2,4-D herbicides are used for the control of broadleaf weeds in pastures and crops. However, because some formulations of 2,4-D are quite volatile, there is a risk that vapour may drift off-target. This poses a potential risk to highly susceptible non-target crops (e.g. grape vines, vegetables, glasshouse crops and poppies). Some crops have been damaged by 2,4-D herbicides applied up to 10 kilometres away.
Crops, particularly grape vines, are most susceptible during the growing season. High temperatures during this period also increase the likelihood of vapour drift.
For these reasons, the general use of herbicides containing 2,4-D during the period 15 September to 15 April
is prohibited. You may only apply a 2,4-D herbicide during this period if you have a permit issued by the Registrar of Chemical Products.
Application Form - 2,4-D Agricultural Spraying Permit (48Kb)
Permits will only be issued after consideration of factors such as:
- the distance between the target area and susceptible crops,
- application method e.g. boom spray, spot spray or wiper application,
- availability of alternative herbicides or weed control methods,
- whether the application could have been made earlier (i.e. before 15 September).
A charge will be made for site inspections that may be necessary before a permit can be issued. Permit application forms can be obtained from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment offices and website (PDF format above).
It is recommended that if you need to use 2,4-D herbicides to control weeds such as thistles and ragwort, you should apply them before 15 September. This will reduce the risk of off-target damage and also avoid the need to get a permit. It is also likely that applications at this time will provide more effective weed control with less pasture damage.
You should note however, that 2,4-D drift can occur at any time of the year. As with any other herbicide application, you must ensure that you take the necessary measures to reduce the risk of off-target damage.