Summer sprayers reminded to be responsible

Summer sprayers reminded to be responsible

Cropping
Farmers are being urged to take care with their summer spraying programs.

Farmers are being urged to take care with their summer spraying programs.

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It has rained in parts of the north meaning farmers have the welcome task of spraying to conserve moisture, but they need to take care.

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Cotton Australia is warning cotton producers buoyed by recent rain over the past couple of weeks to be careful with their spray programs.

While it is too late to plant cotton, farmers will look to control weeds in order to conserve a bank of moisture for a winter crop.

But in recent years there have been problems with off-target spray damage, particularly with 2,4-D based products.

In 2018 the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced a a tightening in the official rules surrounding the use of 2,4-D in order to minimise the risk of spray drift.

The changes related to application techniques and the droplet size, with farmers needing to use coarser droplets to lower the risk of drift.

Cotton Australia policy officer Paul Sloman said effective application minimised the risk of off-target spray damage.

"The safe application of pesticides to prevent off-target spray damage is a priority across all of agriculture to ensure the safety of communities and environments," he said.

As well as adhering to droplet size requirements, Mr Sloman urged farmers to look closely at conditions to avoid spraying in a surface temperature inversion, where chemicals can be lifted and spread many kilometres.

"Do not spray when there is a surface temperature inversion," Mr Sloman said.

He also said correct calibration was critical as was ensuring spray nozzles had no wear and tear that would impact efficacy or safety.

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