Weeds surge triggers spray drift concerns

Grain Central January 28, 2020

AS WEED sprayers move into paddocks across the northern farming zone after widespread rains, producers are being urged to take precautions to prevent the chance of spray drift causing damage to off-target crops.

Cotton Australia policy officer Paul Sloman said broadacre farmers to take advantage of their first chance in a long time to conduct weed spraying programs in preparation for late summer crop sowing or to conserve moisture for winter crop.

“We are alerting all of agriculture to be mindful of the fact that there are cotton crops in the ground, even if a very small Australian crop of 60,000 hectares this year,” he said.

“We are getting towards the pointy end of the season where money and water have been invested, so the last thing these growers want to see is damage to the crops due to off-target spray drift.

“And anyone who is planting a late summer crop doesn’t want to be hit with anything either because they are desperate for cash flow.”

Mr Sloman said for many producers, the long-running drought meant spray equipment had remained in the sheds unused for a very long time.

“Some sprayers wouldn’t have been used for in excess of 12 months, so we are really encouraging everyone to make sure they are calibrated and you check the nozzles to make sure they comply with the new 24-D label which was updated about 12 months ago,” he said.

“And they must make sure they check the weather conditions before they spray to ensure they are conducive to reducing off-target spray drift.”

Mr Sloman said effective application would minimise the risk of off-target spray damage and he encouraged growers to map their paddocks in SataCrop to further reduce the risk of crops being impacted by spray drift.

Launched in 2019, SataCrop is an industry initiative developed by Cotton Australia and Precision Cropping Technologies (PCT) and has the ability to map all crop types, including cotton, grains and tree crops.

“Satacrop is the industry’s new cropping tool. What really separates it from its predecessor is that it is for mapping all crops, not just cotton,” he said.

“SataCrop is a tool to mitigate the risk of spray drift by allowing operators to understand where sensitive crops are located in proximity to their spray operation.

“This crop mapping tool allows spray applicators to identify any nearby sensitive crops and tailor spray plans to only occur when weather conditions are suitable.”

Growers are reminded to:

  • Read and follow spray label instructions, and ensure they understand the APVMA’s label changes to 2,4-D products.
  • Check the conditions before spraying. Do not spray when there is a surface temperature inversion.
  • Check nozzles for wear and tear, and ensure the spray rig is calibrated before commencing spraying.
  • Ensure only trained and certified operators perform any spray operations.

Source: Cotton Australia



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