Cropping

Bodies unite on message for safe summer spraying

Grain Central, January 19, 2022

THE National Farmers Federation (NFF), Cotton Australia, Grain Growers Limited, and the Ricegrowers Association of Australia have united to send a message to all farmers about adhering to best practice during the summer spraying season.

“This isn’t about one sector or industry, it’s about an entire farming community coming together to take action to prevent potential losses which can be devastating for farming families,” National Farmers Federation CEO Tony Mahar said.

“We know that the vast majority of farmers are doing the right thing and taking the actions required as part of our best practice methodology, but we need everyone to be on the same page because one mistake can make a huge difference.”

Grain Growers CEO Dave McKeon reminded all agricultural stakeholders that laws as well as best practice ensure compliance.

“There is no question that growers need to comply with the laws around chemical spraying, and we support authorities in bringing to justice anyone who knowingly breaks the law.”

However, Mr McKeon said cooperation between all growers and respect for what they produce should drive the best outcomes for all.

“We all share a love of the land and many grow a variety of crops.

“Nobody wants to lose produce because someone has been negligent in their spraying activities and it is the industry itself that can minimise damage.”

Ricegrowers Association of Australia executive director Graeme Kruger said farmers and their peak-bodies drive the solutions.

“There are a range of tools to assist spray management and most are online, making access easier and timely.

“I applaud the actions of Grain Growers and others in their development and supply of very effective tools for a range of applications including weather monitoring, field mapping and planning and spray recording technology.”

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said cotton was particularly sensitive to spray drift from Group I herbicides (phenoxy herbicides including 2,4-D) and the sector had suffered many millions of dollars in production losses due to off-target damage.

“Suffering spray drift damage is frustrating and has a detrimental financial impact on our growers, which is why Cotton Australia has continued to invest considerable time and money into tackling the issue.

“We train, educate and communicate regularly on what is expected while encouraging all our farmers to map their activities on SataCrop, a mapping tool informing all stakeholders of the location of potentially sensitive crops.”

Mr Mahar said Australians cared about their neighbours, a sentiment felt strongly by farmers throughout the country who were committed to doing the right thing.

Tips for safe, effective and responsible spraying:

  • Read and follow label instructions – it is a legal requirement.
  • Ensure spray applicators are fully trained and accredited;
  • Monitor conditions before, during and after spraying. Do not spray when there is a surface temperature inversion – likely to occur between midnight and sunrise – or when wind speeds are very low;
  • Consider your neighbours, and always notify them of your spray plan.

Source: Cotton Australia, Grain Growers Ltd, NFF, Ricegrowers Association of Australia

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