Last week’s ‘Roundup’ report about the increasing frequency of off target damage caused by reckless 2,4-D herbicide spraying practices drew many responses from winegrowers, broadacre farmers and members of government agencies.
Regrettably however, on Monday afternoon this week another serious incident was reported to the Riverland Wine (RW) office. Quite clearly best practice and compliance with Regulations by the majority of those who use Group I herbicides is simply not good enough.
The region’s primary producers are well aware of the wealth they generate for Riverland communities, the State and the nation especially through exports of fine food and wine. Primary producers are acutely aware that industries are vulnerable in export markets, if there are any ‘slip-ups’ in biosecurity. Industry organisations and individuals work tirelessly to keep the region free from fruit fly and phylloxera largely to protect the socio-economic benefits that flow from world-class industries. The Riverland community is proud of its reputation and wholeheartedly supports the South Australian Government’s strategic priority: Premium Food and Wine from our Clean Environment. Some importers have a zero-tolerance policy for any trace of chemical residue in certain products. It defies belief that some producers within our very community just don’t care about the impact of their recklessness on neighbours, other producers, our broader community of beneficiaries and our reputation!
RW notes this week, the office of Biosecurity SA proclaimed that the number of damage reports of the past two years is unacceptable. Widespread consultations are soon to be undertaken here and interstate. Regulations will be reviewed. Minister Brock’s news release earlier this week advising of a $1.46 million State Government-funded network of state-of-the-art automatic weather stations (AWS) to be constructed at selected sites throughout the Mid North, Clare Valley and including some stations in the northern Adelaide Plains and northern Yorke Peninsula is noted. That is positive but not for this part of the State.
Notwithstanding these assertions, RW is calling on the State government for more direct action in this region. RW will ask the Minister responsible to accelerate the review of all options in relation of the use Group I chemicals, in this region, including possible restrictions on the sale and/or use of the offending chemicals.
This position has been reached after a decade of urging all primary producers to appreciate each other’s needs and to cooperate with one another and the government authorities. RW has consistently encouraged compliance with the Summer Weed Control – Code of Practice and has co-sponsored workshops with Grains Research and Development Corporation to focus on jets, nozzles, tank-pressures, droplet sizes, inversion layers, wind direction, wind speed and any other aspects of controlling spraydrift. It simply hasn’t worked. Our prized reputation, as well as off-target crops are at risk.
Read Minister Brock’s news release.