2016 March – Spray Drift Pilot Found Guilty (Piangil Victoria)

Spray drift pilot found guilty

7 March 2016

A licenced aerial spraying pilot has been found guilty in the Swan Hill Magistrates’ Court of causing chemical spray to drift onto a neighbouring crop.

In June 2014 the pilot sprayed a selective herbicide onto a canola crop at Piangil, which subsequently drifted onto a neighbour’s wheat crop.

Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) Leading Chemical Standards Officer Alex Perera said the damage caused by the spray drift was significant.

“About 40 hectares (100 acres) of the wheat crop was affected by the pilot’s actions,” Mr Perera said.

“It’s important that all chemical users, whether they’re using ground based or aerial equipment, take appropriate steps to minimise the risk of spray drift,” he said.

“Pilots should make every effort to ensure maps provided by their clients include the location of any sensitive crops or sites in the surrounding area.”

Causing spray drift damage to plants of economic value is an offence under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992.

The pilot received a 12-month good behaviour bond, and was ordered to donate $3,000 to the Swan Hill CFA.

For more information on spray drift management, including DEDJTR’s Top 10 Spraying please contact the Customer Service Centre on 136186 or go to www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/chemicaluse.