Hit Your Target or get hit with a fine

Grain Producers SA (GPSA) is warning grain growers that deliberately ignore spraying laws could be fined up to $35,000 per offence following reports of damage to vineyards in Clare and the Riverland.

GPSA Chair Adrian McCabe said the vast majority of grain growers do the right thing and follow the rules as outlined in the ‘Hit Your Target’ campaign.

“Most grain growers in South Australia implement a spraying program safely with consideration of weather conditions, other landholders, households in rural areas and crop types to minimise the risk of off-target spray damage,” Mr McCabe said.

“Grain growers who are deliberately ignoring the considerations of other crops when spraying could receive a maximum penalty of $35,000 per offence, reflecting the seriousness of not following mandatory label instructions.

“It makes good agronomic sense to stay on top of summer weeds through summer spraying to preserve moisture and nitrogen for the 2022 growing season and to prevent seed set for future years.

“With the rising cost of inputs, particularly herbicides, growers will want to be making sure they are getting the best results from their spray applications and not wasting any chemicals.

“However, in doing so, growers must adopt best practice strategies and equipment to ensure spray drift doesn’t occur that results in damage to other people’s livelihoods.

“Grain growers need to make sure they are spraying safely and following the directions on the product label at all times, otherwise we risk losing access to important, cost-effective products.

“Many growers have private on-farm weather stations and there are a number of publicly available networks, such as the Mid North, Riverland and Mallee Mesonet networks, which provide growers with the right information as to whether it is safe to spray or not.

“It would be prudent to subscribe to the Mesonet network to continue the ongoing maintenance of the multi-million system that provides valuable inversion layer data to grain growers.”

A Riverland farmer was previously fined $7,000 for failing to follow mandatory chemical label instructions as an example of what can happen to a grower not doing the right thing when it comes to spraying chemicals.

GPSA has compiled best practice information in the form of hints, tips and resources on its website as part of its ‘Hit Your Target’ campaign.

The campaign calls on growers, advisers and the wider South Australian grain industry to minimise the risk of spray drift and off-target chemical damage at every opportunity.

Poor spray practices, such as spraying in certain weather conditions, at high speed or incorrect equipment set-up can result in spray drifting tens of kilometres from the application site.

All chemical users must always follow all instructions on product labels, including mandatory requirements of ‘do not spray when inversion conditions exist’ and droplet sizes. Withholding periods, down-wind no spray buffer distances and not exceeding label or permit specified rates are also important label requirements.

Find out more about GPSA’s Hit Your Target campaign on the GPSA website.