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A revolution in spraying sets new world benchmark

A new approach to spraying developed in SA could change the way orchards and vineyards around the world will be treated in the future.

The method developed by Australian Scientist, Geoff Furness, from the SA Research and Development Institute has taken six years to realise and test and is now available to growers.

The method is explained in a user-friendly book called Orchard and Vineyard Spraying Handbook for Australia and New Zealand to be launched today. The book is the first to explain the concept of the pioneering distance spray calibration approach and will help growers deal with recent pesticide label changes.

According to Mr Furness, many growers currently use an inefficient `one size fits all’ area approach to crop spraying. This involves complicated calculations to work out the quantity of spray per hectare.

“Our research proved the traditional approach to spraying a rate per hectare doesn’t take into account critical variables such as the size and density of the canopy and the type of sprayer used, so it is very hit and miss,” he said.

“Growers instinctively know rates should adjust with the canopy size as the growing season progresses to avoid under-or-overdosing. So the beauty of this ready-to-use system is that it matches the chemical rates and spray volume to canopy size and density as well as the distance that the equipment is travelling – all from simple look-up tables to take the guesswork out of calculating spraying.

“Growers still use their current equipment, it’s just a different way of getting the right dose of spray quantities delivered the first time.

“I’m certain that if growers and the industry adopt this, it will be worth millions of dollars across the whole of Australia and New Zealand.”

Already Orlando Wines have been successfully using the system for four years.

“This system works,” says Russell Johnstone, Orlando’s Group Viticulture Manager. “The incidence of powdery mildew on grapes coming into Orlando wines has reduced from 10–15% to 1–3% reliably – and similarly for other diseases.”

"No-one has standard vineyard rows anymore, therefore spraying a standard rate per hectare no longer makes any sense and DBC takes horticulture into the 21st century.

“In our vineyards, DBC is delivering more reliable and better pest control, lower pesticide applications costs, higher quality produce and better food safety and environmental outcomes.

“It’s really easy to learn and our staff have caught on to this so much quicker than other methods.”

The system has the backing of growers and the industry and a Distance Spray Calibration spray guide handbook is now available from the South Australian Research and Development Institute in Adelaide.

The handbook also provides helpful hints on how to set up all the common types of orchard sprayers to obtain maximum coverage, and gives simple techniques to assess actual spray coverage and deposition on foliage, along with a range of other topics. Copies ($43.60) can be ordered by mail order by calling 1800 356 446 or accessed through the Sardi website www.sardi.sa.gov.au (search for DBC).



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