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"Ask the Industry" - Record Keeping

spray machines spraying crops

By Scott Mathew, Senior Solutions Development Lead  @knat71

At the end of last year, as I was doing some property visits, I noticed there were some concerns around the state of records being kept concerning crop protection use and fertiliser inputs.

Having records that are legible and able to be kept for later reference is so important, especially if you find you have issues during or at the end of the season, and you are relying on these records to work out what might have gone wrong.

I was usually invited to the property due to the grower having had a minor issue with the crop and I was there to help pin-point what the issue was and to offer a solution. When asking for their records, I was shocked to find that a lot of the information was not in a great condition, and at times barely legible. As you can imagine, this can make it very difficult to find a solution.

So, why is it important that you keep accurate chemical use records?

There are a number of reasons for keeping timely and accurate chemical use records, such as:

  • In the case of suspected spray drift, keeping the information contained in a chemical user's spray record provides information when required.
  • Having records of chemical application rate and timing makes it easier to work out the relevant withholding period.
  • Having records of environmental conditions at the time of and during the chemical applications helps to identify factors that may have affected the product’s performance.
  • Allows you to prove that application rates and wind speeds were checked prior to and during product application.
  • Recording chemical use over many seasons can help you plan resistance management strategies.
  • It helps to record and monitor the effectiveness of particular chemicals against particular insects, diseases or weeds.

It only takes a few minutes prior to and at the end of any agricultural chemical application to keep sufficient records. This small effort could save you a major inconvenience later down the track if the information is required, like the growers I mentioned earlier.

In fact, keeping accurate records is a label requirement stated on many agricultural chemical labels, it is also a legal requirement in some states e.g. Victoria it is a legal requirement to make specific records for all agricultural chemicals used in Victoria within 48 hours of the use, and keep these records for a period of two years.

What records are you expected to keep when spraying crop protection products?

As a general rule, always read and follow the label instructions, and as a minimum I suggest keeping the following records:

  • Date with start and finish times of application.
  • Location address and paddock(s) sprayed
  • Full name of the product
  • Amount of product used per hectare and number of hectares applied to
  • Crop/situation and weed/pest
  • Wind speed and direction during application
  • Air temperature and humidity
  • Nozzle brand, type, spray angle, nozzle capacity and spray system pressure measured during application
  • Name and address of person applying this product (additional record details may be required by the state or territory where the product is used)

These details should be recorded and written down within 24 hours following application and the records kept for a minimum of 2 years.