Assessing Spray Coverage

Assessing Spray Coverage

Fluorescentdye
Using fluorescent dye and a UV light to show spray coverage on a grapevine leaf.

The aim of all spray operations is to get an even coverage of chemical on the target, whether that is a crop in the case of fungicides and insecticides, or a weed in the case of herbicides. But how do we know if we are achieving even coverage of the target, or whether we are getting enough spray onto the target, or indeed whether we are even getting the spray onto the target?

Coverage is particularly important in the following situations:

  • In tree and vine crops, where the label specifies for Dilute Spraying that the canopy should be sprayed ‘to the point of runoff’.
  • When spraying contact chemicals, that is, chemicals that do not move within the sprayed plant; as compared with systemic or translocated chemicals which can be absorbed by leaves and move around within the plant.
  • Spraying young crop plants or weeds that are growing under a thick stubble, where the stubble may intercept much of the spray before it reaches the target.
  • Where you are trying to get the spray to penetrate a dense canopy, eg spraying bunches of grapes in mature vines to protect them from infection with Botrytis.

Here are three techniques that can help us assess coverage:

  1. Put water sensitive paper in the canopy that you are spraying. The colour of the paper changes from yellow to blue when it gets wet. You may be able to purchase water sensitive paper from spray equipment dealers or chemical resellers. If there is also chemical in the spray tank, wear gloves when inspecting the sprayed paper.
  2. Put kaolin clay into the spray tank and spray the target under normal conditions. The clay will leave a residue on the target leaves. You may be able to purchase kaolin from chemical resellers. Make sure you mix it with water into a slurry in a bucket before adding it to the spray tank, and keep the mixture agitated to prevent settling out of the clay. As the clay may interfere with some chemicals, do not use in conjunction with chemical in the spray tank.
  3. Add a fluorescent dye to the spray tank, then inspect the target under UV light to check coverage. Inspect the target at night, or in a dark or shady area, for maximum visibility. Croplands® produce a kit with fluorescent dye and a UV torch, which is stocked by some agents. If there is also chemical in the spray tank, wear gloves when inspecting the sprayed target.

The same techniques can be used to assess spray drift onto non-target areas. If using the fluorescent day, get a mate to shine the UV torch on your face, hands and clothing at the end of the exercise, and see how good your hygiene practices are!

Smith & Georg talk about achieving good coverage when spraying, and reducing spray drift, in the Online Chemical Accreditation course.

Smith & Georg provides Chemical Accreditation training for users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. Our Online Chemical Accreditation course covers legislation in all states. For more information go to www.smithandgeorg.com.au/onlinetraining or call us on 1800 991 985.

Understanding How Herbicides Work

Understanding How Herbicides Work

 

billgordonWe all know that to get the best results from using a herbicide we need to closely follow instructions on the label. However, sometimes it would be good to know just a bit more about how the herbicide works. Examples where that extra knowledge could be handy include: (1) when conditions for applying the herbicide are not optimal, so that we can make an informed choice on whether to proceed with applying the herbicide or whether we really should either wait until conditions improve, or decide to not spray at all; and (2) if the herbicide didn’t work as well as we expected, so we can understand why, and make sure it works better next time.

Bill Gordon of Bill Gordon Consulting is familiar with how herbicides work, and how to get the best results when using them. We’ve videoed Bill talking about uptake and translocation of herbicides during one of his grower workshops. Watch the video. If you want more detailed information on specific herbicides we suggest you contact a rep. from the company that makes or markets the herbicide, or talk to an agronomist or other crop protection professional.

Smith & Georg provides Chemical Accreditation training for users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. Our Online Chemical Accreditation course covers legislation in all states. For more information go to www.smithandgeorg.com.au/onlinetraining or call us on 1800 991 985.

