The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has issued fines totaling $2250 to pesticide contractors after spray drift incidents in Moree and Tamworth.
The fines came after the EPA investigated complaints from a Moree grazier and a Tamworth olive grower.
Northern director Adam Gilligan said that in both incidents, the EPA had found evidence that the neighbouring properties had been affected by the spray drift.
Mr Gilligan said that, with winter spraying now under way, pesticide users must take all necessary precautions to ensure they were using pesticide products safely.
“Spray drift can impact the agricultural operations of neighbouring properties and pose a serious threat to the health of the operators, community and the environment if spraying is not carried out appropriately,” he said.
The EPA said the Moree landholder had lodged a complaint after his grazing land was subject to spray drift when an aerial operator applied pesticides to a cotton crop on the adjoining farm.
The EPA fined the aerial pesticide operator $1500.
In the other incident, the EPA issued a fine of $750 to a Tamworth-based pesticides contractor after receiving a complaint that pesticides had drifted onto an established olive grove while spraying was occurring on the adjoining farm.
Mr Gilligan said anyone using pesticides was legally required to read the product’s label instructions, follow directions, “and where appropriate, apply suitable buffer distances to ensure pesticides do not drift”.
“Other than people using small amounts of pesticides by hand in non-commercial circumstances, most operators must have received appropriate training and hold current certification in order to apply pesticides,” he said.
“Equally important, they must keep appropriate records.”