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APVMA 2,4-D product spray drift instructions

7 December 2018

All you need to know about the recent APVMA label instruction changes in one place. 

Nufarm’s recommendations in summary
More information
The APVMA has changed 2,4-D label instructions

On 4 October 2018, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced interim measures from their review of 2,4-D which require new spray drift instructions for the 2018-19 season. The focus of these changes is to reduce the likelihood of spray drift damage. See the APVMA website for more details. 

Which Nufarm products are affected?

AMICIDE ADVANCE 700 – 700 g/L 2,4-D amine
AMINE 625 – 625 g/L 2,4-D amine
BATON LOW – 800 g/kg 2,4-D amine 
COBBER 475 – 475 g/L 2,4-D amine
ESTERCIDE 800 – 800g/L 2,4-D ester
ESTERCIDE XTRA 680 – 680 g/L 2,4-D ester
TROOPER 75-D – 300g/L 2,4-D amine and 75 g/L picloram
ZEPHYR 625 Low Odour – 625 g/L 2,4-D amine

Who is affected by these changes?

All end users of 2,4-D products in all regions of Australia need to comply with the changes.
All chemical manufacturers and suppliers of 2,4-D need to ensure labels are updated and these labels are supplied with all product sold.

What’s new?

When applying 2,4-D products

      • The minimum mandatory droplet size increases to VERY COARSE which is an increase from the prior recommendation of COARSE
      • An advisory statement has been added “Farmers are advised to use a larger droplet size (EXTREMELY COARSE or ULTRA COARSE) until 15th April 2019”
      • Downwind buffer zones have been established from sensitive vegetation and aquatic areas
      • Boom height is restricted to a maximum of 50cm above apparent target surface (either the crop canopy, average weed height or top of stubble)
What are the advisory statements that affect me?

Advisory statements are recommendations and are not enforceable by the regulatory authority. They are provided to reduce the risk of drift and it is strongly recommended they be followed.

Advisory statements for use in cereals, fallow and pasture 1 October to 15 April
In cereals, fallow and pastures during the period 1 October to 15 April, it is advised to:

      • Use 04 or bigger TTI or equivalent nozzles that produce extremely coarse (xc) to ultra coarse (uc) droplets
      • Use higher water rates per ha, to give better efficacy
      • Use slower application speeds to allow operators to lower boom heights

Increasing droplet size and water rates while reducing application speed will assist in mitigating off target inversion drift during summer spraying. Extremely coarse droplets will produce <3% driftable droplets.

Will product efficacy be affected with coarser droplets?

Nufarm data indicates equivalent efficacy can be achieved with most target weeds and situations but water volume must be adjusted to minimum of 80 L/ha and speeds reduced to below 20km/hr. Only a slight reduction in efficacy has been seen in Autumn grass species with small vertical targets. With these weeds use the maximum label rate for that crop/situation and reduce speed to a slow as practicable.

The latest GRDC information on maintaining efficacy of 2,4-D with larger droplets is available here

A benefit of increasing spray quality is to reduce the percentage of droplets below 150 micron. Droplets at or below 150 micron are unlikely to hit the target, and in warm conditions they evaporate prior to uptake by the leaf surface. These droplets are not effective in obtaining efficacy.

What has the APVMA not changed?

The labels did not change the following conditions and they still apply:

      • DO NOT apply in a manner that may cause an unacceptable impact to native vegetation, agricultural crops, landscaped gardens and aquaculture production, or cause contamination of plant or livestock commodities, outside the application site from spray drift
      • DO NOT spray when surface temperature inversion conditions are present (but more information is now on label)
How do I predict or monitor inversions?

Surface temperature inversion is likely to be present if:

      • Mist, fog, dew or a frost have occurred
      • Smoke or dust hangs in the air and moves sideways, just above the ground surface
      • Cumulus clouds that have built up during the day collapse towards evening
      • Wind speed is constantly less than 11 km/hr in the evening and overnight
      • Cool off-slope breezes develop during the evening and overnight
      • Distant sounds become clearer and easier to hear
      • Aromas become more distinct during the evening than during the day

Information sourced from GRDC Fact Sheet: ‘Surface Temperature Inversions and Spraying’, Jul 2014

When is the greatest risk of inversions?

Nufarm has developed a tool – our 24 hour SprayWise diagram – to show those high risk periods. You can download the tool by clicking the button below.

24 hour spraywise wheel

What is Nufarm doing?

For products made on or after the 1 November 2018, updated labels will be on all products containing 2,4-D.

Only the back multifolds with the booklets will change initially.  The new multifold booklets will have the notice below printed on the top to remind users of the changes.

Updated labels can be accessed on the website via the product page.

Camera sprayers and how they are affected (optical spray technology)

Nufarm have applied for a permit from the APVMA to allow the ongoing use of these systems. This is because optical spray technologies are currently only supported with nozzles that can produce a COARSE droplet (not the VERY COARSE required) and with a boom height of up to 0.75 metres from the ground (unlikely to meet the APVMA requirement for maximum 0.5 metres above target weeds). It is expected that they will only be supported this season for situations where weed cover is 10% or less; further investigation is being undertaken for next season. Stay tuned.

Which nozzle should I use?

Please consult your nozzle suppliers for full details to obtain the most up to date information on which nozzles to use to obtain very coarse droplets.

