FOLLOWING recent major rain events across the state, farmers are out controlling weeds, prompting a reminder about spray drift.
Department of Primary Industries and Regions rural chemicals operations manager Michael McManus said PIRSA had already received reports of spray drift damage to vines, particularly in the Clare and Barossa valley regions.
"PIRSA, along with the Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association and Grain Producers SA, is concerned the damage was caused by a small number of broadacre farmers spraying without considering best practice procedures, including conducting operations during inversion weather conditions," he said.
"Unfortunately, there is the potential for spray drift to occur quite some distance away from the original site making it easy for producers to overlook such risks.
"With the mesonet system in the Mid North, Riverland and Mallee providing real time weather observations, there is no excuse for spraying in unsuitable weather conditions."
In coming weeks, PIRSA plans to conduct field monitoring operations, along with chemical user audits and investigations of reported spray drift incidents.
Regulatory action will be taken when non-compliance is identified.
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GPSA chief executive officer Brad Perry said it was important graingrowers adhered to the industry-endorsed Code of Practice for Summer Weed Control.
"Our industry is always about continual improvement and we must raise awareness of best practices," he said.
"Through the 'Hit Your Target' campaign, we are encouraging communities of growers to work together to minimise the risk of spray drift."
Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association executive officer Anna Baum said ensuring no further spray drift damage occurs leading into vintage was crucial.
"We ask all farmers to take particular care over the next few weeks," she said.
"The vintage is going to be a late one this year, so there is likely to be fruit on the vine until the end of April.
"Grape vines in all corners of the valley have been hit hard in the past couple of weeks.
"Farmers 50 kilometres from the Clare Valley would be surprised to think off-target spray from their properties could potentially end up in a Clare Valley vineyard."
Incidents of spray drift should be reported to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Hotline 1300 799 684.
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