By admin       2018-01-04

Cotton growers in north-west NSW are blaming off-target spray drift for “complete crop loss”. About 5000 hectares of cotton growing on more than 10 farms in the district bounded by Burren Junction, Rowena and Walgett are reported to have been damaged. But the figures may rise after all growers check their crops on the advice of Cotton Australia. On Wednesday Walgett Cotton Growers’ Association (CGA) called an emergency meeting for Thursday evening at the Walgett Sporting Club to discuss the “impact of spray drift and agronomic strategies to recover damaged cotton crops”. Walgett CGA vice chairman Bernie Bierhoff fears the damage could be “devastating” for some growers. “Spray drift damage is a terrible blow for the affected cotton growers, who are already struggling with limited access to water for irrigation this season,” he said. “While it is still early days, the information we have to date suggests more than 5000 hectares of cotton has been affected by off-target spray drift in the days leading up to December 25. “Although the drift has caused varying degrees of severity, some growers believe they are facing complete crop loss, which would simply be devastating for them.” While it is still early days, the information we have to date suggests more than 5000 hectares of cotton has been affected by off-target spray drift in the days leading up to December 25. Walgett Cotton Growers' Association vice chairman Bernie Bierhoff Cotton Australia’s northern NSW regional manager Paul Sloman said the “affected crop area may be higher” once all growers in the district inspected their fields. “We are encouraging growers to inspect their fields and report any damage to the relevant regulatory authorities,” he said. “In NSW, reports should be made to the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) hotline on 131 555.” Representatives of Cotton Australia, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and other industry organisations inspected damaged cotton ahead of the emergency meeting. Mr Sloman said it was imperative that all agricultural industries worked together, and farmers individually worked with their neighbours, in a bid to combat off-target spray drift.

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