Timely reminder to all users of farm chemicals

Timely reminder to all users of farm chemicals

openingchemicaldrumDave Georg said that the recent death of a farmer from paraquat poisoning should make us all sit up and re-assess how we handle dangerous chemicals in our own workplace. “It’s just too easy for us to get lazy on safety when using chemicals. Maybe we don’t have the correct safety gear on hand, or maybe its uncomfortable to wear it, so we don’t bother to use it”, Dave said. “However, chemicals such as paraquat are particularly unforgiving, and if you have an accident with it you may never get a second chance. Other chemicals may seem to be ‘safe’ to the user, but may cause health problems in the future, such as cancer and organ failure.”

Always read the safety directions on the chemical label and its MSDS before using a chemical. Make sure you always follow safe practices when handling chemicals. Make sure you have the specified safety gear on hand, and that it is in good working condition; and make sure that you wear it correctly at all times when handling the chemical.

The Safety Directions for Spray.Seed, a common chemical containing paraquat, specifies that (Note that the following quote is only part of the total safety directions on the label – users must read ALL the safety directions before handling the chemical); “When there is a risk of exposure to spray mist wear waterproof footwear and waterproof protective clothing, impervious gauntlet length gloves (rubber or PVC), goggles and a face mask and respirator covering nose and mouth and capable of filtering spray droplets.”

Managing drench resistance made easy

Managing drench resistance made easy

drenchMany of us are familiar with herbicide, insecticide and fungicide resistance, and we can easily find information about strategies to prevent and manage these types of resistance; for example at the CropLife Australia website. Until recently it has been difficult to get similar information about drench resistance; however the Sheep CRC has produced the comprehensive WormBoss table of drench resistance groups, active constituents, examples of commercial brands of drench, and worms controlled. It can be found at http://www.wormboss.com.au/tests-tools/management-tools/drench-groups-and-actives.php. This site also has information about managing drench resistance.

If you grow sheep, you may also be interested in www.liceboss.com.au and www.flyboss.com.au for loads of information about managing these pests.

Bees and pesticides

Bees and pesticides

beeHoneybees are thought to be responsible for around one in every three mouthfuls of food that we eat. Because there are so many feral honey bees in Australia, in addition to the almost half million commercial hives, it is easy to underestimate the important role bees play in pollinating many of our food crops.

It’s obvious that bees are at risk if they are foraging on a flowering crop when it is sprayed; however there are other situations where chemicals can affect bees:

  • When a chemical is applied to a crop that is flowering, and bees subsequently forage on contaminated nectar, pollen or water or alight on a contaminated plant part.
  • When a chemical is applied to a crop not in flower, but is also applied to non-target plants that are flowering (e.g. weeds), at the same time.
  • When pesticide drifts onto bees, flowering plants, hives or the bees’ water source.
  • When a worker bee carries contaminated nectar, pollen or water back to the hive, contaminating the colony.
  • When an area within the bees’ flight path is sprayed.

The Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation (RIRDC) has produced a booklet that gives guidance to farmers and beekeepers in relation to protecting bees from chemicals, as well as listing 349 broadacre and horticultural chemicals that are known to be toxic to honeybees. Honeybee Pesticide Poisoning can be downloaded free from the RIRDC website. A hard copy of the booklet can be purchased from the same site.

(Source Chemical Industry News, Winter-Spring 2012, Biosecurity Victoria)

Smartphone Apps for smart farmers

Smartphone Apps for smart farmers

iphoneDid you know that over half of Australians have a smartphone, even though it’s not quite 6 years since the first iPhone was released? There are currently over 700,000 apps available for smartphones, including many that are useful for farmers and other users of chemicals.

The Ag Excellence Alliance has compiled a list of apps that farmers will find useful; from weather apps, to apps that calculate tank mixes and record chemical applications, herd tracking apps, and even apps that help you find you smartphone if you happen to lose it! The list provides a link to each app, plus a brief description of what the app does, memory required, whether access to the internet is required, cost (many are free), and whether it is available for android and/or iPhone.

The list can be found on the Ag Excellence Alliance website.

Spray contractor prosecuted for off-target damage

Spray contractor prosecuted for off-target damage

driftAn agricultural aerial spray contractor was prosecuted by Victorian DPI for causing damage to over 200Ha of native vegetation in the Kinglake National Park and Black Ranges State Forest, while spraying herbicide in preparation for re-establishment of adjacent pine plantations. The magistrate found all charges were proven. A penalty of $10,000 was imposed, plus costs of more than $27,000.

(Source – Chemical Industry News, Winter-Spring 2012, Biosecurity Victoria)

Nufarm 24 hour Emergency Phone Number

Nufarm 24 hour Emergency Phone Number

phoneDid you know that Nufarm has its own 24-hour emergency number if there is a suspected poisoning or exposure to chemicals? The number is 1800 033 498. Ask for the Shift Supervisor.

Other handy numbers for cases of suspected poisoning are:

  • Poisons Information Centre: 13 11 26
  • Any emergency: 000

If English is not your first language, you can call the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 13 14 50. They will provide you with an interpreter, and help you contact the Poisons Information Centre.