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Clare Valley Grape Growers Face Imminent Threat from Spray Drift

Grape growers in Clare Valley are urging farmers in the Mid-North to take extreme caution while spraying summer weeds

With grape vines being highly susceptible to herbicide damage at this time, Anna Baum, Executive Officer of the Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association (CVWGA), highlights the alarming potential of off-target spray drift, which can extend up to 100 kilometres in temperature inversion conditions.

According to Ms. Baum, it is crucial for all primary producers, including grape growers, grain producers, spray contractors, and other landholders, to refrain from spraying during hazardous inversions. She says understanding which inversions are hazardous is new for this region and differentiating non-hazardous inversions gives producers a greater window to get their spray out.

Ms. Baum emphasises, “Being able to monitor hazardous inversions in real-time by subscribing to the COtL Mesonet is an invaluable tool for all primary producers in our region.”

Expressing support for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s (PIRSA) proposed crackdown on rule-breaking producers this season, Ms. Baum states, “All primary producers expect PIRSA to take the strongest possible action against people who do not follow the mandatory label directions. A prosecution of someone breaking the law would be a wake-up call to everyone.”

She adds, “All primary producers have a responsibility to keep their sprays in their paddock and, in doing so, protect the environment and human health.”

While acknowledging that some farmers may be displeased with grape growers continually highlighting the risks of off-target spray drift, Ms. Baum asserts, “Farmers may not like the fact that grape growers keep drawing public attention to the risks of off-target spray drift, but we are simply the canary in the coal mine. Spray drift has far-reaching consequences for the whole community.”

 

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