WITH substantial summer rain over much of the nation's cropping belt spraying and control of summer weeds to conserve moisture is in full swing.
However, farmers are being alerted to the risk of spray drift, particularly in areas where there is live summer crop that can be heavily damaged by off-target broad spectrum herbicide.
The grains industry is aware of the need to minimise incidences of spray drift, with Grain Producers Australia (GPA) running an on-farm pilot program to improve spray drift management practices.
GPA said farmers in NSW could still register to participate in the program, which has been made possible due to a temporary Agricultural Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) pilot permit issued to GPA.
This permit allows the use of specific pesticide products, when working with the Spray Drift Management Tool (SDMT).
The SDMT is being utilised in the NSW-specific project to assess the potential recalculation of spray drift buffer zones.
It was developed through the National Working Party on Pesticide Application and is APVMA approved.
The NSW spray drift pilot project is being overseen by highly experienced farm technology and pesticides expert Rohan Rainbow, working as a consultant advisor to GPA, who said the SDMT had a number of benefits for industry.
"The SDMT is already being utilised by a number of producers, aerial applicators and ground spray contractors across NSW," Dr Rainbow said.
"The tool simplifies the current, complex chemical labels in providing a practical, easy to use approach for users, in legally using drift reduction technologies which reduce spray buffer zones.
"The pilot permit is delivering user benefits such as; reducing user reliance on increasingly complex labels; and increasing user understanding of a SDMT for managing application parameters and managing off-target drift."
Dr Rainbow said as part of the project GPA will be capturing individual user feedback and experience.
He urged more NSW growers to get involved, saying more numbers would help drive real improvements for their industry on the topic of spray drift.
"Participation requires some additional reporting processes, but this will also make a valuable contribution towards the development of better spray drift policy in Australia," he said.
"This contribution is all part of an innovative GPA project that aims to improve productivity for growers.
"Access to this Tool will also be really useful for simplifying the use of 2,4-D to manage spray drift, and follow the label."
This SDMT is available to NSW applicators via email request to GPA with further information, including a video presentation from Dr Rainbow, available on the GPA website. https://www.grainproducers.com.au/
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