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Agrichemical & Spray Drift Rules

The use of agrichemicals is essential to farm, orchard and vineyard production. However they need to be used safely and responsibly to protect human health and the environment.

Spray drift from both conventional and organic spray is an important issue especially in intensive horticultural producing areas such as the Heretaunga Plains. Spray drift can cause human health problems such as asthma, watery eyes and skin rashes and pollutes waterways.

Rules for the management of spray drift – both conventional and organic sprays - are contained in the Regional Resource Management Plan. Organic sprays are not exempt from Council rules.

Commercial operators need to comply with strict guidelines and be properly qualified/certified - the GROWSAFE© website for these requirements. Small block owners, lifestylers and home sprayers also must comply with these rules.

Minimising Spray Drift 

Sensitive Areas & Hazards

  • Identify sensitive areas and hazards within and surrounding the application area, i.e. schools, roads, footpaths, houses, waterways, organic or other crops
  • Develop strategies to minimise spray drift specific to each sensitive area such as:
    • Timing (spray outside school hours, during low traffic flow)
    • Knowledge of neighbourhood (bees in neighbours block, don’t spray insecticides toxic to bees)
    • Buffer zones
    • Hedges
    • Wind direction.

Operator Knowledge & Experience

An experienced spray operator can significantly reduce spray drift. You may consider hiring a professional contractor to spray for you in tricky conditions or on larger areas.

Weather Conditions

  • Assess weather conditions prior to spraying so you can plan where to start your spraying
  • Take into account the wind speed and direction and don’t forget the sea breeze in coastal areas
  • Recheck the weather during spraying and make adjustments if necessary
  • If spray drift is likely to cross boundaries or sensitive areas such as schools, homes, organic farms, stop and spray less sensitive areas until conditions improve.

Know the agrichemical you intend to use

  • Know your agrichemicals and follow the label instructions. Volatile sprays are more likely to drift. 
  • Discuss the best type of spray to use with your agrichemical supplier or in store specialist.

What to do if spray drift occurs around your home

  • Shower and change your clothing if you have been sprayed
  • Visit your doctor if your health has been affected
  • Wash exposed fruit and vegetables
  • Disconnect the downpipes to rain water tanks and leave disconnected until the roof has been washed.
  • Re-wash any washing that was on the clothesline
  • Wash down children’s play equipment
  • Talk to your neighbour and ask to see their spray plan.
  • You can report spray drift to the Regional Council Pollution Response Team on 0800 108 838 or ring for advice.

Agrichemical Application Rules

The Regional Council plans promote the safe and responsible use of organic and conventional agrichemicals. The rules for agrichemical use can be found below in related documents.

If applying volumes of agrichemical greater than a knapsack sprayer or a non-motorised handgun sprayer, the person doing the spraying must:

  • Be qualified - Pilots and ground based contractors need additional qualifications.
  • Have a Property Spray Plan if you spray more than twice a year within 50m of their boundary.
  • Use roadside signs to alert passer-by’s they are spraying nearby
  • Follow the label instructions on the agrichemical container and use the right method of application for the agrichemical.

If spraying small amounts privately on your home garden you must:

  • Make sure there is no spray drift over your property boundary or into a waterway.
  • Follow the label instructions on the agrichemical container.

Organic Agrichemical Management

Organic producers must meet the same requirements as conventional producers.

The rules for organic agrichemical use can be found below in related documents and also discusses the management of odours.

Similar to managing drift, identify areas sensitive to odour such as homes and schools and plan how you are going to minimise odour in these areas. 

Property Spray Plans

Property Spray Plans are needed (by non-domestic applicators or when not using hand-held appliance) for properties where agrichemical is applied within 50m of a boundary more than twice a year. Their purpose is to get applicators to identify areas sensitive to spray and methods that will minimise spray drift. Hortplus have released (spring 2006) Spray Plan Manager, an electronic updatable property spray plan which meets Hawke's Bay Regional Council's property spray plan requirements. The software is freely available to all growers from the Spray Plan Manager Website.

GROWSAFE© Qualifications and Training

For a list of certified contractors and pilots and for registered GROWSAFE© trainers contact GROWSAFE© (04) 472 9997 or access the GROWSAFE© website.

Agrichemical Sprayer Filler Pads

Sprayer Filler Pads are an area designed to collect any spillage of agrichemical mixtures and concentrates in sprayer filler areas.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council does not require sprayer filler pads to be installed. However every person still has a duty to avoid, remedy or mitigate any adverse effect on the environment. Spray filling areas should not be near waterways, bores/wells or over the unconfined aquifer. If they are, filler pads are an excellent way to minimise risk to the environment.

The Agrichemical Sprayer Filler Pads info sheet below in related documents describes a best practice method of location and design of sprayer filler pads and is based on a guideline developed by GROWSAFE©.

What do I do with unwanted agrichemicals?

Get rid of your unwanted agrichemicals safely and for free. Our agrichemical contractor collects in Hawke’s Bay every four months. Register for an agrichemical collection by contacting the Environmental Officer Hazardous Waste, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on (06) 833 8027.

Agrichemical Storage

Based on the GROWSAFE© Code of Practice for the Management of Agrichemicals NZS 8409:1999, the related document below - Agrichemical Storage Checklist - is designed to assist farmers and growers to have a safe agrichemical storage shed. If you are storing large volumes of agrichemical also check HSNO requirements with your local council.

Telarc Registration Marks QUALITY ISO 9001 2015 for web

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