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.
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.
- Operating Principles in Relation to Spray Drift Risk which describes the methods and scientific principles the APVMA uses to assess and manage spray drift issues
- Summary of the final round of public submissions on the policy from February 2008, after a five year development period which included four rounds of public consultation and two national forums
- Preliminary Regulatory Impact Statement on the policy from February 2008, which provides background to the development of the policy and which satisfied Office of Best Practice Regulation requirements
- A supplement to this former operational notice that became effective in November 2010
- Protective no-spray zones and information on how these zones are determined
- Standard spray drift risk assessment scenarios used by the APVMA to tailor our risk assessments to the most common situations
- Drift reducing technology incentives program, which is designed to promote and encourage the adoption of new and improved technologies and better spray drift management methods
- Priority list of chemicals for spray drift label reviews for assessing and updating the labels of all currently registered products subject to spray drift regulation to include comprehensive instructions for managing spray drift risk
- Labelling requirements from the Agricultural Labelling Code (these replicate the requirements set out in the Operational Notice entitled ‘New registration application and label requirements in relation to spray drift management’, which became effective in March 2010
- Further information on environmental assessments from the data guidelines
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:
- Australian Capital Territory—Contact the Environment Protection Authority by calling Canberra Connect on 13 22 81
- New South Wales—Refer to the How to response to pesticide misuse web page and call the environment line on 131 555, or email email@example.com
- Northern Territory—Refer to the NTWorkSafe Chemical Spray Drift bulletin or call the pollution response line on 1800 064 567
- Queensland—Refer to the Reporting chemical spray drift web page
- South Australia—Refer to the Chemical misuse (including spray drift) web page and call the biosecurity SA agricultural and veterinary chemicals hotline on 1300 799 684 or email PIRSA.RuralChemicals@sa.gov.au
- Tasmania—Refer to the Spray Information and Incidents web page and call the spray information and referral unit on 1800 005 244 or 03 6777 2184
- Victoria—Refer to the Reporting spray drift of agricultural chemicals web page
- Western Australia—Refer to ‘Reporting pesticide incidents’ on page 9 of the document A guide to the use of pesticides in Western Australia
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
- Grains Research and Development Corporation—Refer to the Practical tips for spraying factsheet
- National Working Party on Pesticide Applications (NWPPA)—Refer to information about the NWPPA on the Plant Health Australia website
State and territory governments
- Australian Capital Territory—Refer to various documents on the Pest and weed control web page
- New South Wales—Refer to various documents on the Pesticides web page and watch the safe use of pesticides video
- Northern Territory—Refer to various documents on the Chemical services web page
- Queensland—Refer to the Guidelines for safe use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals web page
- South Australia—Refer to various documents on the Biosecurity SA: rural chemicals web page
- Tasmania—Refer to the relevant code of practice
- Victoria—Refer to the A guide to using agricultural chemicals in Victoria web page and watch the chemical use videos
- Western Australia—Refer to the document A guide to the use of pesticides in Western Australia
Spray drift project manager
Phone: +61 2 6210 4744
Fax: +61 2 6210 4776