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Spray drift - More concerns

Two more reports have come to hand in the past week of alleged chemical incursions from spray drift.  Indications are that one of these incursions appears to be the result of 2, 4 – D (ester) drifting in from a nearby broadacre property and the other appears to be the result of Bromacil used as a pre-emergent or residual herbicide on an adjacent citrus property.

Both cases had been reported to the chemical incursions unit at Biosecurity SA and in one case inspectors have visited the property, conducted tests and provided a report confirming the off target damage.  Both these chemicals are dangerously toxic.  Extreme caution and care must be exercised when handling these chemicals and using them as a means of weed control.

Besides these obvious concerns there is equally troublesome and time-consuming concern around the economic impact, assessing the extent of crop loss and deciding just who will bear that cost.  Beyond that there is the broader question of the more widespread and very likely harm to public health.  These chemicals, used carelessly and without due consideration for others are insidious. The unintended harm to crops, wildlife (particularly fish), gardens and humans most often goes unrecorded and unnoticed.  Symptoms are quite often not recognised and as a result the careless behaviour often remains unchecked.

The best remedy is for the parties concerned to talk to one another directly, examine the evidence and negotiate sensibly to resolve the matter amicably and commit to avoid any further such carelessness. Always make notes of when the trespass or damage was first noticed, who said what to whom and when.  All instances of chemical trespass should be reported to Biosecurity SA. This is troublesome but absolutely necessary especially if the matter is likely to end in claims for damages and possible litigation. Avoid litigation if possible but if all reasonable attempts to resolve the matter fall on deaf ears, it is essential to have notes, records of weather conditions and photographic images wherever possible.

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