Responsible ground distribution of herbicides

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Ground distribution of herbicides is a reliable and efficient tool for controlling weeds in a range of crop and non-crop situations. Provided the commercial operator uses the herbicide correctly, carries out the distribution under the right weather conditions and uses correctly calibrated equipment, then ground distribution should pose few risks to agriculture or livestock, the environment, trade or human health.

Check your ground equipment

You should check the ground equipment you intend to use to ensure it is in sound condition and good working order, and not likely to injure or damage livestock or crops not intended to be treated.

You should also check that spray nozzles are delivering the correct droplet size to evenly distribute the herbicide mixture. This will reduce or even prevent spray drift.

It is an offence under the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 for a commercial operator to permit ground distribution to be carried out with equipment that might reasonably be expected to cause damage to crops not intended to be treated, or livestock.

Consult your clients

Before conducting ground distribution, consult with your clients to identify sensitive crops and areas, including creeks and streams, livestock paddocks or schools, hospitals or houses around the area where the distribution is to occur. You may need to pay extra attention to these sensitive areas during the ground distribution.

Check the weather conditions

Consider the weather conditions before commencing ground distribution. It is an offence under the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966 for a commercial operator to permit ground distribution to be carried out under meteorological conditions that might reasonably be expected to cause damage to crops not intended to be treated, or livestock.

Learn more about minimising the impacts of spray drift.

Be careful with chemicals

You must ensure that no-one opens containers of volatile formulations, such as ester formulations of the herbicides 2,4-D, MCPA and picloram, within 25m of any crop that is susceptible to damage from such herbicides unless they have an acceptable reason to do so.

As a licensed commercial operator, you have an obligation under the Chemical Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Act 1988 to use only agricultural chemical products including herbicides that are registered or approved for use by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA). You should also use herbicide products in accordance with label instructions or APVMA permit conditions. Heavy penalties apply for anyone who misuses herbicides by not following label instructions.

Also consider...

  • Visit the APVMA website to learn more about chemical products (including herbicides) that are registered or approved for use.