Tag Archives: herbicide drift

After 35 mls of rain.

Last week the gardens looked so wilted and dry I thought they would be a visual right off before my 41/70 celebration on the 10th of February. But after a day of on and off showers this morning it looks like this.

Snake bean flower.

Humans have been farming for 10,000 years. It was just about 60 years ago that we started industrializing agriculture in the U.S. and around the world. After World War II, chemical companies needed a market for wartime inventions and pesticides were put to work in the fields. In the decades that followed, trade and development policy — coupled with savvy marketing by chemical companies — effectively developed an entire model of industrial agriculture.
Today, pesticides touch every aspect of our lives, from residues on our produce to increased chronic disease to biodiversity loss. It’s time for a dramatic shift in our food and farming system.


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When will we ever learn?

On Christmas Day farmers around Walgett in north-west New South Wales noticed their infant cotton plants had begun to wither. Leaves began to curl and die, killing some plants and stressing others.

Within days, it was clear Walgett was facing a serious incident that had affected nearly 6,000 hectares (60 sq km) of cotton farms reaching as far as Burren Junction, and Rowena.

The culprit is believed to be a giant plume of 2-4,D, a pesticide that is used to kill broadleaf weeds in fallow fields and in some cereal crops. A few days earlier it had rained, which prompts the weeds to sprout and farmers began spraying – though who is responsible for the 2-4,D plume remains a mystery.

Herbicide 2,4-D ‘possibly’ causes cancer, World Health Organisation study finds
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The spray, possibly used at night, is believed to have been trapped in an inversion layer in the atmosphere and then drifted over the highly sensitive cotton plants.

But cotton might just be the agricultural equivalent of the canary in the coalmine. Jo Immig, coordinator at the Australian Toxics Network said the effects of pesticide drift got public attention when cotton was affected and there were financial losses, but off-target spraying was probably affecting other areas, such as bushland, national parks, waterways and population centres, without attracting the same sort of scrutiny.

“It’s not as obvious when it’s in other parts of the environment. The regulators haven’t had nearly enough concern about pesticide drift and its impacts,” she said.


Spraying along Left Bank Road, Byron shire.

What herbicides kill.

Thanks to Tannon for  the stunning photos taken here on his mobile phone.



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