APVMA 2,4-D product spray drift instructions

23 September 2019

All you need to know about the recent APVMA label instruction changes in one place. 

Latest news

Check out the new spray application video series from the GRDC! These videos were created to support growers and advisors in adhering to best practise and reduce the risk of off-target spray drift and increase awareness of the new 2,4-D label instructions. See the first of the videos below and you can find the rest of the series here.

Nufarm’s recommendations in summary
More information
The APVMA has changed 2,4-D label instructions

On 4 October 2018, the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced interim measures from their review of 2,4-D which require new spray drift instructions for the 2018-19 season. The focus of these changes is to reduce the likelihood of spray drift damage. See the APVMA website for more details. 

Which Nufarm products are affected?

AMICIDE ADVANCE 700 – 700 g/L 2,4-D amine
AMINE 625 – 625 g/L 2,4-D amine
BATON LOW – 800 g/kg 2,4-D amine 
COBBER 475 – 475 g/L 2,4-D amine
ESTERCIDE 800 – 800g/L 2,4-D ester
ESTERCIDE XTRA 680 – 680 g/L 2,4-D ester
TROOPER 75-D – 300g/L 2,4-D amine and 75 g/L picloram
ZEPHYR 625 Low Odour – 625 g/L 2,4-D amine

Who is affected by these changes?

All end users of 2,4-D products in all regions of Australia need to comply with the changes.
All chemical manufacturers and suppliers of 2,4-D need to ensure labels are updated and these labels are supplied with all product sold.

What’s new?

When applying 2,4-D products

      • The minimum mandatory droplet size increases to VERY COARSE which is an increase from the prior recommendation of COARSE
      • An advisory statement has been added “Farmers are advised to use a larger droplet size (EXTREMELY COARSE or ULTRA COARSE) until 15th April 2019”
      • Downwind buffer zones have been established from sensitive vegetation and aquatic areas
      • Boom height is restricted to a maximum of 50cm above apparent target surface (either the crop canopy, average weed height or top of stubble)
What are the advisory statements that affect me?

Advisory statements are recommendations and are not enforceable by the regulatory authority. They are provided to reduce the risk of drift and it is strongly recommended they be followed.

Advisory statements for use in cereals, fallow and pasture 1 October to 15 April
In cereals, fallow and pastures during the period 1 October to 15 April, it is advised to:

      • Use 04 or bigger TTI or equivalent nozzles that produce extremely coarse (xc) to ultra coarse (uc) droplets
      • Use higher water rates per ha, to give better efficacy
      • Use slower application speeds to allow operators to lower boom heights

Increasing droplet size and water rates while reducing application speed will assist in mitigating off target inversion drift during summer spraying. Extremely coarse droplets will produce <3% driftable droplets.

Will product efficacy be affected with coarser droplets?

Nufarm data indicates equivalent efficacy can be achieved with most target weeds and situations but water volume must be adjusted to minimum of 80 L/ha and speeds reduced to below 20km/hr. Only a slight reduction in efficacy has been seen in Autumn grass species with small vertical targets. With these weeds use the maximum label rate for that crop/situation and reduce speed to a slow as practicable.

The latest GRDC information on maintaining efficacy of 2,4-D with larger droplets is available here

A benefit of increasing spray quality is to reduce the percentage of droplets below 150 micron. Droplets at or below 150 micron are unlikely to hit the target, and in warm conditions they evaporate prior to uptake by the leaf surface. These droplets are not effective in obtaining efficacy.

What has the APVMA not changed?

The labels did not change the following conditions and they still apply:

      • DO NOT apply in a manner that may cause an unacceptable impact to native vegetation, agricultural crops, landscaped gardens and aquaculture production, or cause contamination of plant or livestock commodities, outside the application site from spray drift
      • DO NOT spray when surface temperature inversion conditions are present (but more information is now on label)
How do I predict or monitor inversions?

Surface temperature inversion is likely to be present if:

      • Mist, fog, dew or a frost have occurred
      • Smoke or dust hangs in the air and moves sideways, just above the ground surface
      • Cumulus clouds that have built up during the day collapse towards evening
      • Wind speed is constantly less than 11 km/hr in the evening and overnight
      • Cool off-slope breezes develop during the evening and overnight
      • Distant sounds become clearer and easier to hear
      • Aromas become more distinct during the evening than during the day

Information sourced from GRDC Fact Sheet: ‘Surface Temperature Inversions and Spraying’, Jul 2014

When is the greatest risk of inversions?

Nufarm has developed a tool – our 24 hour SprayWise diagram – to show those high risk periods. You can download the tool by clicking the button below.

