How to Build a Mobile and Secure Chemical Storage Pod for Less than $20.

How to Build a Mobile and Secure Chemical Storage Pod for Less than $20.

While it can be cumbersome for chemical users to keep up with legislation, rules and regulations, it’s comforting to know that you do not need to spend thousands of dollars to provide safe and secure storage area for your chemicals.

For a few dollars on bits’n’pieces, and a couple hours of your time, you can create your own chemical storage container that is safe, secure, bunded, and portable (sorry, it won’t make coffee for you!).

To begin, you will need to source a clean empty 1000L shuttle (available from salvage yards…for a small fee). Keep your eye out and ask around as you will also often find them sitting around on farms and in the yards of chemical resellers.

Next, follow the simple instructions in our slide show found here which will show you how to convert the shuttle into your own storage container – all for under $20.

Once completed, be sure to label your storage pod well.

To make it easy for you, and to keep those around you safe, we will send you a FREE self-adhesive, weather-proof ‘Chemical Storage’ sticker to put on your storage pod. You can request yours here – Free Chemical Shed Sticker.

We have seen some wild and wacky ways of storing small quantities of chemicals in our time. Some are awesome – and yes some a little scary! Either way seeing what people are up to in their daily lives is always fun and we would love to see yours and listen to your stories. Share with us by emailing hugh@smithandgeorg.com.au. We look forward to hearing from you!

Chemical Shuttle

Mobile Chemical Storage

Discover the Silver Lining and Often Overlooked Opportunity of Bushfires

Discover the Silver Lining and Often Overlooked Opportunity of Bushfires

Bushfires are devastating!

Firstly there are the practical and immediate concerns with replacing homes, buildings, livestock and other assets while coping with the emotional anguish of the losses. Next, just to add insult to injury, when the rains finally come there is usually a mass flush of weeds to contend with.

To attack and control weeds in a timely manner can be a challenge, especially when there are so many other things to think about.

Still, there is a Silver Lining and often overlooked opportunities to control the weeds that are just too good to miss out on.

Impenetrable Gorge
Impenetrable Gorge

These include:

  • The fire may have killed most living weeds, and also destroyed much of the weed seed bank. Follow up control of seedlings will reduce the seed bank even more.
  • The fire may have broken the dormancy of seeds in the seed bank, ensuring a mass germination when it rains, with the result that:
    • Weeds in the seedling stage are easier to control with herbicides than large mature weeds, and
    • Better Access After Fire
      Better Access After Fire

      If controlled before they set seed, it is a great way to keep the soil seed bank low.

  • For woody weeds in particular, the fire probably removed a lot of the above-ground parts of plants, thereby improving access to the area to control any subsequent re-growth (see photos).
  • Woody weeds may re-shoot from their lignotuber or roots after the fire (see photos). If using herbicides this means:
    Regrowth After Fire
    Regrowth After Fire
    • The fresh growth will absorb foliar herbicides more readily than the previous older ‘hardened’ growth, and
    • Less bulk of growth to spray, however you may have to wait 6 months or more to allow enough re-growth before spraying.

Share your own experiences with weed control after a fire. Send us a story and a photo or two, either to our FaceBook page or email them to hugh@smithandgeorg.com.au.

How to Use the Sun to Eliminate Low Hazard Chemical Waste

How to Use the Sun to Eliminate Low Hazard Chemical Waste

At some stage we all have low-hazard chemical waste to get rid of. It could be a small quantity of dilute chemical in the spray tank that is left over when you’ve finished your spray job, rinse water after you’ve washed the sprayer, or dilute bleach or some other product that you’ve used to decontaminate your sprayer.

Using the power of the sun by constructing an evaporation pond is an easy way to dispose of low hazard chemical waste.

Before you get started on constructing a collection area and an evaporation pond – check with local authorities as you may need planning approval and/or a permit.

