Spraying agricultural chemicals
Application of agricultural chemicals is a useful way to control insects, diseases and weeds and is important for growing high-yielding, quality crops and pasture.
Applying the right amount of chemical at the right time is a major factor in ensuring successful control.
Planning an agricultural spraying program
First, determine if there is a need to spray. More farmers are adopting practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM) which lets controls such as good property hygiene and beneficial insects do the work for them, leading to significant savings in chemical use.
If a decision to spray is reached, then setting time aside to adequately plan any spray program is vital to ensure chemicals are used safely and responsibly. A small amount of effort in planning at the start is far more efficient than dealing with issues later and will also help to minimise the risk of off-target chemical movement.
As an agricultural chemical user, you have a legal obligation to ensure that the chemicals you apply stay within the target area.
Under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992 it is an offence to undertake agricultural spraying which:
- injures any plants or stock outside of the target area
- injures any land outside the target area so that growing plants, or keeping stock on that land would result in contamination, or
- is likely to contaminate any agricultural produce derived from plants or stock outside the target area.
If you suspect chemical spray drift or contamination has occurred on your property, please report the issue.
You must also ensure:
Ground based spraying – Publications and resources for anyone involved in ground-based application of agricultural chemicals.
Aerial spraying – Requirements for aerial operators and information on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
Notification requirements – Ensure appropriate notification is given to nearby services if you intend to spray by air or mister.
- Spraydrift restraints and mandatory no-spray zones
- Buffer zones and vegetative barriers
- Understanding volatile vapour drift risk
- Living in harmony pesticides and bees
- Calibration and preparation of boom sprayers
- Visual guide to estimating wind speeds
- Recognising surface temperature inversions