Cotton growers unite to share weather data with community and mitigate spray drift

Cotton growers unite to share weather data withcommunity and mitigate spray driftCotton growers in the Upper Namoi Valley of NSW are making important weather data publicly available tomitigate the risk of off -target spray drift.

Cotton grower and Upper Namoi C otton Grower s’ Association (Upper Namoi CGA) President Nick Beer sai dreducing the risk of spray drift was a priority acro ss all of agriculture to ensure the safety of communitie s andenvironments.

“The Upper Namoi CGA is investing more than $26,000 to tackle the issue head -on by bringing the data from13 private weather stations located on cotton farms in the region online, for the benefit of the public andenvironment,” Mr Beer said.

“Everyone in the community will be able to access the information produced by the weather stations through afree app ‘Goanna Telem etry’, which has been developed by Australian ag -tech company Goanna Ag.”Mr Beer said the local cotton industry want the project to benefit the whole community.

“This is about farmers doing their bit to protect environment al systems, wildlife, bees, their neighbour’s crops.

plants and stock,” Mr Beer said.

“We will be distributing stick ers to be placed in tractor cabs, spray rigs and vehicles reminding people to checkthe app for any relevant data when planning spraying activities. “Farmers, beekeepers, graziers, spray operators and contractors are encouraged to download the GoannaTeleme try app from either the Apple or Google Play stores, to access the free weather station information.

Cotton Australia Regional Manager Alec Macintosh congratulated the Upper Namoi CGA for proactivelyworking to mitigate the risk of spray drift and support the ir community.

“To see a ll the landholders who have weather stations on their properties make the data publicly available is apositive step forward for our communit y. The cotton growers involved have also agreed to cover the ongoingupkeep and mainten ance costs for each weather station, to ensure they provide as much use to thecommunity as possible,” Mr Macintosh said.

“This is a great example of cotton growers working collab oratively with the community to understand, navigateand assist each other through the challenges faced when planning spraying activities.”Quirindi agronomist Ben Leys hope d the release of the technology and opening it up to the public will improveall aspects of spray application.

“O ff-target chemical drift of any kind is not acceptable, no matter the product being used or industry it is beingused in,” Mr Leys said.

“One of the hardest things to predict and overcome is temperature inversions, especially in summer whenspraying wind ows can be limited due to hot weather. Any tool that helps with this will be invaluable to thewhole community.”Breeza farmer Dave Tudgey ha s a weather stations on his property Tudgey Farms, and he said all thegrowers involved in the project are committed to mitigating the risk of spray drift incidents.

“The inversion network gives everyone a valley wide view of what conditions are doing and what to expect asyour progress through the day while conducti ng your spray operations – this is an invaluable tool foreverybody to have at their disposal,” Mr Tudgey said.

Landholders who are interested in being involved in the program are invited to register their details and reference ‘Upper Namoi Cotton Growers Weather Network.’-END -Image: Jock and Dave Tudgey from Tudgey Farms, Breeza, inspecting a weather station.

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