Otago vineyards’ new spray-drift tool
‘‘Spray drift incidents can occur up to 30km away from spray application.’’
A contractor spraying amenity plantings recently with a growth hormone next to a vineyard in a wind is one of several spray drift incidents that have prompted the Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association to take action.
The association has spent the past four years producing a vineyard locator map to help prevent multi-million dollar damage from spray drift.
Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association past president and developer of the Central Otago Vineyard Locator Map James Dicey said agrichemical spray drift incidents result in millions of dollars worth of damage to local vineyards.
‘‘We had an incident I was notified of last week. A local contractor who should know better was spraying amenity plantings with a growth hormone right next door to a vineyard in a wind. The spray has damaged the growing tips, affected leaf growth and killed a number of infloresences (flowers which become fruit). The ability to recoup the loss is through the tort of negligence through the court system, an expensive and risky process for both parties, which is why we wish to prevent this from becoming issues in the first place.
‘‘Spray drift incidents can occur up to 30km away from spray application so it is vitally important that farmers and local spray contractors are aware of neighbouring vineyards in order to minimise any threat of damage from spray drift. Over the past few years we have had a number of spray drift incidents, resulting in major damage to vineyards. It’s heart-breaking for the owners and all concerned.’’
Grapes were resilient but they were very sensitive to damage, Dicey said.
‘‘In a typical event the crop is lost and the shoots terminate or stop growing. They tend to grow out of the damage but the effect is felt in growing habit and yield for a couple of years and has a major financial impact on the business.’’
Six hundred copies of the map, accompanied with a ‘‘Best Practice’’ Spray Guideline, would be distributed to all farmers and spray contractors in Central Otago in a bid to bring attention to this serious issue and to minimise the risk to vineyards.
The Central Otago Vineyard Maps are available from the Central Otago Winegrowers’ Association.
Recent damage from an agrichemical spray drift incident in Central Otago.