Sheep and goat internal parasites show resistance to new drench group

Sheep and goat internal parasites show resistance to new drench group

sheepIn a recent article in www.wormboss.com.au there is a report of small brown stomach worm and black scour worm in goats and sheep developing resistance to a new drench active monepantel (MPL), less than 4 years after its launch.

“All the older broad-spectrum drench families had failed (in the goat herd) on this property, including triple combination products, so the farmer resorted to MPL, which is not registered for use in goats, using it and it alone 17 times in less than two years until it failed.” It seems likely that the resistance developed in the goat herd, but the resistant worms are now also found in the property’s sheep flock.

This is a classic example of overuse of a single chemical group that has led to resistance in a very short period.

What can be done? The article suggests a range of strategies, including:

  • Keep resistant worms out of the property using quarantine procedures.
  • Use drenches that have been shown to still be effective on the worms in the flock or herd, and use them in rotation and/or in combination.
  • Only use drenches when there is a need for them. Base the timing of applications on the results of worm egg counts, or routine drenches appropriate for the area (eg at weaning).
  • Don’t rely too heavily on drenches, use integrated parasite management (IPM); employing other control measures such as nutrition of the stock, genetics, and rotational grazing management.

For more information on managing worms in livestock go to www.wormboss.com.au

Smith & Georg provides Chemical Accreditation training for users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. Our Online Chemical Accreditation course covers legislation in all states. For more information go to www.smithandgeorg.com.au/onlinetraining or call us on 1800 991 985.

Adverse Experiences with Chemicals

Adverse Experiences with Chemicals

Adverse Experience Reporting Program

Have you ever had an adverse experience with a chemical? Adverse experiences happen when you use a chemical according the instructions on the label, and the chemical has an undesirable effect that you didn’t expect, such as:

  • It didn’t do the job you expected it to. For example, a herbicide did not kill the weeds that you sprayed; or a pet still had fleas after being treated with a flea powder.
  • It had a bad effect on someone’s health. For example, after spraying a crop with insecticide the whole family felt sick, even though they were in the house when the crop was being sprayed.
  • It caused some damage to the crop or animal being treated. For example, you sprayed garden ornamentals with a fungicide, and it burned the leaves of the plants; or you used a backliner drench on farm animals that caused skin lesions.
  • It caused some damage to the environment. For example, after using a chemical you notice that there are dead fish in the creek, or that plants are dying several metres away from where you applied the chemical.

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (the APVMA) scrutinises research data before it allows chemicals to be sold in Australia, to make sure the chemicals are both safe and effective when used according to label instructions.

However, it is impossible to anticipate and test every possible effect of a chemical when it is used in domestic or commercial situations. Occasionally chemicals do not work as expected, and the APVMA wants to hear about these ‘adverse experiences’ so they can make changes where necessary to ensure that products on the market remain safe, effective, are of acceptable quality, and that instructions and warnings on labels are appropriate.

The APVMA’s Adverse Experience Reporting Program (AERP) collects information on adverse experiences, and investigates incidents where appropriate. The APVMA relies on the general public, pet owners, farmers, agronomists, veterinarians and health professionals to report any adverse effects that are noticed as a result of using chemicals.

You can find out more about the AERP in the APVMA’s Fact Sheet. You can report an adverse experience to the APVMA by calling 1800 700 583, or by going to http://www.apvma.gov.au/use_safely/adverse/agricultural.php

Reporting of adverse experiences is a topic covered in Smith & Georg’s Chemical Accreditation course. The course can be undertaken online at any location in Australia. Go to www.smithandgeorg.com.au/onlinetraining or call 1800 991 985 for more information about the Online Chemical Accreditation course.

Latest information on spray application technology

Latest information on spray application technology

boomspraying

Maximising the effectiveness of chemical applications and minimising off-target movement of chemical go hand-in-hand, says Dave Georg of Smith & Georg, who recently presented a GRDC-supported half-day workshop on Application Technology and Drift Management for farmer clients of D&M Rural at Bordertown in South Australia. Dave explained to the group how different spray nozzles work to generate spray droplets, and how to manage spray quality and droplet behaviour. The effect on spraying operations of adjuvants and weather, including temperature inversions, were also discussed; and the group looked at setup and calibration of a 30m Goldacres boom sprayer.

