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Spray drift generates bad press for the horticulture industry. It should also be avoided because it can:

  • affect human and animal health, sometimes chronically, and especially children
  • affect the applicator's own health and safety
  • contaminate drinking water
  • be environmentally harmful
  • damage valuable crops
  • lead to expensive and lengthy litigation.
Off-target spraying is also a waste of agrichemicl and therefore money.  It may also mean that you under-applied the product to your target so it may be less effective.

If you are using ecotoxic products, you are required to take all reasonable steps to ensure the substance does not cause any significant adverse effects to the environment beyond your property.

This is a new requirement from EPA but reflects existing regional plan requirements to control spray drift.

Reasonable steps might include:
  • Always directing the spray towards the spray target, never away from it or up in the air
  • Keeping as close as you can to the spray target while still getting even coverage e.g. minimum spray boom height
  • Using drift reduction nozzles
  • Using larger nozzles
  • Using lower pressure
  • Adding a drift reduction agent
  • Using buffer zones or shelter belts
  • Ensuring weather is suitable (especially wind speed and direction).

Consider using the spray drift prediction tool from HortPlus to help you to identify the optimum time to spray based on expected weather conditions.