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Record Fine for Chemical Spray Drift Prompts Warning to Farmers

05 September 2012

AUSTRALIA - Farmers who aerial spray their crops have been reminded of the need to follow best practice after a record fine of A$20,300 was handed down in Childers Magistrates Court over a spray drift incident.

Plant Biosecurity and Product Integrity General Manager Mark Panitz, from Biosecurity Queensland, urged users of agricultural chemicals to be particularly careful when using aerial spraying techniques.

"While aerial spraying is an approved method of application, the effects can be extensive and devastating if not conducted properly," Mr Panitz said.

"The recent Childers court case is a timely reminder to both farmers and pilots to take extra caution when spraying crops with chemicals.

"In this case, the application in unsuitable conditions resulted in the off-target movement of the spray onto a neighbouring crop, causing more than half a million dollars in damage.

"As a result, the defendants were fined a total of A$20,300 for using two herbicides contrary to label instructions and unlicensed aerial distribution on the part of the agricultural pilot."

Biosecurity Queensland regulates the use of agricultural chemicals and licensing of aerial spraying businesses.

"Persons using agricultural chemicals must ensure they follow all label instructions. They must also take account of any specified downwind no spray zones and ensure application is undertaken in suitable weather conditions."

For further information and resources on aerial spraying, click here.

TheCropSite News Desk

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