Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Spray drift worry for Moama vineyard

A Moama vineyard manager will know next week how much of a crop has been affected by 2, 4-D.

RUTH CLAYTON November 16, 2012 4:22am

Michael Gray (left) and Josh Mahoney with damaged vines at Mulyan Park.

Moama’s Mulyan Park vineyard manager Josh Mahoney will discover in about a week how much of the 4ha vineyard he will lose to the herbicide 2, 4-D.

The herbicide was sprayed on a nearby property in September, which then drifted onto the vineyard and caused leaf distortion and stunted the growth of the many of the vineyard’s plants.

The herbicide 2, 4-D, which can travel up to 300km, is used to kill summer weeds before they appear, but very low concentrations of it can damage grapes and tomatoes.

If high doses of the herbicide are found in the fruit, it alters the fruit’s maximum residue limit and becomes unsaleable.

Mr Mahoney said it was ‘‘unlikely’’ much of the fruit would be salvageable.

The crop affected would usually produce between 60 and 70 tonnes of fruit.

He said the plants were already developing buds, which form the fruit for next year and could have potential ramifications for next year’s crop.

Perricoota Grape Growers Association president Michael Gray said the crop would hopefully just ‘‘grow out of it’’ but it was too early to say what the ramifications were.

‘‘It’s imparted a fair bit of stress (into the vines),’’ he said.

‘‘One block of fruit will almost certainly be lost and depending on the maximum residue limits (of the fruit), the rest of the fruit of the property may also become unsaleable.’’

He said anyone spraying 2, 4-D should heed the warnings on the label.

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