Chemical drift from pesticide sprays is an ongoing problem in New Zealand, says Lincoln Agritech crop protection scientist Rory Roten.

“When pesticides are used on farms and in forests, the wind can carry droplets of the sprays far away from the targeted area, potentially causing severe damage to neighbouring crops and harming the environment,” Mr Roten says.

“Spray drift has wreaked havoc on wine grapes and kiwifruit in several New Zealand orchards recently, causing several hundred thousand dollars worth of damage.”

“Agrichemicals can cause severe damage to natural ecosystems as well, especially when they land in surface waters, as most aquatic species are very sensitive to these chemicals.”

Other experts have also pointed out that spray drift exposes people and animals to harmful substances from pesticides.

In an effort to address the issue, Lincoln Agritech’s Chemical Application, Research and Training group (CART) has conducted a six-year Government-funded research programme to find out more about pesticide spray drift movements and how to mitigate them.

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