Global Agriculture

Spray hazard warning system live for QLD summer spraying season

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12 December 2022, AU: A major milestone has been reached in the effort to help minimise spray drift, with a hazardous weather warning system now live for Queensland grain and cotton growers.

The system – named Weather and Networked Data or WAND – is the result of six years of collaborative research by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) into meteorological conditions and the spray application of crop protection products.

Earlier this year GRDC and CRDC partnered with Goanna Ag to deliver this new technology to growers and spray applicators. The technology will provide real time weather data about the presence and absence of hazardous temperature inversions.

Goanna Ag has now completed construction of the first 33 WAND towers across the grain and cotton regions of Queensland. A further 20 are also fully operational in New South Wales, and as flood waters subside, another 57 towers will be erected, bringing the total tower network to 100.

“A significant amount of the Queensland cotton cropping belt is today within 40km of a WAND tower, providing critical information for spray hazard identification to the grain and cotton regions of central and southern Queensland,” Goanna Ag CEO Alicia Garden says.

“WAND will deliver growers and their spray contractors up-to-date weather data updated every 10 minutes, identifying hazardous temperature inversion periods, giving them confidence to proceed with spray operations.”

GRDC Chair John Woods says having the WAND system live in QLD would provide enormous benefits to grain and cotton growers this summer.

“This is an important and progressive step for agriculture and GRDC are really pleased to have partnered with CRDC to support researchers Dr Graeme Tepper and Dr Warwick Grace to develop the first – and only – reliable and accurate method to determine when hazardous inversions are present. We have now brought the technology and analysis to the market, into growers’ hands, through our enabling partner Goanna Ag,” Mr Woods says.

“Growers, applicators and users of crop protection products take their responsibility seriously for ensuring good efficacy and stewardship and WAND will offer a dynamic tool in real time to reduce risks and maximise opportunities.”

CRDC’s Executive Director Dr Ian Taylor says today’s announcement was the culmination of six years of collaborative research and development and urged cotton and grain growers to begin using WAND.

“This type of research and innovation is exactly why GRDC and CRDC exists – to make a real, tangible difference to our growers and their communities,” Mr Taylor says.

“WAND is available to all growers and contractors free-of-charge and we encourage them to sign up today. QLD growers can start using the system immediately, as can some growers in NSW, with the full NSW system expected to be live by March.”

Also Read: World Soil Day 2022: FAO publishes first global report on black soils

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