1970: Waggrakine (WA). Peacrop destroyed by Spray Drift. Pesticide: 2,4-D

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Legislative Assembly (Western Australia)
Tuesday, the 8th September, 1970

Tuesday 8 September 1970

p627/8

Prom the records of the Department of Agriculture it will be found that a garden
of peas consisting of several acres in the Waggrakine area was completely wiped
out. To appreciate the position fully one would need to have seen the garden in
question both before and after the disaster. Only then would one be able to
realise the danger that there Is in these volatile sprays.

When the matter was taken up with the departmental officers the only cause they
could find for the burning out of these several acres of peas was the spray being
used by farmers for the control of weeds in the Dongara area. The layman could
be excused for wondering why this spray had missed other gardens while landing
on this particular spot.

According to the departmental officers and I understand this is the correct explanation-
the spray was held in suspense for several days and then, as was mentioned by the member for Gascoyne, the prevailing southerly wind caused it to drift towards the Waggrakine area from the Dongara wheatfields and It eventually landed on these several acres of peas
which were destroyed.

There are other incidents which could be quoted in connection with this type of spraying. The member for Northern has quoted one-it probably came to his notice as a railwayman-which referred to a leaking drum of 2,4-D ester which was being carried by a train that had stopped to carry out the shunting of stock. Not very much of the spray leaked out of the drum, but it was enough to destroy an entire field of tomatoes at the Utakarra
siding.

This constitutes a warning to the people who are in control of spraying operations
and it indicates the dangers that exist, particularly when highly volatile aerial
sprays are being used. As has been pointed out. 2,4-D ester and some of the other
sprays are really quite lethal; a view with which I entirely agree.