Changing to a high pressure air induction nozzles, such as the Hardi Injet™, Teejet™ TTI, or the Agrotop™ TD-XL-D is likely required, as low-pressure air induction nozzles Teejet™ AIXR or Hardi Minidrift™ are not able to produce Very Coarse, Xtra Coarse or Ultra Course droplets in sizes or pressure that suit most spray operations.

High pressure air induction nozzles should be operated above 4 bar and offer best performance at 5-6 bar.

If using Pulse Width Modulation Systems – a good choice would be Wilger™ MR-04 or Wilger™ SR-06 nozzles at pressures below 2.4 Bar.  

Here are some useful links on nozzles:

How do I know if my nozzle meets the new requirements?

USE ONLY nozzles that the nozzles’ manufacturer has rated to deliver a VERY COARSE or larger droplet size category, as referenced to ASAE S572 Standard (including all newer versions such as S572.1) or BCPC or ISO 25358.

DO NOT use a higher pressure in your spray system than the maximum the manufacturer specifies for the selected nozzle to deliver the droplet size category required in the label Spray Drift Restraint.

Will adjuvants increase droplet size?

Nozzle choice and operating pressure have the greatest influence on spray quality.
If a 2,4-D product is being applied, nozzles that provide the specified spray quality must be used.  Tank mixes do not change this requirement

Use only recommended adjuvants for the product.

Buffer zone definition

A ‘buffer zone’ is an area where pesticide application does not occur between the application site and an identified sensitive area which is downwind from the application site. For boom and aerial spraying, a buffer zone is measured from the edge of the sprayer swath closest to the downwind sensitive area; for vertical spraying, a buffer zone is measured from half a row width (i.e. trees, vines, other plants) outside the application site closest to the downwind sensitive area.

DO NOT apply in a manner that may cause an unacceptable impact to native vegetation, agricultural crops, landscaped gardens and aquaculture production, or cause contamination of plant or livestock commodities, outside the application site from spray drift. Wherever possible, correctly use application equipment designed to reduce spray drift and apply when the wind direction is away from these sensitive areas.

Watercourse definition

For the purpose of ‘natural aquatic areas’, the current definition of ‘watercourse’ under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 is a river, creek or other natural watercourse (whether modified or not) in which water is contained or flows (whether permanently or from time to time); and includes:

      • A dam or reservoir that collects water flowing in a watercourse
      • A lake or ‘wetland’ through which water flows
      • A channel into which the water of a watercourse has been diverted
      • Part of a watercourse
      • An estuary through which water flows

A ‘wetland’ is an area of land where water covers the soil – all year or just at certain times of the year. They include:

      • Swamps, marshes
      • Billabongs, lakes, lagoons
      • Saltmarshes, mudflats
      • Mangroves, coral reefs
      • Bogs, fens, and peatlands.

A ‘wetland’ may be natural or artificial and its water may be static or flowing, fresh, brackish or saline.

Landscaped gardens definition

‘Landscaped gardens’ means any terrestrial plant species grown for ornamental purposes on private or public land, or for domestic food production on private land, with the following exceptions:

      • Species that are declared noxious or invasive to the area of application by local, state or commonwealth legislation
      • Plants which are not part of a garden under management at the time of pesticide application (e.g. flowering plants which have escaped from a home garden and have become weeds in another area)
Native vegetation definition

‘Native vegetation’ means any terrestrial plant species native to Australia as defined under local, state or Commonwealth legislation with the following exceptions:

      • Species that are declared noxious or invasive to the area of application by local, state or Commonwealth legislation
      • Plants that the chemical user, or the person the chemical user is applying agricultural chemical product/s on behalf of, is legally allowed to remove under local, state or Commonwealth legislation
Natural aquatic areas definition

‘Natural aquatic areas’ are where a ‘watercourse’ (as defined by the Commonwealth Water Act 2007) is present, with the following exceptions:

      • Artificial ‘watercourses’ used exclusively for agricultural or ornamental purposes, such as irrigation channels, flood irrigation areas, farm dams, ornamental ponds, golf course dams, those used for aquacultural production, etc.
      • ‘Watercourses’ that are dry at the time of pesticide application
      • ‘Watercourses’ that are commonly identified as ‘puddles’
Nufarm’s advice summary
      • Use minimum of 80L/ha water volume & in heavy stubble increase to 100L/ha
      • Keep speed to below 20km/hr
      • Use robust product rates (the maximum label rate for your crop/situation)
      • Use only recommended adjuvants
      • Avoid spraying at night, use Extra Coarse (XC) or Ultra Coarse (UC) if this is unavoidable (but never spray during surface temperature inversion conditions)
      • Follow the advisory statements (October – April)
Free handy techguide

download the 2,4-D recommendations techguide

More information on Drift Management Strategies
Useful resources to assist spray applicators to reduce the risk of off-target damage

Cotton Map is a tool developed by industry in conjunction with Nufarm which enables spray operators to see where cotton crops are growing.  This allows applicators to plan spraying and avoiding times when weather conditions place neighbouring crops at high risk of drift. 

Bee connected  is a nation-wide, user-driven smart-phone app that enables collaboration between beekeepers, farmers.  

SprayWise decisions is a web based tool which provides current weather information at a local level which allows applicators to make spray decisions based on real time information.

Downloadable presentation link

Download the presentation



Have a question we haven’t covered? Contact your local Territory Manager for more information.

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