Planning an agricultural spraying program

Spraying 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.

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.

Legal obligations

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 that:

  • 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
  • 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 a chemical use issue.

You must also ensure that you:

  • have the correct licence or permit
  • comply with notification requirements
  • make chemical use records.
Page last updated: 22 Feb 2024