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14 September 2012

VGA Annual General Meeting - Report

The 35 attendees celebrated our 10th birthday in style. We started with the cakes and slices at morning tea and they lasted well into the afternoon. We had a nice lunch too. Thanks for arranging that Deb.

The morning kicked off with a very informative session on residual herbicides. John Campbell from Macspred gave us a lot more info about these products than you will find on labels and he backed this up with plenty of case studies.

Alex Perera from DPI took us through licensing issues with a really novel quiz based on a popular game show and we were very impressed. She finished off with a session on decontamination of equipment.

Micheal Moerkirk from DPI gave us a different perspective on weed identification by showing us how to look for common characteristics from rosettes through to mature plants as well as common groups of plants.

Finally, Steve Turmane from Parks Vic. went through their expression of interest documentation. Many members who recently worked through this process could not see the relevance of much of it. Steve did concede that one small part should not have been included but that was pretty much it.

We ended the day with an open forum to discuss member issues. Jack Goutzoulas stepped down from the executive and we thank him for his input during his term. Dean Drayton was elected to take Jack's place on the executive and we welcome him. The rest of the executive remains the same.

It was good to see some new faces at the AGM particularly three new members and also good to a number of wives coming along. What is the old saying, "Behind every good man there is a good wife". We hope that you all found the day worthwhile.

Thanks to all those who helped make the day the success it was.

.....Jeff Noack, President-VGA

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15 June 2012

Various Topics

Hello All VGA Members,

A few things have happened since the last printed newsletter.

At the beginning of the autumn break the executives decided to tackle the issue of unlicenced contractors. We ran some notices in local papers that covered the Mallee, Wimmera and part of the western district and we also discussed the issue with DPI. As a result a significant number of operators were investigated and some were found to be unaware of all or part of the licensing requirements. Some decided to pull out of contracting, one factor was the difference in public liability for a contractor as against spraying on ones own farm. There is of course no legal requirement to have any insurance but the advice was offered anyway. The exercise cost us about $350.00 but we got a new member so it was an overall gain. If you have a problem with unlicenced operators in your area let Debbie know and we will see if we can help.

Members in the west of the state may have been involved with Parks Victoria documentation recently. Some of the terms were rather novel to say the least. A spokesperson from Parks will be at our annual meeting to explain.

Government tender documents are a real dog's breakfast. Cheap seems to be a common standard and the results reflect it. Have a good look at the terms of payment too or you may have to wait several months for payment. There is also evidence of councils seeking quotations for work well in excess of the money they have available. The information gleaned is then used for "forward planning". Surely contractors are not being used to provide a free service?

There are a couple of interesting labels around:

Velocity herbicide calls for medium size droplets and flat fan nozzles are recommended. Given the active ingredients it is understandable. Lots of nozzles produce a flat fan "pattern" including drift reduction types but I assume they mean the old XR type. This is reflected in the buffer zones. 250m for anything that stock may graze for the next 8 weeks; 40m for any other vegetation; 20m from water. These distances are for winds up to 20kph.

Roundup attack. You know the one with IQ inside! Sounds like it's computerised. The label states "coarse to very coarse" droplets and suggests that whilst "spray drift potential" is lowest when the wind is between 3 and 15 kph there are many factors to consider and leaves it at that. No mention of buffer zones. Clever wording.

There are moves afoot to have all chemical training standardised at a National level. Sounds good in theory but I wonder what stumbling blocks will be found to thwart it. Still, the betting is that it will get up before National Control of Use Standards do.

When VGA was first set up we adapted a code of conduct which the VFF developed in the eighties. As this has been almost completely swallowed up by legislation the executive decided it was no longer relevant. We are considering replacing it with a form of professional development modules or endorsements that members earn. For example, if you attend the AGM there will be segments on the use of residual herbicides and decontaminating your gear. (Debbie will dutifully record your presence and that you listened attentively.) Well that's the gist of it anyway.

Here is a bit of good news. Or so it appears. The Commonwealth wants to have a national standard for the liability of corporate directors and officers when a corporation commits an offence. Under the proposal, a director who has no knowledge of, or is in no position to influence, would not be able to be prosecuted. This affects Part 72 of the Vic.AG and Vet Control of Use Act. We were asked to comment and we did in the affirmative.

Finally, the AGM is on Aug.31st. We hope you are telling clients that you will not be available on that day as you will be in Bendigo learning how to improve your service to them.

At this stage we have speakers on residual chemical use, decontamination, weed identification, Parks Vic representative, and a DPI person and plenty of time for social discussion.

Yours sincerely,

VGA Committee

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17 January 2012

Licences

(Excluding domestic garden situations.)

Any business that provides a commercial service of applying agricultural chemicals by any method for fee or reward requires one of the following:

  • DPI Commercial Operator Licence ( COL ).
  • Dept. of Health Licence to use pesticides ( LTUP ).
Ref. DPI Booklet: "A Guide To Using Agricultural Chemicals In Victoria".

The VGA supports this policy and that of fair competition and urges contractors to be correctly licenced.

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