Low-drift nozzle secures Government backing

A nozzle that reduces pesticide spray drift in orchards and vineyards has become the first of its kind to be advocated by the Government's Local Environment Risk Assessment (LERAP) scheme.

Say No to Drift campaigner Rene Pollak revealed at the British Independent Fruit Growers Association (BIFGA) Spring Farm Walk on 24 April that the Albuz TVI nozzle is the first piece of low-drift orchard equipment to be awarded a LERAP three-star rating since the scheme started 11 years ago.

"It is officially rated to reduce drift by a minimum of 75 per cent," said Pollak. "The Albus TVI actually reduces drift by 90 per cent compared with conventional hollow-cone nozzles."

Pollak, a business manager at Dow AgroSciences, told growers at the event that Dow, Headland and Makhteshim Agan formed Say No to Drift 18 months ago to help keep the insecticide chlorpyrifos on the market. It is under review by the Chemicals Regulation Directorate.

Changes to the Government's risk assessment of chlorpyrifos products mean the current safeguard of an 18m buffer zone for air-blast sprayers and a 5m buffer zone for boom sprayers is no longer considered sufficient protection for aquatic life.

Pollak said: "Please, when you are spraying, change from the conventional nozzles to using low-drift nozzles otherwise we are going to lose the product."

Growers are now advised to use the low-drift nozzles and ensure that they keep a 20m no-spray buffer zone for boom sprayers and a 50m no-spray buffer zone for axial fan and tower sprayers.

At the BIFGA Spring Farm Walk, Pollak and his colleague Steve Norman used water-sensitive papers to demonstrate to growers the difference in spray drift between the conventional ATR and the TVI nozzles.

The papers were placed in the canopies of trees that were positioned as far as four rows away from the trees that were targeted by the two nozzles. The papers were then collected after spraying and shown to growers.

There were predictably fewer spots on the papers that were in the trees within spraying distance of the low-drift TVI nozzle.

Pollak said: "The TVI nozzles draws air into the mixing pump with the liquid, so it has air bubbles included. This means that the droplet size is better controlled than it is in the ATR nozzle, so you then end up with larger droplets but none that are less than 0.1mm."

He added: "Those are the ones that are going to blow in the wind."

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