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Spray Drift Management Case Study – Loxton SA

Hi my name is Andrew Biele I’m the
operations manager at Bulla Burra here at Loxton South Australia in the
northern Mallee. Today I’ll explain the challenges that
we have with spray application in broadacre systems and the additional
challenges that we have with residential properties and horticulture bordering
our properties. The public is coming closer and closer to our farming boundaries to
the stage where we’ve got houses only metres away from where we are where
we’re growing crops and where we’re trying to apply our chemicals. So we’re coming up to one of our
paddocks close proximity to apricot plantings on our right-hand side. So one
of our tactics to assist with spray drift management is we’ve planted salt
bush buffer zones between the apricot plantings and our wheat plantings. Almonds are one of the many
horticultural plantings surrounding our properties.
A major consideration for our spray drift management program is wind
direction and we’re forever recording our activities both spray applications,
amounts, rates but more so the weather data. We will record some instances early
and definitely before and after each tank full. So even though the spray
program at Bulla Burra is quite large and almost ongoing there’s times when
the sprayers are parked. Now those times are normally two hours either side of sunup
and sundown where we are most susceptible to the inversion layers we
are monitoring wind speeds and wind directions and wind direction is the
king when it comes to it all. If we enter a paddock and start spraying it we may
not finish it that day, we may have to come back, we may have to stop, we may
have to move to a different paddock at a different location where the wind
direction is suitable for that paddock and and keep spraying that way. It can
potentially be a week before we we’ll complete a two to three hundred
hectare paddock. So that two on its own can be challenging particularly with
chemicals in the tank, half life and all the rest of it, so quite often we may not
always mix a full tank either, we may just mix half tanks and chip away at an
hour here and there is what is required to apply that chemical. And citrus is
another fruit tree planting that is right on top of our boundaries. Other management expects that we utilize
of light in targeting the zero off target chemical issues is and zero drift
is the new technology that’s available is today that hasn’t been in the past
John Deere for instance we’ve picked up the exact entire system where we can
maintain exact droplet size with variable litres per hectare application.
We have considerably reduced our ground speeds and with that ground speed
reduction, reduced our fines but also our boom height control. The booms will
maintain their height at ground speeds lower than 25 Ks an hour, that alone
has made a big difference in spray drift. In the summer months weed spraying is
quite active in the Mallee particularly if we have a wetter summer and one of
the tools in our kit is a optical sprayer. We have a lot of ground to cover
and deficiencies are quite high up on our list. So the optical sprayer will
allow us to cover a lot area with a very little chemical use. For instance one wet
summer we went through forty shuttles of chemical to be applied from weed control
and another summer where it was drier using technology and optical sensing we
reduced that down to one to two shuttles. So that’s a quick overview of the
challenges Bulla Burra have in managing spray drift. Make sure you have the
correct nozzle selection, droplet size, pressures, chemical application adhere to
the code of practice and by all means make sure your weather records are correct
and quite consistent. go to the description bar below for the
latest information links and resources

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