Farm Management

Avoid spray drift

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The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is reminding pesticide users to avoid spray drift, after the EPA received a report of potential spray drift.

EPA Regional Director South and West Gary Whytcross said the misuse or mishandling of pesticides can pose a danger to the community, environment and impact on non-target crops.

“The EPA is investigating a report of potential spray drift near Brewarrina. We are taking the opportunity to remind pesticide users of their responsibilities, including having accreditation and training in the proper use of pesticides.

“There are some simple things that spray contractors and landholders need to know and do to reduce the risks and potential impact of spray drift.

“This includes reading product labels carefully, monitoring local weather conditions and communicating with surrounding neighbours ahead of time to avoid spray drift incidents.”

The EPA encourages anyone with a concern, or knowledge of a spray drift incident or pesticide misuse in their local area, to contact the Environment Line on 131 555.

Top tips for avoiding spray drift

  • Minimise boom height to reduce the risk of spray drift.
  • Have the right equipment – use nozzles that produce coarse or larger spray droplets.
  • Don’t drive too fast – it increases the potential for spray drift.
  • Don’t spray in very low winds or very high winds – during the day, wind speeds between 3-15 km/hr are ideal.
  • Follow label directions, including instructions that define the weather conditions that spraying can be carried out.
  • Learn to identify a surface temperature inversion, which commonly occurs from late afternoon until after sunrise, and avoid spraying when it is present to prevent spray drift. During a temperature inversion the direction and distance that pesticides can move in the air is very hard to predict.
  • Do not spray Group I herbicides from midnight until just after sunrise – this is when inversion conditions pose the greatest risk.
    Check for nearby sensitive crops.

Group I herbicides can drift considerable distances when applied under the wrong weather conditions. Anyone applying Group I herbicides needs to take extra care to avoid inversion conditions.

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