“For years we were told that fine spray droplets were essential for good coverage of the target plants” said Dave. “Unfortunately, up to 50% of fine droplets can blow away from the crop being sprayed, causing damage elsewhere. There is plenty evidence now that coarse droplets can give coverage of targets that is just as good as, or better than, fine droplets, with a greatly reduced potential for drift from the target area, particularly if higher water rates are used and the sprayer is set up correctly.” Air induction nozzles are ideal for producing medium to course droplets. The older standard flat fan nozzles are too risky in relation to drift management as they produce too many fine droplets, and in most situations should be avoided.

The workshop was presented under a three year GRDC-funded project that is managed by Bill Gordon of Bill Gordon Consulting, a leader in spray application technology. Workshops can be run for groups of 15 or more farmers in any grain-growing district in Australia. For more information contact Dave Georg of Smith & Georg on 1800 991 985 (for South Australia) or Bill Gordon on 0429 976 565 (for other states).

Smith & Georg provides Chemical Accreditation training for users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. Our Online Chemical Accreditation course covers legislation in all states. For more information go to www.smithandgeorg.com.au/onlinetraining or call us on 1800 991 985.

New legislation for Group I herbicides in SA

New legislation for Group I herbicides in SA

kamba_mIn September 2013 PIRSA Biosecurity SA brought in new legislation for commercial users of the following Group I herbicides: 2,4-D; 2,4-DB, MCPA, dicamba, triclopyr, picloram, clopyralid and fluroxypyr.

Under the changed Regulations, broadacre farmers, licensed contractors and local government users of Group I herbicides must:

  • Have a current Prescribed Qualification such as Chemical Accreditation or equivalent, and
  • Record specified information for every application of a Group I herbicide, and retain the record for at least 2 years.

Home gardeners, lifestyle property owners and industrial site users are exempted from the above requirements. Note that lifestyle property owners are NOT exempted if they apply Group I herbicide through a boomsprayer.

Also exempted are farmers in the following district council areas: Cleve, Franklin Harbour, Kimba, Le Hunte, Streaky Bay, Ceduna, Whyalla, Pt Augusta and Flinders Ranges. However, PIRSA Biosecurity SA recommends farmers in these areas also comply with the training and record-keeping requirements outlined above.

The aim of the amended legislation is to reduce the incidence of off-target damage caused by Group I herbicides. Grapevines and other broadleaved plants are particularly sensitive to damage from Group I herbicides.

Biosecurity SA is able to audit users of Group I herbicides.

For more information about the new legislation download a copy of the Fact Sheet (includes a list of information that must be recorded each time a Group I herbicide is used), and other resource material at pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/rural_chemicals.

By way of comparison, most other states require the keeping of comprehensive records for all applications of chemicals. Many chemical labels also have a mandatory requirement for keeping records.

In Victoria users of Schedule 7 chemicals and chemicals containing atrazine; metham sodium; or ester formulations of MCPA, 2,4-D, 2,4-DB, or triclopyr must have Chemical Accreditation and an ACUP (Agricultural Chemicals Users Permit).

In Queensland people using specified Group I and other herbicides in Regulated Hazardous Areas must have an ACDC Licence. Go to Chemical Accreditation in Queensland for more information.

In NSW all commercial users of any chemical must have a current Chemical Accreditation.

Overriding the many and varied regulations of each state is the requirement for users to follow label instructions at all times.

Smith & Georg provides Chemical Accreditation training for users of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, including Group I herbicides. Our Online Chemical Accreditation course covers legislation in all states. For more information go to www.smithandgeorg.com.au/onlinetraining or call us on 1800 991 985.