As many growers will be aware, the likelihood of more rain following the dry winter in parts of NSW and Queensland have pushed the threat of off-target spray drift for the new cotton season to very high levels.
While off-target spray drift is a risk in every cotton district each season, increased fallow and anticipated rain have combined to make the threat of damage acute in the Macintyre & Border Rivers Valley, the Gwydir Valley and on the Darling Downs.
Cotton Australia has always taken the view that it is imperative for all industries to work together, and farmers to work individually with their neighbours, to combat the threat of off-target spray drift. No-one wants a repeat of the 2015-16 season, in which spray drift damage to 20 per cent of the national cotton crop was reported, with an estimated $20+ million in damage caused. It was the worst season for spray drift in living memory, and its impacts are still felt today.
Cotton Australia reiterates its call for all farmers to access tools to protect their crops from spray drift and apply pesticides responsibly to prevent damage to surrounding farms.
The vast majority of Australian cotton growers map their fields using online tools such as CottonMap to ensure all farmers in their area can check the location of nearby cotton farms and avoid unacceptable spray drift damage.
At the start of each season we also ask people to be mindful of weather conditions, particularly temperature inversions, and to check CottonMap to identify nearby cotton farms before applying weed control. We also remind cotton growers, farm managers, consultants, agronomists and contractors to input their cotton fields into CottonMap to help protect their crop.
Farmers should use this checklist when preparing to use Group I herbicides, particularly 2,4-D products:
- Read and follow label instructions
- Monitor weather conditions before, during and after spray application
- Use a nozzle that produces coarse or larger droplets
- Check www.CottonMap.com.au
- Notify your neighbours
- Minimise boom height when spraying
- Ensure spray contractors are fully trained and accredited