Home' Grower : October 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- October 2013 35
Workshops zoom in on spray regimen
PERFECTING the applica-
tion of foliar sprays in the
vineyard is a near-impos-
sible task, but scientists at the
University of Queensland are
working to give grapegrowers
a helping hand when setting
up their machines and selecting
This advice will be shared
with the nation's grapegrow-
ers through a series of Grape
and Wine Research and
shops in October, as well as a
new factsheet to help growers
on the ground.
University of Queensland
senior research fellow Andrew
Hewitt is leading the two-part
project, which includes screen-
ing dozens of current and new
spray systems at UQ's Gatton
campus wind tunnel.
"This allows us to use con-
trolled conditions when testing
the two major components of
spray systems we are looking
at -- the hardware and chem-
istry -- and how they interact
to affect the spray droplet size
spectra and drift potential," Dr
"The hardware comprises noz-
zles of various conventional, air
induction and hybrid types.
"The chemistry comprises
active ingredients of various
pesticides and inert adjuvant
chemistries as used in Australian
The second part of the trial
involves field studies in South
Australia, where the best systems
from the wind tunnel tests will
be evaluated for deposition and
"In addition, novel sprayers are
compared against conventional
axial fan air-blast sprayers," he
"These include electrostatics
for canopy attraction and wrap-
around deposition on all canopy
surfaces, recycle sprayers for
reducing losses to the ground,
and key adjustments to air vol-
umes, velocities and turbulence
intensity for canopy penetration.
"We are also looking at the
best ways to calibrate equipment
and deliver the optimal dose of
chemical to the target."
The research trial's major focus
is to develop spray application
GWRDC Spray Workshops
October 10 -- Kingston
October 11 -- Nuriootpa
October 14 -- Auburn
October 15 -- McLaren Vale
October 16 -- Langhorne Creek
November 11 -- Wrattonbully
products that are formulated for
better atomisation and spreading
through or sticking on the canopy.
"Technologies are also being
optimised for delivery of products
to the canopy without off-target
losses through drift and runoff,"
"The best of both worlds occurs
when the two are developed in
union and we are working on
bridging that gap."
Dr Hewitt said environment and
economic concerns are driving
demand for new spray application
"Surveys have shown that urban
encroachment into rural areas is on
the rise and awareness of spray drift
and exposure is rapidly increasing
in many parts of Australia," he said.
"This drives a lot of regulatory
pressure for change in spraying with-
out losses to the environment.
"The Australian regulatory bod-
ies, such as the Australian Pesticides
and Veterinary Medicines Authority
and local and regional govern-
ments, continue to respond to
issues of spray exposure to humans
and aquaculture with more regula-
tory considerations and it is our
hope that these will be based on
the best science and allow choice in
Dr Hewitt said the models cur-
rently used by regulators did not
offer choice as they were based
on old "worst case" application
systems from studies in the United
States several decades ago.
"New data will allow smaller
sizes for no-spray buffer zones. In
this way, economics can also play
a part because more land can be
farmed when using better spraying
systems and application practices,"
A number of workshops have
been organised throughout SA,
NSW, Vic, WA and Queensland
next month and in November.
The GWRDC-funded work-
shops will will provide the latest
information on spray application
best-practice, new developments in
spray technologies and improve-
ments in spray application.
The day will also include discus-
sions around current regional spray
application issues, new regulations
that affect spray practices, and a
practical demonstration of spray
application assessment and how
to improve spray penetration and
A series of
be held across
the country in
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