Guide explains spray changes

By Country News

Grain growers and spray operators can now access a practical guide explaining how to maintain efficacy when using coarser spray qualities in line with new restrictions to the use of 2,4-D.

The guide has been developed by the Grains Research and Development Corporation to assist industry understand the on-farm implications of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority decision to suspend the labels of all products containing the active ingredient 2,4-D from October 4, replacing them with a permit.

The action by the APMVA was taken in response to widespread damage over several years to sensitive crops, such as grapes, horticultural crops, summer pulses and cotton.

The APMVA permit will stay in place until the finalisation of the 2,4-D review.

Public consultation on the review is expected to start later this year.

Under the permit there are changes to the directions for use for 2,4-D including changes to application technique, spray quality, timing and the observance of mandatory no-spray buffer zones, as well as increased requirements for detailed record-keeping.

Industry spray specialist Bill Gordon, who has done extensive work on best practice application, has helped develop the latest GRDC guide to 2,4-D use, for those working in the paddock.

Mr Gordon said it was important to understand the new changes were primarily targeted at drift mitigation and did not restrict any other aspects of the current approved use patterns as detailed in the new permit (replacing the original product labels).

The key changes for using 2,4-D under the permit include:

Applicators must now be used at least at a ‘Very Coarse’ (VC) spray quality.

When using a boom sprayer, boom heights must be 0.5m (or lower) above the target canopy.

Downwind buffers now apply (typically less than 50m, subject to rate and product being applied) between application sites, downwind sensitive crops and environmentally sensitive aquatic areas.

Mr Gordon said the new permit also included an advisory statement for 2,4-D use in cereals, fallow and pasture from October 1 to April 15.

These statements advise operators to use an ‘Extremely Coarse’ (XC) or ‘Ultra Coarse’ (UC) spray quality and to take steps to mitigate the risk of spray drift, such as adopting increased water rates and slower application speeds.