Grape growers are wasting too much money on inefficient spraying methods, according to a Unites States expert.

While precision agriculture technology has allowed broadacre farmers to become highly efficient in the application of chemical sprays, the same cannot be said for the viticulture industry.

Dr Andrew Landers, a pesticide application specialist at Cornell University, says there's a wide range of simple techniques farmers can use to ensure spray drift is kept to a minimum, such as reducing tractor speed, or modifying the sprayer to reduce airflow, but these are often are ignored.

"It's interesting to note that a vine canopy might need around 2,500 cubic metres of air volume per hectare, and the big air blast sprayers are turning out 50,000 cubic metres of air.

"When you match the two, you see how little air we need."

Dr Landers says if growers don't make the effort to reduce spray drift, governments may step in and enforce limits, as farmers in Europe have experienced.

"There we see buffer zones of up to 30 metres, and therefore to reduce such a wide buffering zone from your neighbouring property it's important to try and adopt technology that will reduce drift."

 

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