Next, there are three components of this system that you need to consider

  1. A collection area.
    This should be a concrete or asphalt area where sprayers can be emptied, washed and decontaminated, sloping to a collection sump. Ideally the collection area would be undercover so that it does not collect rainwater – if this is not the case, then the pond must be large enough to hold any waste water that is put into it, plus any rain that falls on both the pond and the collection area. Alternatively, install a valve that can direct waste water into the sump and ultimately to the evaporation pond; and can divert rain water to a different, natural drainage area.

    Covered Collection Area
    Covered Collection Area

    Outdoor Collection Area
    Outdoor Collection Area
  2. A means to transfer waste water from the collection area to the evaporation pond.If the collection area is higher than the pond, then the waste water will flow by gravity to the pond; otherwise a pump will be needed. A sump pump that automatically switches on when water level rises in the sump, and switches off when the level drops, would be ideal.
  3. The evaporation pond, which should:
    • Be large enough to hold any waste that is put into it + rain that falls on the pond + any rain that falls on an uncovered collection area.
    • Be lined with heavy duty plastic dam liner or similar impervious material, to prevent waste soaking into the soil.
    • Have appropriate warning signs around the perimeter.
    • Be securely fenced to prevent unauthorised access and possible drowning. Ponds with slippery surfaces such as plastic should have a chain or rope from the edge to the centre, so that if someone falls in they can climb out.
    • Have a large enough surface area so that the waste water will evaporate over Summer.
    • An optional extra is to install a pump in the pond, to pump waste through a hose around the perimeter of the pond. Holes in the hose allow waste to run down the exposed surface of the pond (see photos), increasing the rate of evaporation, and possibly also accelerating breakdown of some chemicals (heat and light increase the rate of breakdown of many chemicals).

    If an Evaporation pond is not suitable for you, stay tuned. In the next edition of AgChemNews we will show you how to use biobeds for disposing of chemical waste.

    Evaporation Pond Signage
    Evaporation Pond Signage
    Evaporation Pond
    Evaporation Pond

    Evaporation pond at an airfield used for aerial spraying. The pond has not needed pumping out in more than 20 years of operation. Note: Your pond may not need to be so large. A small pond could be covered with a transparent roof; which will prevent the entry of rainwater, and may increase the rate of evaporation.

Do you have a similar evaporation pond system for disposing of waster chemicals? If so, please share your story and some photos with us; either on our FaceBook page (insert link), or by emailing us at hugh@smithandgeorg.com.au

What Really Happens to Daisy When She is Sent Off to the Slaughter House. A Timely Reminder to Livestock Producers.

What Really Happens to Daisy When She is Sent Off to the Slaughter House. A Timely Reminder to Livestock Producers.

If you are a Livestock Producer you will be familiar with the difference between Withholding Periods (WHPs) and Export Slaughter Intervals (ESIs) for animal health treatments.

Sheep Syringe Treatment

For those unfamiliar to the industry, the WHP is the time you must wait after treating an animal before it can be slaughtered for sale on the Australian domestic market; while the ESI is the time you must wait after treating an animal before it can be slaughtered for the export market.

For many animal health treatments there is no difference between the WHP and its ESI. However for some products the difference is huge.   For example, there is a pour-on drench for controlling internal and external parasites in cattle that has a 7 week WHP and a 20 week ESI.

There is a difference for some products over others because some of our export markets have lower tolerance levels to contaminants than we do. This does NOT mean that meat sold in Australia is unsafe and there are a number of different reasons why different countries may have different tolerance levels.

While many Livestock owners will say, “Not an issue – my stock are only ever sold for the domestic market”. Don’t be so sure!

While the carcass may be sold locally, many abattoirs are export certified and may sell other parts of the animal, eg offal, to countries that have lower tolerances to contaminants than we have.

Sheep Drenching

For this reason it is important to know where all parts of your stock may end up after slaughter; to be aware of ESIs as well as WHPs; and to complete vendor declarations accurately and completely.

