A MILESTONE has been reached in the effort to help minimise spray drift, with a hazardous weather warning system now live for Queensland grain and cotton growers.
Known as Weather and Networked Data, or WAND, the system is the result of six years of collaborative research by the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Cotton Research and Development Corporation into meteorological conditions and the spray application of crop protection products.
This year GRDC and CRDC partnered with Goanna Ag to deliver this new technology to growers and spray applicators.
The technology will provide real-time weather data about the presence and absence of hazardous temperature inversions.
Goanna Ag has now completed construction of the first 33 WAND towers across the grain and cotton regions of Queensland.
A further 20 are also fully operational in New South Wales, and as flood waters subside, another 57 towers will be erected, bringing the total tower network to 100.
“A significant amount of the Queensland cotton cropping belt is today within 40km of a WAND tower, providing critical information for spray hazard identification to the grain and cotton regions of central and southern Queensland,” Goanna Ag CEO Alicia Garden said.
“WAND will deliver growers and their spray contractors up-to-date weather data updated every 10 minutes, identifying hazardous temperature inversion periods, giving them confidence to proceed with spray operations.”
GRDC chair John Woods said having the WAND system live in Queensland would provide enormous benefits to grain and cotton growers this summer.
“This is an important and progressive step for agriculture and GRDC are really pleased to have partnered with CRDC to support researchers Dr Graeme Tepper and Dr Warwick Grace to develop the first – and only – reliable and accurate method to determine when hazardous inversions are present,” Mr Woods said.
“We have now brought the technology and analysis to the market, into growers’ hands, through our enabling partner Goanna Ag.”
“Growers, applicators and users of crop protection products take their responsibility seriously for ensuring good efficacy and stewardship and WAND will offer a dynamic tool in real time to reduce risks and maximise opportunities.”
CRDC’s executive director Ian Taylor has urged cotton and grain growers to begin using WAND.
“WAND is available to all growers and contractors free of charge and we encourage them to sign up today,” Dr Taylor said.
“Queensland growers can start using the system immediately, as can some growers in NSW, with the full NSW system expected to be live by March.”
Source: GRDC, CRDC, Goanna Ag