2017 April: Naaracoorte (South Australia) – Spray Drift

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Biosecurity SA investigating spray drift damage in the Riverland and Mid North

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Reports of chemical damage to grape vines caused by spray drift are being investigated by PIRSA Biosecurity SA in both the Clare Valley and Riverland.

Off-target damage to grapevines has been an ongoing issue in viticultural and horticultural areas adjacent to broad acre cropping across Australia over the last decade with the move away from cultivation and towards herbicides for summer weed control,

Certain weather conditions, such as inversions, can result in spray drift damage tens of kilometres from the application site, so producers must consider that sensitive crops may be located some distance away when planning a spray operation.

PIRSA through Biosecurity SA takes this issue very seriously. While investigations can be time consuming and spray drift origins difficult to trace due to rapidly changing weather conditions, Biosecurity SA will pursue all reports of anyone who has either deliberately or negligently caused damage to others by not following regulatory requirements. If caught offences can carry a maximum penalty of $35,000.

In April 2017 Biosecurity SA successfully prosecuted a Naracoorte farmer, who was found guilty of three charges in relation to the spray drift of herbicides and fined $15,000.