Following incidents in northern NSW and on Queensland’s Darling Downs, Cotton Australia has increased the tempo of its annual spray drift campaign.
Cotton Australia’s Darling Downs Regional Manager, Mary O’Brien, took senior staff from the federal and state regulators – the APVMA and Biosecurity Queensland – on a tour of affected farms in the region, showing them first-hand the impacts of spray drift on cotton crops. The tour is a key part of Cotton Australia’s campaign to influence state and federal agencies to take action on off-target spray drift, particularly Phenoxy herbicides.
Cotton Australia’s advocacy team is also working at the policy level to influence regulators and legislators to implement solutions to better protect growers, and tours such as that completed on the Darling Downs can only strengthen our arguments for labelling reform.
Every year Cotton Australia works hard to raise awareness about the risks of off-target spray drift, while ensuring all growers can continue to access important herbicides and apply them in a responsible manner.
Our organisation’s efforts this season have been extensive, including:
- Cotton Australia regional managers visited chemical resellers to ensure they advised their clients on safe application, and make them aware of the location of susceptible crops.
- CottonMap – we have continued to push for the online mapping of all cotton fields so farmers and contractors can identify the location of cotton crops.
- Coordinating media campaigns to ensure all farmers are aware of spray drift issues in cotton growing valleys. The frequency of paid advertisements was doubled in northern NSW and the Darling Downs.
- Support for chemical application workshops.
- Assisting growers who have suffered spray drift loss, including reporting the damage to authorities, when appropriate.
- Collecting and collating damage statistics to help the industry to achieve tighter labelling laws.
Cotton Australia’s campaign reminds all farmers, regardless of the crop they are growing, to 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 even further in some instances of unfavourable conditions, such as during surface temperature inversions or night-time spraying
- Minimise boom height when spraying
- Ensure spray contractors are fully trained and accredited
For more information, go to: www.CottonMap.com.au
Image: Cotton Australia's Darling Downs Regional Manager, Mary O'Brien, inspecting spray drift damage with APVMA Spray Drift Project Manager Dave Rumbold