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Bid to prevent spray drift in future

“We had a good discussion about how to manage the crop from now and more so how we can try and prevent it happening again.”

Some of the damaged cotton crop.

The late spring and summer rain might have been a blessing to cotton growers counting the cost of a lack of it earlier this year, but it has also turned out to be a curse for some.

About 6000 hectares of cotton in an area from Burren Junction to Rowena and across to Walgett has been lost due to damage from off-target spray drift around Christmas Day.

Most of the major damage has occurred on 12 properties, with some growers facing complete crop loss. Other growers have areas of cotton showing the symptoms of spray damage.

It is a devastating blow following the failure of the winter harvest and a cotton season that promised so much with rain falling at the right time.

But it is a problem that rears its head in those conditions, as the rain is also an opportunity for other farmers to use 2,4-D herbicide to control fallow weeds.

To that end, about 50 local farmers and agronomists attended an emergency meeting called by the Walgett Cotton Growers’ Association in Walgett last Thursday night.

Association vice chairman Bernie Bierhoff said nearly every dryland farmer was represented, either in person or by their agronomist.

“We had a good discussion about how to manage the crop from now and more so how we can try and prevent it happening again,” he said.