Following Riverland Wine action on recent spray drift incidents in the region, PIRSA hosted a roundtable forum to discuss the problem and come up with strategies to reduce the risk of damage in the future.
Held at the Loxton Research Centre on March 28, the forum was attended by approximately 40 people including affected growers, viticulturists, chemical resellers and representatives from Riverland Wine management committee members and staff, Lowbank Ag Bureau, Loxton broadacre producers, GRDC, Grain Producers SA, Primary Producers SA, AWRI and PIRSA.
The session began with a presentation about spray drift, including regulatory challenges and a current review of the problem being undertaken by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). This was followed by a brief overview of the Riverland wine industry perspective and issues for grain producers.
People then shared their ideas about key issues and how the spray drift problem could be tackled. The most popular topics were:
obtaining accurate weather information to inform spraying times
use of an App, based on weather information, to advise growers and spray contractors to ‘go’, ‘stop’ or wait’ when spraying
Ensuring nozzles, jets and pressures are set to deliver spray droplets that hit the target weeds and don’t ‘mist and drift’
reporting reckless users;
community and industry action, community licence and self-policing; and
better reporting of incidents.
A working committee made up of Riverland farmers and growers will now work with PIRSA, GRDC and Grain Producers SA to develop an action plan to ensure the forum delivers outcomes and reduces or eliminates future damage.
Perhaps the most neglected aspect of these ongoing failures to manage off-target damage is the risk to our local industries. One 2,4-D trespass could cost the offender many millions of dollars but that pales to insignificance when considering the cost of losing entire markets. Our competitor countries will be only too pleased to sweep in and fill the void if even one shipment is rejected because traces are found in wine! The working committee will prepare scenarios that highlight the risk to export markets.
Anyone with further concerns or ideas should contact Michael McManus from Biosecurity SA phone 8429 0861 or email.
A report on findings from the APVMA review is expected to be released in January 2019.