Spray rig improvements made possible through BMP program

Grains Best Management Practices (BMP) program is helping farmers get the best out of their equipment, for more efficiently produced grains and great environmental gains.

Grain growers like Carmel and Kevin O’Keeffe who own and run Wallalee, a 3925 hectare mixed grazing and grains enterprise near Emerald are discovering they can vastly improve the performance of their spray equipment, resulting in less time spent in the field, less wasted chemicals and reduced run-off into local waterways.

It became clear to the O’Keeffes while completing self-assessment modules in the Grains BMP program that their spray rig was experiencing issues that were affecting the productivity of the farm.

The set-up was reducing their efficiency, costing them money whenever they did a fallow or an in-crop application, and they were also concerned about the potential for off-target movement into sensitive areas and waterways.

Through the program they were able to access the support of a consultant, Graham Betts, who worked closely with them over several weeks to identify ways to improve their spray rig. In total, nine modifications to the rig were written into an action plan, including replacing its plumbing, pump, nozzles and caps.


Kevin O'Keeffe with his improved spray rig.

Kevin O’Keeffe with his improved spray rig.

Graham Betts said he believed that up to 50 percent of landholders were not aware of how to spray correctly, and the other half were being sold new equipment that was not ‘spray-ready’, and farmers were not being given the support from resellers and spray equipment dealers to remedy issues with their machinery.

The changes mean the O’Keeffes can now apply pesticides more accurately across 1300 hectares, which means chemical is less likely to run-off their farm with rainfall and enter nearby creeks that flow to Queensland’s iconic Great Barrier Reef.

O’Keeffes can now apply pesticides more accurately with the improved set-up.

O’Keeffes can now apply pesticides more accurately with the improved set-up.

Grains BMP is supported by Fitzroy Basin Association through funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue program. The program is also supported by AgForce and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.