Action pending on spray drift incidents

Australia’s top agricultural peak-bodies including Cotton Australia, government regulators and enforcement agencies, are discussing the latest incidents of spray drift which SOS NSW has described as at crisis point.

Farmers have reported moderate to severe spray drift incidents on the Darling Downs, St George district, Dirranbandi, Mungindi, Gwydir, Lower Namoi, Walgett and the Macquarie Valley.

Cotton Australia’s General Manager Michael Murray said cotton crops had been impacted but so too have other crops and it’s unclear in each location exactly what chemicals are responsible.

“Media reports have suggested 2,4-D spray drift is responsible in some locations and while the damage is consistent with phenoxy herbicides, there is currently no available evidence in the form of residue analysis to confirm that.”

“That being said, unfortunately the industry has a long history of experience with spray drift, and if experienced farmers and agronomists identify the damages as being caused by 2-4D drift, then that is the most likely cause."

Cotton Australia reminds all growers and spray operators that they must apply chemicals in accordance with the label conditions which can include factors such as nozzle selections, wind speeds and inversion conditions.

Cotton Australia is actively urging the relevant authorities to run compliance activities to ensure adherence to label conditions.

“There is no doubt, this year is the worst year in recent years, most likely reflecting the seasonal conditions which have generally been conducive for weed growth, and the weather induced delays to winter harvest means that in some instances weed control is occurring later than usual," Mr Murray said.

Anyone in NSW who has experienced spray drift is asked to report it to the EPA by clicking here.

Anyone in Queensland who has experienced spray drift can report it here.

For more information on how to prevent spray drift visit the SOS two page advisory here.