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Spraying season underway on kiwifruit orchards

Tuesday, 9 August 2011 1:00 p.m.

Spraying season has started on Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchards and people are encouraged to take care around spraying areas and report any concerns.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the Regional Council is responsible for ensuring all agrichemicals are used correctly in an environmentally safe manner.

"Sprays are used to promote kiwifruit budding and the Bay of Plenty Regional Air Plan sets guidelines in place to ensure the process is carried out in the safest way possible," Mr Zaman said.  

"A lot of time and effort has been put into educating the kiwifruit industry about their responsibilities when spraying orchards, and along with improvements in technology, there should be no reason for errors," Mr Zaman said.

Orchardists must notify neighbours, place signage along the road verge and only spray in suitable wind conditions. 

"If strong winds cause serious spray drift this can damage crops or plants that are not being targeted, and cause health problems like nausea, skin rashes, breathing problems and headaches, depending on the type of chemical used and its concentration," Mr Zaman said.

"Last year, yellow spray cones were introduced in the Te Puna area to warn road users that spray was occurring.  The initiative was well received and other orchards in the region are now using cones.  

"This year the usual Hydrogen Cyanamide (Hi-Cane) is being sprayed as well as preventative measures for Psa (Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae).  With a lot of spray activity we hope that our efforts will still see a reduction in complaints," Mr Zaman said.

The Regional Council takes a hard line on those who breach the Air Plan rules around spraying.

"I think we can educate people so far, but unfortunately if the message is not getting through then we will have no option but to use enforcement," Mr Zaman said.  

This can include a formal written warning, abatement notice, instant fine or in serious cases a prosecution. 

"We would like to see everyone abiding by the rules.  People should be wary of spray signs and yellow cones, and if anyone thinks they have been affected by a neighbour spraying they should contact the Regional Council's Pollution Hotline on 0800 884 883," Mr Zaman said.

Ends

For further information about kiwifruit spraying including answers to common questions go to Agrichemical Spraydrift >>

For media information contact Communications Advisor Clare Dowthwaite, 0800 884 881 ext 8148 or 021 989 666.

 

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