A hands-on training program that includes an on-farm visit to fine-tune individual growers’ spray equipment is being offered to New South Wales grain growers to assist them manage chemical application processes and reduce spray drift risk.
The Advanced Chemical Spray Application Training course is being offered by Tocal College through the AgSkilled program, a training initiative being funded by the New South Wales Government, in conjunction with the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cotton Australia.
The AgSkilled initiative, announced last year by the Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for Skills The Hon. John Barilaro, has allocated $14.7 million over three-years to increase staff skill levels and attract industry newcomers to the grains and cotton industries to improve farm productivity and profitability.
AgSkilled Project Co-ordinator Claudia Vicary says grain growers are being offered a one-day advanced chemical application course followed-up by an on-farm visit as part of the NSW Government funded training initiative.
GRDC General Manager Crop Protection Manager Ken Young said grain growers were increasingly aware of the need to ensure on-farm spray equipment was set-up and operated to suit environmental conditions to reduce the risk of spray drift.
“Herbicides and pesticides account for up to 30 per cent of the variable input costs of grain production, so growers are committed to ensuring spray operations are effective and that drift is minimised to save money and time,” Dr Young said.
“So programs like the Advanced Chemical Spray Application Training course provide growers with an opportunity to hear the current best-practice guidelines for spray application success.
“Then having a specialist in spray application come to your farm, as part of the course, and show you exactly how to set up your own equipment for various environmental conditions, and develop spray drift management plans customised to your operation is something I believe growers will find invaluable.”
Dr Young said the GRDC had and would continue to make significant investments into chemical application research and training to help the grains industry develop best-practice spray systems that complied with product label and legal requirements.
AgSkilled Project Co-ordinator Claudia Vicary said well-known spray specialist Craig Day from Spray Safe and Save would be running the training workshops and making the on farm visits.
“These Advanced Spray Application courses will be held across New South Wales and consist of two parts: a one day workshop; plus a workplace visit later that week,” Ms Vicary said.
“AgSkilled is committed to bringing this sort of training, driven by industry, to NSW’s grain and cotton growing regions, including regional and remote areas that may not have offered these learning opportunities in the past.”
Mr Day said the training workshop would include: weather, drift reduction, how to recognise and avoid inversions, new technology, record keeping, practical strategies for mixing and applying chemicals, and practical demonstrations of nozzles and water rates.
“It is important growers understand how elements like nozzle type, droplet size and spray quality, tank mix formulations, water quality and weather conditions can impact spray application,” he said.
The workplace visit will assist growers to develop spray drift application plans that were customised to their farming operation in terms of common environmental conditions, machine, speed, nozzle and operation of equipment to ensure accuracy and spray minimising drift.
“By visiting growers’ on-farm we are also giving them an opportunity to clarify any issues from the workshop and fine-tune their spraying operations, which in turn can save them time and money and maximise the effectiveness of chemicals,” Mr Day said.
To date courses have been held in Cowra, Forbes, Condobolin and Wagga Wagga and Tocal College is currently taking expressions of interest from growers interested in having this course delivered in their region.
Growers interested in the AgSkilled Advanced Chemical Spray Application Training course can call 02 6345 5818 or 0437 455 818 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claudia Vicary, AgSkilled
0409 043 774
Toni Somes, Cox Inall Communications
0427 878 387