Spray drift

Spray drift management


The possibility of off-target spray drift accompanying the application of pesticides is a concern both to the community and the agricultural industry, for whom it is a constant challenge to find ways to minimise it more effectively. The APVMA is responsible for ensuring that off-target pesticide spray drift does not harm human health, the environment or Australia’s international trade.

Since 2010 the APVMA has been implementing a policy known as the Operating Principles in Relation to Spray Drift Risk. To date, this policy has been a mandatory consideration applied in the assessment of all new unique agricultural chemical products (that is, item 1 or 2 application types) that are labelled for use outdoors and can be applied as sprays or dusts (with some exceptions).

Depending on the outcomes of specific product assessments, the policy may mean products will require mandatory label instructions that include:

  • minimum droplet size for ground boom or aerial applications
  • wind speed operating range of 3 to 20 kilometres per hour
  • maximum boom height for ground boom application
  • nozzle orientation and shut off requirements for orchard or vineyard equipment
  • not applying the product when there is a surface temperature inversion present (refer to the Grains Research and Development Corporationfactsheet for further information)
  • observing downwind no-spray zones from certain identified sensitive areas (refer to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries Victoriafactsheet for further information).

The APVMA is currently conducting a review of the policy prior to expanding its applicability to other application types and the reconsideration of existing products. This review is aiming to identify and implement practical improvements, operationalise the drift reduction scheme and incorporate more efficient processes into the policy. Public consultation will be a key factor in any policy revision.

Background information

The following resources may be of interest to stakeholders, and in particular may help applicants submitting item 1 or 2 applications. This information will be substantially updated and aligned with the APVMA regulatory guidelines following the completion of the policy review.

Reporting spray drift incidents

State and territory governments are responsible for addressing incidents of off-target spray drift. The following information will help you identify the process for reporting a spray drift incident in your state or territory:

General chemical use information

Many industry representative groups and state and territory governments produce general guidance for applying agricultural chemical products safely. These can be used for reference, but are not necessarily reflective of mandatory legal requirements unless specifically stated.

Industry representative groups

State and territory governments


Dave Rumbold
Spray drift project manager

Phone: +61 2 6210 4744
Fax: +61 2 6210 4776
Email: spraydrift@apvma.gov.au


Summary of the final round of public submissions
- application/pdf PDF (315.64 KB)
Preliminary Regulatory Impact Statement
- application/pdf PDF (807.02 KB)