February 22 2022: Spray Drift Clare (South Australia)

GPSA issues spray-drift warning to growers

Feb 22 2022 (Grain Central)

GRAIN Producers South Australia (GPSA) has warned growers that deliberately ignoring spraying laws could result in fines of up to $35,000 per offence following reports of damage to vineyards in Clare and the Riverland.

GPSA chair Adrian McCabe said the vast majority of grain growers did the right thing and followed the rules as outlined in GPSA’s Hit Your Target campaign.

“Most grain growers in South Australia implement a spraying program safely with consideration of weather conditions, other landholders, households in rural areas and crop types to minimise the risk of off-target spray damage,” Mr McCabe said.

“Grain growers who are deliberately ignoring the considerations of other crops when spraying could receive a maximum penalty of $35,000 per offence, reflecting the seriousness of not following mandatory label instructions.

“It makes good agronomic sense to stay on top of summer weeds through summer spraying to preserve moisture and nitrogen for the 2022 growing season and to prevent seed set for future years.”

Mr McCabe said with rising cost of inputs, particularly herbicides, growers would want to make sure they were getting the best results from their spray applications and not wasting any chemicals.

“However, in doing so, growers must adopt best-practice strategies and equipment to ensure spray drift doesn’t occur that results in damage to other people’s livelihoods.

“Grain growers need to make sure they are spraying safely and following the directions on the product label at all times, otherwise we risk losing access to important, cost-effective products.”

Mr McCabe said many growers have private on-farm weather stations, and a number of publicly platforms such as the Mid North, Riverland and Mallee Mesonet networks provided growers with information as to whether it was safe to spray.

“It would be prudent to subscribe to the Mesonet network to continue the ongoing maintenance of the multi-million system that provides valuable inversion-layer data to grain growers.”

A Riverland farmer was previously fined $7000 for failing to follow mandatory chemical label instructions as an example of what can happen to a grower not doing the right thing when it came to spraying.