Avoid spray drift this spring to protect your neighbours and the environment

As the weather warms up and farmers and operators prepare their crops, it’s important to keep neighbours and the environment in mind ahead of spraying.

Spray drift has the potential to damage neighbouring properties, non-target crops, affect natural enemies of pests, cause environmental contamination, and threaten human and animal health.

EPA Director Regulatory Operations Stephen Budgen said pesticides can be dangerous if incorrectly applied or misused, especially to people who work with pesticides or are regularly exposed to them.

“Farmers and operators must follow safety protocols when using herbicides and pesticides, only use them in suitable weather conditions, and ensure they have the right pesticide licence or accreditation,” Mr Budgen said.

“Training in the correct use of pesticides reduces mistakes, and it’s one of the most effective ways of protecting workers, the community and the environment. It also protects neighbouring properties.”

Tips to avoid spray drift include

  • Checking the product label and complying with directions for use
  • Checking weather conditions before spraying, avoid spraying when it’s too hot or too windy, and stop if conditions become unsuitable
  • Not spraying when there’s a surface temperature inversion (strongest between midnight and sunrise) or when wind speeds are very low
  • Adjusting your spray equipment for bigger droplets, keeping booms low and going slowly
  • Notifying neighbours of your spray plan.

The community plays an important role in helping to monitor pesticide activities. Anyone with concern or knowledge of a spray drift incident or pesticide misuse in their local area should contact the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.

Herbicide and pesticide misuse and failing to meet requirements can result in investigations and regulatory action by the EPA.