SPRAY CAUTION: Emerald cotton grower, Warrick Stent-Smith.
SPRAY CAUTION: Emerald cotton grower, Warrick Stent-Smith. Contributed

Negative impact of spray

CENTRAL Highlands farmers are being urged to take heed of spraying advice as the cotton season advances in a bid to protect the best interests of their own crops as well as crops on neighbouring properties.

Cotton Australia, the peak representative body for Australia's cotton growing industry, has issued the notice to try and reduce spray drift and its negative effects in the area.

Cotton Australia's policy officer, research direction and stewardship, Sally Ceeney, said five incidents of off-target spray drifts had been reported since the season began in July.

"It's hard to say how much damage it would have on other crops," she said. But she advised that while a crop can "potentially" grow out of any damage, it would "certainly set the crop back".

Ms Ceeney said it was vital producers in the region kept their spraying knowledge up to date.

Central Queensland grower Warrick Stent-Smith said advice for best practice spraying had changed over the past 20 years.

"You need to spray with appropriate nozzles and in the right conditions. It's also best to spray in daylight hours now."

He said former advice had recommended spraying in the early mornings.

"There's still a lot of other factors, but once the sun's up is usually pretty standard. Then you've got to watch the wind."

Mr Stent-Smith, who manages a family-owned mixed cropping and livestock enterprise north of Emerald, said it was important to check Delta T levels which included temperature, humidity and wind speed.

He said designated spray days were a good idea.

In a further effort to reduce spray drift incidents this season, the Central Highlands has been chosen by Cotton Australia as the trial site for a new satellite mapping platform, Satacrop.

The platform is designed to map different crops and accurately inform growers around where spray activities have taken place.

Ms Ceeney said the information could help growers make decisions about their spraying plans and reduce drift incidents.

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