Spray drift transcript
G,day, my name's Alan Roberts and I'm the Chemical Standards Field Services Program Manager for DPI. I've been a user, trainer and regulator of agricultural and veterinary chemicals since the early 1970s.
I'm here today with Craig Day, who's a farmer, spray contractor and chemical use trainer to talk to you about spray drift risk management. This video is an overview of the main factors involved in spray risk management and mitigation.
There are several factors you must consider before you pour the chemical from the drum. Of course there's different types of spraying methods for different kinds of land use and applications, ranging from targeting specific pests such as locusts and Queensland fruit fly, to noxious weeds and diseases, but general chemical use principles remain the same. Today we are going to cover some of the factors you should consider before, during and after you spray.
Spray drift has been an issue for as long as I can remember, but its importance to the chemical user really took off in the 1980s, with increased plantings of canola and lupins, and the increased planting of horticultural crops next to broadacre farms. Spray drift is the movement of agricultural chemicals, whether they be herbicides, fungicides or insecticides, outside of the intended target area. This off-target movement can be as droplets, particles or volatile vapours.
Years ago the broadacre cropping areas of Victoria were a sea of cereals, mainly wheat, barley and oats, with some annual pastures to provide stockfeed. During this time, the risks from off-target spray drift were lower. This is because the nearby crops were likely to be the same, and the weeds were too. But times have changed.
What's being grown across Victoria now has become much more complicated and varied, and much more sophisticated. It's no longer just about, for example, growing wheat to be made into flour for use in your own area. You might now be growing wheat that gets sold to an Asian market that makes noodles for the European market, and residue tolerances may vary between markets. Markets can be lost or trade sanctions invoked if unacceptable chemical levels are detected in produce.
And off-target spray drift damage doesn't just have to happen to someone else's farm. It can, and does happen within the boundaries of one farm. Spray drift is not always about what you can see, and its impacts aren't always over the fence, so that's why it's critical that the spray stays where it's been applied.
View the Spray drift video.