24 hour spraywise wheel

My sprayer does not go below 75 cm, can I still use this to spray 2,4-D products?
      • Nufarm and Croplands in conjunction with industry has worked with the APVMA to obtain a permit to use Nufarm’s 2,4-D products through spray equipment that can’t set a boom height of 50cm from the ground (such as RoGators).  The APVMA has issued a permit (PER87338) which allows growers and contractors to spray if the boom is no higher than 85 cm above the ground provided the spray quality is ULTRA COARSE 
      • Permit only applies to Amicide Advance 700, Trooper 75-D,  Cobber 475, Estercide Xtra 680, Zephyr 625, Amine 625, Baton Low and Estercide 800.
      • Note that in situations where the target height is above 35 cm, the existing label requirements apply as this permit is not needed. For example, if the target height was 40 cm and the boom is set at 50 cm above the target (90 cm from the ground) then application could occur with a VERY COARSE droplet size (noting the advisory recommendation for EXTREMELY COARSE or ULTRA COARSE droplets during certain times of the year).
      • Click here for a copy of the APVMA permit  and ensure you fully read and understand it prior to use as different record keeping requirements apply in addition to the boom height and droplet size requirement.
Sprayers with OSST (Optical Spot Spray Technology) (such as WEED-IT) only deliver COARSE spray quality and have to be used with a 75 cm boom height above the ground, can I spray 2,4-D products?
      • Nufarm and Croplands in conjunction with industry has worked with the APVMA to obtain permits to use Amicide Advance 700 and Trooper 75-D products through OSST units such as the WEED-IT technology.  The APVMA has issued a permit (PER87570) to use OSST technology which delivers only a COARSE spray quality with a 75 cm boom height above the ground if only 10% of the application area is treated.
      • Click here for a copy of the APVMA permit and ensure you fully read and understand it prior to use as different record keeping requirements apply in addition to the boom height and droplet size requirement.
My Spray equipment is not a standard Boom as it uses droppers or directed spray. Am I affected by buffer zones?

Nufarm has been instrumental in working with the Technical Working Group of the National Working Party on Pesticide Application (NWPPA) and the APVMA to amend the definition of a “boom sprayer” in relation to downwind buffer zones with application of products such as 2,4-D.

The aim has been for the legislation to take into consideration the use of specialist equipment which can void the requirement for spray drift risk assessments and adherence to spray buffer zones for products such as 2,4-D applied via a boom sprayer.


As a result, Section 2.2 of the recently updated Spray Drift Risk Assessment Manual lists the following as NOT requiring a spray drift risk assessment:

application with specialised equipment in cropping situations where the nozzles are orientated below the horizontal of the top of the crop canopy and spray is released at a height below the top of the crop canopy (eg drop nozzles used to direct the spray to the furrows between emerged crops, or small booms used to spray inter-row areas in tree and vine crops), but excluding sprayers where air is used to aid in the spray penetrating the canopy as these are defined as ‘vertical sprayers’ (eg air blast sprayers in orchards)”

Therefore, the boom spray buffer zones listed on labels do NOT apply if droppers, such as Irvin Legs, are utilised in the application of sugarcane pesticides, (when used in accordance with the exemption above).

Refer link  https://apvma.gov.au/sites/default/files/publication/51826-spray_drift_risk_assessment_manual.pdf

Can I apply 2,4-D products through a plane or helicopter?

Yes, where aerial is specifically approved on label, 2,4-D products can be applied aerially if you adhere to the directions on the relevant Nufarm product label. Nufarm labels provide more flexibility for aerial users than the initial APVMA changes, these appear in the “Instructions for Mandatory VERY COARSE or Larger Droplet Size Categories” section of the GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS of the label.  Alternatively, additional situations are covered in a permit issued by APVMA.  Click here for a copy of the APVMA permit..

What is Nufarm doing?

For products made on or after the 1 November 2018, updated labels will be on all products containing 2,4-D.

Only the back multifolds with the booklets will change initially.  The new multifold booklets will have the notice below printed on the top to remind users of the changes.

Updated labels can be accessed on the website via the product page.

Which nozzle should I use?

Please consult your nozzle suppliers for full details to obtain the most up to date information on which nozzles to use to obtain very coarse droplets.

Changing to a high pressure air induction nozzles, such as the Hardi Injet™, Teejet™ TTI, or the Agrotop™ TD-XL-D is likely required, as low-pressure air induction nozzles Teejet™ AIXR or Hardi Minidrift™ are not able to produce Very Coarse, Xtra Coarse or Ultra Course droplets in sizes or pressure that suit most spray operations.

High pressure air induction nozzles should be operated above 4 bar and offer best performance at 5-6 bar.

If using Pulse Width Modulation Systems – a good choice would be Wilger™ MR-04 or Wilger™ SR-06 nozzles at pressures below 2.4 Bar.  

Here are some useful links on nozzles:

How do I know if my nozzle meets the new requirements *UPDATED APVMA NOZZLE CLASSIFICATION*?

