EPA investigating possible spray drift near Jerilderie
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is investigating an alleged incident of potential spray drift that impacted a local cotton crop at Jerilderie in the state’s Riverina region.
EPA Manager Regional Operations Riverina Far West Craig Bretherton said an investigation commenced after a complaint was made to the EPA’s Environment Line in December.
“Disappointingly, this is the second consecutive year this has occurred to summer crops in the area,” Mr Bretherton said.
The EPA has taken samples from the farm and these are currently being tested as part of the investigation.
Mr Bretherton said this is a timely reminder to landholders and contractors to use herbicides responsibly this summer to avoid spray drift that may impact surrounding areas.
“Anyone using pesticides needs to read product labels carefully, monitor local weather conditions and communicate with surrounding properties ahead of time, to avoid any potential impacts that could occur by off-target spray drift,” Mr Bretherton said.
“When used properly herbicides are an important part of agriculture, but the misuse of these chemicals can pose risks to the community and the environment, including damaging native vegetation and non-target crops, such as cotton, olives, grapes and tomatoes.
“Landholders and their contractors in the region need to know their responsibilities when using pesticides, so there should be no excuse for misuse.”
Tips for avoiding spray drift
- Read, understand and follow the label or permit instructions.
- Don’t spray when it’s too windy – wind speeds between 3-15km/s are ideal.
- If possible, avoid spraying at dawn, dusk or during the night when temperature inversions are more common.
- Have the right equipment – choose nozzles, operating pressure and ground speeds that deliver larger spray droplets.
- Don’t drive too fast – it increases wind speed
- Set the boom height for double overlap, and no higher to reduce the distance between spray nozzles and the target crop.
- Don’t spray in high temperature and low humidity conditions (a Delta T between 2 and 8 is considered ideal). These conditions increase the risk of spray droplet evaporation and spray drift.
“If anyone has any information about this incident or any other pesticide misuse incident in their local area, they should contact the Environment Line on 131 555,” Mr Bretherton said.
Information to assist landholders with the correct use of pesticides and how to avoid spray drift:
- Factsheets from the Grain Research and Development Corporation with practical spray tips: http://www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-SprayPracticalTips
- Weather conditions and temperature inversion: http://www.grdc.com.au/GRDC-FS-SprayInversions.
- EPA guidelines for the safe disposal of pesticide: http://www.epa.nsw.gov.au/pesticides/20120100rinsateguide.htm
- A map of this season’s cotton crops from Cotton Australia: http://www.cottonmap.com.au/
- Check BeeConnected to locate nearby bee hives: https://beeconnected.org.au/
- Ideal temperature and humidity conditions (known as Delta T conditions) can be determined using the graph on the Nufarm SprayWise Nozzle Guide available for download at: http://www.croplands.com.au/Application-Centre/Broadacre-Application/Tools-Resources
The EPA investigates all reports of potential pollution and encourages anyone with a concern, or knowledge of a spray drift incident or pesticide misuse in their local area, to contact the 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555.