Chemical Use

Objective: Avoid chemical residues in grain that exceed acceptable limits. Minimise adverse impacts of chemical application in-crop and in storage

Meeting the Requirments

  • Comply with current label/permit and state regulations for all agricultural chemical use. Note that labels and permits are specific to a product and not always replaceable with a generic product with the same active ingredient for a given use.

  • Refer to relevant codes of practice or industry guidelines. If acting outside of these recommendations ensure a suitable alternative has been identified and documented.

  • If your contract defines a destination market, check whether it has more stringent maximum residue limits (MRLs). If it does, your chemical program may need to be adjusted so that these MRLs are not exceeded.

  • Monitor weather at the start, during and completion of spraying.

  • Accurately identify pests (insects, weeds or diseases).

  • Consider pest biology and thresholds in decisions.

  • Match product to crop type, crop growth stage and pest. Consider resistance management.

  • Match application method to suit mode of action and growth stage of crop and target pest.

  • Use spray application equipment and settings that are suited to the use. Ensure staff, advisors and contractors have suitable skills, experience and qualifications.

  • Ensure staff, advisors and contractors have suitable skills, experience and qualifications.

  • Report spray drift and pesticide incidents according to state requirements.

  • Within 24 hours of each chemical application make an accurate record, to be kept for at least 2 years according to state regulations and label requirements. Depending on your state and the chemical product label this may include:

    • Date with start and finish times of application;

    • Locations, address and paddock/s sprayed (farm map can be used);

    • Full name of the product;

    • Amount of product used per hectare & number of hectares applied to;

    • Crop/situation and weed/pest;

    • Wind speed and direction during application;

    • Air temperature and relative humidity during application;

    • Nozzle brand, type, spray angle, nozzle capacity and spray system pressure measured during application;

    • Name and address of person applying this product;

    • Personal protective equipment used;

    • Batch number where required by the state or territory;

    • Any additional information required as directed by label or permit.

  • Store chemicals and dangerous goods in accordance with Australian standards, label requirements and safety data sheets. For example bunding, ventilation, signage, security and safety.

  • Maintain a chemical inventory for hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods.

  • Keep current safety data sheets (SDS) at the point of use, accessible to all staff.

  • When transporting and storing dangerous goods comply with the most current Australian Dangerous Goods (ADG) code.

  • When transporting other chemicals, use safe practices and restrain as required.

  • Follow safe chemical handling practices such as using personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensuring load lifting weights are safe for the operator.

  • Notifying authorities as required in the event of a spill or exposure.

Other Practices to Consider in Your Grain Farming Enterprise

  • Monitoring weather at least at the start of each chemical load and at the end of the job.

  • Maximising efficacy and avoiding off-target movement or drift of chemicals. For example:

  • Applying chemicals under optimal weather conditions, using:

    • Weather forecasting to plan spray application jobs.

    • Tools to assess suitability of weather conditions for application (evaporation & droplet survival), assessed at the site.

    • Assessment of inversion risk before and during spraying.

  • Referring to sensitive area maps before spraying. (eg BeeConnectedCottonMap)

  • Using suitable strategies to reduce drift, eg adjuvants, droplet sizes and equipment.

  • Calibrating chemical application equipment to ensure it meets desired standards. Testing outputs of all nozzles, speed sensors and flow meters.

  • Regularly checking nozzle patterns, nozzle flow along the boom and ground speed.

  • Agitating the spray tank sufficiently for the load to be uniformly mixed.

  • Considering adjuvants and tank mix partners in relation to water quality, crop safety, efficacy, spray drift potential and odour.

  • Avoiding holding mixed product in tanks for extended periods.

  • Ensuring thorough incorporation and mixing of chemicals applied to grain in storage.

  • Decontaminating equipment.

  • Using a suitably qualified advisor.

  • Developing a resistance management plan with your adviser to proactively identify and manage pesticide resistance risks.

  • Developing a pesticide use plan that includes application methods, drift risks and integrated pest management (IPM). Discussing this with your adviser before and during each season.

  • Notifying neighbours of your seasonal pesticide use plan and planned spray applications.

  • Using closed systems for mixing, transfer and application of pesticides.

  • Recording any additional information needed for a commodity vendor declaration, delivery document and/or quality assurance scheme.

  • Keeping records in an integrated farm management package with a farm map that identifies individual paddocks or management units, risk areas and hazards.

  • Recording crop growth stage and batch numbers of all chemicals used.

  • Obtaining all advisor recommendations in writing and keeping with records.

When using spray contractors, provide the spray contractor with:

  • Written spray orders (paper or electronic) that include weather conditions suitable for spraying.

  • Accurate farm maps, including sensitive areas and contact details.

  • Farm biosecurity action plan and pesticide use plan. Obtain from the spray contractor:

  • Copies of chemical users accreditation, necessary licence/s and certificates of currency for workers compensation and public liability insurance.

  • Written spray application records on completion of each spray job (paper or electronic).

  • Maintaining an up-to-date inventory of all stored chemicals.

  • Returning or disposing of chemical containers and unused chemicals through ChemCleardrumMUSTER or similar programs.

  • Considering and managing the risks when using chemical mixing sites and trailers.

  • Preparing an emergency response plan in case of a spill (spill kit, actions, notification and first aid).