This is an issue for beef, sheep, cattle and pigs amongst others. If in doubt contact your industry organisation.

An excellent resource is the Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) website which lists table of products registered for use on sheep and cattle and their WHPs and ESI.  Go to www.mla.com.au/meat-safety-and-traceability for more information.

(Adapted from an article in Chemical Industry News – No 78, produced by Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources; formerly Department of Environment and Primary Industries)

Leading Innovation Supports Vietnamese Farming Community.

Leading Innovation Supports Vietnamese Farming Community.

Vietnamese ManualWhile even the most recent emigrants from non-English speaking countries know basic conversational English, it is a totally different matter to sit in a classroom and listen to an instructor speaking technical English for a whole day!

As innovators in the Chemical Safety and Training Industry, Smith & Georg recognised this problem a long time ago and decided to solve it. We have been presenting the Chemical Accreditation course for growers with a Vietnamese background for the past 20 years. Our specialist bilingual course allows growers to participate in their own language.

Recognising Smith and Georg’s expertise and initiative in this area, the Commonwealth government contracted them to produce a bilingual English-Vietnamese resource to support teaching of the Level 3 Chemical Accreditation course.

We have made this resource available FREE to training providers

The Bilingual Training Pack includes a comprehensive Training DVD with

  1. A printable Learning Guide written in plain non-technical language, with each paragraph written in English followed by a paragraph written in Vietnamese; and
  2. Assessments written in Vietnamese (course participants are still expected to read English instructions on chemical labels)

If you would like a copy simply contact us on 1800 991 985 and we will send you one free of charge.

What Happens to all Those Empty Chemical Containers that drumMUSTER Collects?

What Happens to all Those Empty Chemical Containers that drumMUSTER Collects?

Did you know that since the drumMUSTER program started in Australia in 1998, more than 25 million empty containers have been rescued from being dumped in landfill? A great result for the environment, but what has happened to them?

For the metal containers the answer is easy – they are crushed and go into the general metal waste stream, to be melted down and made into new steel products.

For the majority, which are HDPE plastic containers (look for the drumMUSTER logo on yours and drop them at your local drumMuster collection site) a similar process applies.

DrumMuster LogoThe drumMUSTER team crushes or chips and bales the drums and buckets for easier transport and then a plastic recycler shreds the containers, heats them, and converts them into a range of useful products, including:

  • Bollards and ‘sleepers’ for roadways and parking areas
  • Drainage pipes
  • ‘Stools’ to hold reinforcing bars and mesh when pouring concrete slabs
  • Garden stakes and vineyard posts

Do you have another way of responsibly disposing of empty containers? If so, how about you share it with us either via our FaceBook page or by emailing us at hugh@smithandgeorg.com.au. Make sure you add at photo or two.

The drumMuster Recycling Process

dummmuster_recycle

Good Bugs Eat Bad Bugs!

Good Bugs Eat Bad Bugs!

Supermarket ProduceHow did a grower of glasshouse capsicums go from spraying his crop with insecticides 2-3 times per week, at a cost of around $500, to spraying once every two months.

Our glass house grower was able to reduce his costs by simply taking advantage of nature and introducing natural predators of the pest insects.

Besides the obvious cost savings other benefits included:

  1. Less exposure of the grower and other workers to toxic chemicals reducing the risk of poisoning;
  2. Less resistance to the insecticides used, meaning he will have more chemical options for the future;
  3. Less risk of unwanted and illegal residues on the produce meaning he is protecting his market access and finally, what every growers’ goal is:
  4. Better quality produce.

In AgChemNews Summer 2015 edition we reported on the benefits of controlling weeds, and replacing them with native vegetation, when managing insect pests in horticultural click here to find this article.

Further work and research in the same region has meant the development of an effective way to take this a step further by actively introducing natural predators into horticultural crops. For a comprehensive report on this work, plus videos of grower interviews, and where to purchase predators, go to the Hortex website: http://hortexalliance.com.au/biological-control-of-pests.html