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You are here: Home Media Media Releases 4 April 2011 - Growers Call for Sensible Spray Regulation

4 April 2011 - Growers Call for Sensible Spray Regulation

Grain Producers Australia Limited (GPA) calls for common sense in spray regulations in response to proposed regulations from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).

APVMA has proposed regulations to introduce mandatory downwind buffer zones of up to 300m for ground rigs and even greater distances for aerial operators.  The regulations are being proposed to reduce the risk of off target drift of agricultural pesticides.

GPA Chairman, Pete Mailler said, "It is already illegal to drift chemical off your own farm and the introduction of these extra regulations, based on out of date science, will not improve chemical application management. There are many levels of serious concern and far reaching implications for grain producers in the proposed regulations."

"The regulations are being justified as a method of reducing the incidence of spray drift, which is a reasonable objective on the surface of it.  However, downwind buffer zones are a very subjective and relatively ineffective method for reducing drift.  Good operators can spray within a metre of their boundary with no risk of drift through good management and correct sprayer configuration." he said.

Growers who comply with the new regulation will face potentially large economic losses due to impacts on weeds and diseases that could also compromise crop safety.  Many growers are unlikely to compromise effective crop protection strategies and are therefore unlikely to comply with the proposed regulation.  This means that these otherwise good operators, who may not be causing spray drift, would be breaking the law if they ignore proposed mandatory buffer zones.

"It is frustrating to see APVMA propose misguided, albeit well intentioned, regulation that will be difficult to police, will see poor compliance and will largely fail to effectively address the underlying issue."

"The broadacre cropping sector and grain producers in particular, have been driving innovation in the use and application of agricultural chemicals for many years.  We have been successfully and steadily raising awareness of and reducing off target movement of these essential products through education and adoption of best management practice.  There is a genuine commitment to the responsible use of agricultural chemicals."

GPA acknowledges the need for ongoing research to continually improve spraying technology and management practices and the National Working Party on Pesticide Applications (NWPPA) has been established to coordinate this kind of work across a range of agricultural sectors.  GPA will work through NWPPA to deliver good science around current and emerging drift reducing technologies for the grain industry.

Mr Mailler concluded, "In the mean time, GPA is committed to ensuring regulations around pesticide applications are practical and do not penalize responsible agricultural chemical users and we will work with APVMA on this issue."

ENDS

For more information please contact:
Pete Mailler
Ph:  07 4676 5112      Mob: 0427 265 707

pdf GPA Media Release (67Kb)
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