Recent rain in Southern NSW has pushed the threat of off-target spray drift for the new cotton season to very high levels, according to Cotton Australia.
Cotton Australia’s Regional Manager for Riverina and the Southern Valleys, Honi Anderson, says rainfall combined with the expansion of the cotton industry in the region had combined to make the risk of spray drift particularly acute this season.
She says all farmers, regardless of their crop, could cooperate to overcome the anticipated challenges.
“It is imperative that we all work together as cropping industries, and individually with our neighbours, to combat the threat of off-target spray drift,” Ms Anderson says. “Most will remember the 2015-16 season, in which 20% of the national cotton crop was affected by spray drift and more than $20 million in damage was caused. It was the worst season for spray drift in living memory, and its impacts are still felt today.”
Cotton Australia urges all farmers, no matter what crop they are growing, to access tools to protect their crops from Phenoxy 2,4-D spray drift, and prevent damage to neighbouring 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.
“Each season, we ask people to be mindful of weather conditions and to check CottonMap to identify nearby cotton farms before applying weed control, particularly 2,4-D. It is important that we all respect our neighbours and their ability to earn a decent income from their operation,” Ms Anderson says.
“We also remind cotton growers, farm managers, consultants, agronomists and contractors to input their cotton fields into CottonMap to help protect their crop.”
CottonMap is a collaboration between Cotton Australia, Nufarm Australia Limited, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Ms Anderson says farmers should use this checklist when preparing to use herbicides, particularly Phenoxy 2,4-D products:
- Read and follow label instructions – it is a legal requirement
- Monitor weather conditions before, during and after spray application
- Use a nozzle that produces coarse or larger droplets
- Check http://www.CottonMap.com.au for cotton fields that could be potentially impacted by your 2,4-D spray
- Notify your neighbours – even during reasonable conditions for spraying, some spray droplets could travel up to 20km or more if the spray equipment is not used correctly, and more than 70km in some instances of unfavourable conditions, such as during surface temperature inversions
- Minimise boom height when spraying
- Ensure spray contractors are fully trained and accredited
When using insecticides, farmers are also encouraged to check the BeeConnected website - www.BeeConnected.org.au – made available by CropLife Australia to connect with registered beekeepers, enabling two-way communication on the location of hives and crop protection product activities.
Growers and spray contractors can also access a Summer Weed Control Best Practice Guide and a video explaining the risk of temperature inversions from the Cotton Australia website: http://www.cottonaustralia.com.au
More information on spray drift is available at the following sites:
- CottonMap website: www.cottonmap.com.au
- Spraywise Decisions website: www.spraywisedecisions.com.au
- Grains Research and Development Corporation website: www.grdc.com.au
Cotton Australia is the peak representative body for Australia’s cotton growing industry.
Cotton Australia media contacts:
Regional Manager, Cotton Australia
0437 700 300
Communications Manager, Cotton Australia
0488 189 502