Spray drift guidelines to be reviewed

Image of test paper showing spray droplets

Demonstration of the detection of spray droplets (water) on test paper, which can be used to identify spray efficiency improvements.

PHOTO: Plant Health Australia

A review of national spray drift guidelines is about to begin and will provide an opportunity for the grains industry to seek changes to spray regulations and chemical labelling to take into account the improvements in application technologies and techniques.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is preparing a discussion paper to launch the review and is planning a series of meetings around the country.

Chair of the National Working Party on Pesticide Applications (NWPPA) Gavan Cattanach says it is in everybody’s interest to ensure regulations support the use of best practice.

As a result of APVMA spray drift regulations introduced in 2010, pesticide product labels now contain statements that describe mandatory no-spray zones (buffer zones) in the downwind direction at the time of spray application.

“Our vision is that the regulatory system is science-based and recognises the use of drift-reduction technologies. We need better education and practice to enable the use of smaller, practical buffer zones,” Mr Cattanach says. “We will be working with the APVMA through the review, seeking support for some policy changes.”

In the lead-up to the APVMA review, NWPPA has launched a website (www.nwppa.net.au) to publicise its work to date on technologies to reduce spray drift.

NWPPA was established to consider the potential outcomes of policy changes and spray drift reviews being undertaken by the APVMA. Its executive committee includes representatives from grower groups, spray manufacturers, spray applicators and R&D corporations across viticulture, horticulture and broadacre agriculture, and it is coordinated through Plant Health Australia.

The research program includes surveys of current practices, assessment of drift-reducing technologies (DRTs), education and training, management of surface temperature inversions, DRTs for aerial applications, and improving spray coverage in horticultural and viticultural applications of pesticides.

The website provides details on NWPPA’s research program as well as information from executive committee meetings and presentations from the annual progress updates.

Mr Cattanach encourages growers, spray contractors and others interested in spray-drift issues to visit the website, particularly those interested in making a submission to the APVMA’s Spray Drift Policy Review.

More information:

Gavan Cattanach,
0419 258 085,


Region National