New research adds to the operator's toolbox

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Portrait of Dr Ken Young

Dr Ken Young, GRDC general manager crop protection

Getting the most from the crop protection products growers apply is an essential part of maintaining a profitable grain operation. Matching the sprayer set-up to the mode of action, target, weather conditions and label requirements is critical to ensuring spray coverage and drift management.

This Ground Cover Supplement covers some of the tools and techniques developed through GRDC investments into the research themes of drift-management strategies and improving spray coverage.

It includes practical information – backed by science – on spraying speed, drift-reducing equipment and techniques, the effects of adjuvant and nozzle type on drift potential, new tools for determining sprayer outputs, tips for assessing spray coverage in the field and surface temperature inversion research.

three years (2013–16) on research and training workshops to promote improved application techniques and drift-management strategies, as well as providing some of the scientific data required to allow for more flexible spray-drift restraints on product labels.

In a project running from July 2012 to June 2015, more than 170 application and drift-management workshops were delivered across the three GRDC regions. The workshops were attended by more than 3000 growers, 760 advisers and 140 machinery dealers.

Nearly half of all participants were less than 35 years of age, meaning the next generation of spray operators received a good foundation to base their spraying decisions on.

More than 98 per cent of workshop participants said they would recommend that other growers attend one of the workshops, and 93 per cent said they had received new information about spray application and drift management.

This project also produced several fact sheets on spraying-related topics, which are available from the GRDC.

In addition to the workshop program, the GRDC has also invested in research into new pesticide-application technology.

The GRDC, through the National Working Party on Pesticide Application, funded a wide range of research into drift-reduction technologies that has been used to underpin proposed changes to the label spray restraints by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). This research extended the peer-reviewed data available for a range of newer drift-reducing technologies to enable the APVMA to make science-based decisions on how these strategies may be recognised.

Some of the techniques and strategies discussed in this Ground Cover Supplement may be recognised by the APVMA as strategies for modifying downwind buffers (no-spray zones). The APVMA will be conducting a public consultation process in relation to the proposed changes to its spray drift regulatory framework, which the GRDC encourages growers and spray operators to participate in.

The GRDC is continuing to invest in making tools and resources available to growers to assist with spraying decisions.

A new GrowNote e-book on spray application is being produced specifically for grain growers and operators. This resource will cover a range of technical topics, including how to set up and correctly calibrate available spraying systems.

This Ground Cover Supplement, combined with these spray resources, provides growers and operators with the tools required to continually improve their spraying practices and minimise the risks associated with spray drift.

More information:

Dr Ken Young, general manager crop protection, GRDC,
02 6166 4500,
ken.young@grdc.com.au

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Region National