For Nufarm products containing 2,4-D, the label states under Section 1 Instructions for Ground Application:

USE ONLY nozzles that the nozzles’ manufacturer has rated to deliver a VERY COARSE or larger droplet size category as referenced to ASAE S572 Standard (including all newer versions such as S572.1) or BCPC or ISO 25358. Choose a nozzle specified to provide the droplet size category required in the label Spray Drift Restraints.

DO NOT use a higher spray system pressure than the maximum the manufacturer specifies for the selected nozzle to deliver the droplet size category required in the label Spray Drift Restraint.

The APVMA has recently clarified its stance nozzle droplet size classification and now accepts five standards. 

Further details can be found here: APVMA Droplet Size Classification

Full details can be found here: technical note on standards for the classification of nozzles in Australia

Will adjuvants increase droplet size?

Nozzle choice and operating pressure have the greatest influence on spray quality.
If a 2,4-D product is being applied, nozzles that provide the specified spray quality must be used.  Tank mixes do not change this requirement

Use only recommended adjuvants for the product.

Buffer zone definition

A ‘buffer zone’ is an area where pesticide application does not occur between the application site and an identified sensitive area which is downwind from the application site. For boom and aerial spraying, a buffer zone is measured from the edge of the sprayer swath closest to the downwind sensitive area; for vertical spraying, a buffer zone is measured from half a row width (i.e. trees, vines, other plants) outside the application site closest to the downwind sensitive area.

DO NOT apply in a manner that may cause an unacceptable impact to native vegetation, agricultural crops, landscaped gardens and aquaculture production, or cause contamination of plant or livestock commodities, outside the application site from spray drift. Wherever possible, correctly use application equipment designed to reduce spray drift and apply when the wind direction is away from these sensitive areas.

Watercourse definition

For the purpose of ‘natural aquatic areas’, the current definition of ‘watercourse’ under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 is a river, creek or other natural watercourse (whether modified or not) in which water is contained or flows (whether permanently or from time to time); and includes:

      • A dam or reservoir that collects water flowing in a watercourse
      • A lake or ‘wetland’ through which water flows
      • A channel into which the water of a watercourse has been diverted
      • Part of a watercourse
      • An estuary through which water flows

A ‘wetland’ is an area of land where water covers the soil – all year or just at certain times of the year. They include:

      • Swamps, marshes
      • Billabongs, lakes, lagoons
      • Saltmarshes, mudflats
      • Mangroves, coral reefs
      • Bogs, fens, and peatlands.

A ‘wetland’ may be natural or artificial and its water may be static or flowing, fresh, brackish or saline.

Landscaped gardens definition

‘Landscaped gardens’ means any terrestrial plant species grown for ornamental purposes on private or public land, or for domestic food production on private land, with the following exceptions:

      • Species that are declared noxious or invasive to the area of application by local, state or commonwealth legislation
      • Plants which are not part of a garden under management at the time of pesticide application (e.g. flowering plants which have escaped from a home garden and have become weeds in another area)
Native vegetation definition

‘Native vegetation’ means any terrestrial plant species native to Australia as defined under local, state or Commonwealth legislation with the following exceptions:

      • Species that are declared noxious or invasive to the area of application by local, state or Commonwealth legislation
      • Plants that the chemical user, or the person the chemical user is applying agricultural chemical product/s on behalf of, is legally allowed to remove under local, state or Commonwealth legislation
Natural aquatic areas definition

‘Natural aquatic areas’ are where a ‘watercourse’ (as defined by the Commonwealth Water Act 2007) is present, with the following exceptions:

      • Artificial ‘watercourses’ used exclusively for agricultural or ornamental purposes, such as irrigation channels, flood irrigation areas, farm dams, ornamental ponds, golf course dams, those used for aquacultural production, etc.
      • ‘Watercourses’ that are dry at the time of pesticide application
      • ‘Watercourses’ that are commonly identified as ‘puddles’
Nufarm’s advice summary
      • Use minimum of 80L/ha water volume & in heavy stubble increase to 100L/ha
      • Keep speed to below 20km/hr
      • Use robust product rates (the maximum label rate for your crop/situation)
      • Use only recommended adjuvants
      • Avoid spraying at night, use Extra Coarse (XC) or Ultra Coarse (UC) if this is unavoidable (but never spray during surface temperature inversion conditions)
      • Follow the advisory statements (October – April)
Free handy techguide

download the 2,4-D recommendations techguide

More information on Drift Management Strategies
Useful resources to assist spray applicators to reduce the risk of off-target damage

Cotton Map is a tool developed by industry in conjunction with Nufarm which enables spray operators to see where cotton crops are growing.  This allows applicators to plan spraying and avoiding times when weather conditions place neighbouring crops at high risk of drift. 

Bee connected  is a nation-wide, user-driven smart-phone app that enables collaboration between beekeepers, farmers.  

SprayWise decisions is a web based tool which provides current weather information at a local level which allows applicators to make spray decisions based on real time information.

Downloadable presentation link

Download the presentation


Have a question we haven’t covered? Contact your local Territory Manager for more information.

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