2005 January: Swan Hill (Vic) Spray drift. Pesticide: 2,4-D

Weed damaging grape vines

Grapegrowers around Swan Hill say their vines are being affected by drift from weed spraying on broadacre farms up to 20 kilometres away.

Widespread rain has prompted strong summer weed growth, but viticulturists say their vines are being damaged by the hormone sprays farmers are using to kill the weeds.

The president of the Swan Hill Wine Grapegrowers Association, Colin Free, says it is the second year spray-related vine distortion has been reported in the area.

He says legal options are still being considered but farmers need to be more aware of weather conditions suitable for the use of sprays such as 2-4-D.

“Horticultural areas are working their ways out into the Mallee areas further than what they have been before, so perhaps the exclusion zones do need to be widened and also possibly some exclusion zones introduced into New South Wales,” he said.