Spray drift an unwelcome Christmas present for cotton growers

Cotton crops worth tens of millions of dollars in north-west New South Wales have been damaged by spray drift.

Growers have called an emergency meeting to discuss the impact and how to deal with it.

Vice chair of the Walgett Cotton Growers’ Association, Bernie Bierhoff, said about 6,000 hectares on more than a dozen farms are showing signs of damage from an incident on Christmas Day.

“The loss of crop and the damage bill will run into the millions, just in the Walgett region alone,” Mr Bierhoff said.

The affected area covers about 100 square kilometres around Burren Junction, Rowena and Walgett.

Mr Bierhoff said he was also getting reports of damage in other cotton regions further east and closer to Moree, such as Wee Waa and Bellata.

Farmers were hoping for a good cotton crop after struggling to find enough water this season.

Farmers were hoping for a good cotton crop after struggling to find enough water this season.

Spray drift is caused by chemicals being applied in windy conditions and in this case it is thought they may have drifted as far as 70 kilometres away.

Drift from the Phenoxy herbicide (using the active ingredient 2,4-D) has been an ongoing concern for cotton growers dating back to the 1970s.

Read More at www.abc.net.au