apply chemicals.”

Grains Producers SA (GPSA) chief executive Brad Perry said users of agrichemicals must be spraying in accordance with approved chemical label instructions and that can include recognising such things as wind speeds, inversion conditions and nozzle size and selections.

“Grain producers are reminded they must be particularly wary of hazardous inversions, which is when cold air is trapped near the ground and spray droplets can remain suspended in the air for hours and can travel for a significant number of kilometres from the intended target,” he said.

“GPSA will again be running awareness spray campaigns this season, such as the ‘Do not Spray Your Dollars Away’ and ‘Keep Your Droplets to Yourself’, to deliver many relevant facts and actions to help prevent spray drift.

“GPSA recently held a successful Spray Forum at Freeling where grain producers, agronomists, chemical sellers and machinery retailers came together to not only hear from world renowned experts but to have the important discussions that need to be had on agrichemical application.”

Why wait? Get more stories like this delivered straight to your inbox
Join our digital edition mailing list and stay up to date on the latest news, events and special announcements from across the Limestone Coast.

Your local real estate guide - every Thursday


You might also like