Tractor spraying pesticides
Specialised equipment being used to spray pesticides.

The Managing Pesticides in Great Barrier Reef Catchment Areas project encourages the responsible use of agricultural chemicals (pesticides):

  • in accordance with registered label directions
  • in appropriate weather conditions
  • adhering to aquatic and terrestrial buffer zone requirements
  • for required record keeping content and timing.

It is the obligation of the agricultural business to:

  • use agricultural chemicals correctly
  • follow label requirements for disposal of chemical drums and boxes.
  • hold mandatory qualifications for use of Schedule 7, Restricted chemical products and environmentally relevant activity (ERA) products
  • maintain required chemical application records.

The project is 1 of 10 projects delivered by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) to support Queensland Government’s Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.

Shed meetings and workshops

Agricultural businesses can attend shed meetings and workshops to learn about agricultural chemicals, following registered label directions and record keeping requirements.

Meetings are regularly held across 4 regions:

  • Tully
  • Haughton
  • Mackay/Proserpine
  • Mackay/ Sarina.

On-farm assessments

Agricultural businesses are randomly selected to be assessed on their chemical use practices. These assessments can be conducted in person, online or over the phone. They aim to  measure the level of adherence the business has with the directions for use on the registered label of the chemicals being used.

These assessments offer businesses the opportunity to explore new chemical practices and cover issues such as:

  • use of handheld anemometers in field for weather detail collection
  • use of flow meters to check application water rates
  • use of digital pressure gauges to test pressure at the nozzle
  • accessing chemical application record templates
  • identifying and understanding individual farm buffer requirements
  • use of different nozzle types to achieve required droplet size.

Benefits of the correct use of agricultural chemicals

Cost benefit

Agricultural businesses prevent unnecessary expenses and reduce waste by:

  • following recommended spraying advice
  • using correct application equipment
  • using correct applications to ensure product efficacy and prevent spraydrift.

Improved water quality

Pesticide runoff poses one of the greatest risks to water quality and can have adverse environmental effects on marine and coastal ecosystems. Improved water quality assists all agricultural businesses in the region. By using agricultural chemicals correctly, farmers can minimise the impact of pesticide runoff, contributing to improved water quality in the region. This benefits not only the environment but also the agricultural businesses that rely on clean water sources.

Legal requirements

It is a legal requirement to use pesticides according to the registered label. To avoid any legal repercussions, agricultural chemical users are required to:

  • keep accurate chemical application records
  • spray during the correct season
  • observe buffer zones and weather conditions when spraying
  • follow directions for use, including application rates and equipment used
  • maintain and calibrate chemical application equipment regularly to ensure chemicals are applied correctly and to avoid waste
  • ensure chemical users have required qualifications.

Enhanced reputation

Adopting appropriate practices in the use of agricultural chemicals can contribute to a positive reputation for agricultural businesses. Compliance with legal requirements, environmental consciousness, and responsible chemical application, demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and responsible farming practices.

Safer working environment

By following recommended guidelines and ensuring that chemical users have the required qualifications, agricultural businesses create a safer working environment for their employees. Proper training and qualification ensure that chemicals are handled with care, reducing the risk of accidents and health hazards for workers involved in the application process.

Long-term sustainability

Correct use of agricultural chemicals contributes to the long-term sustainability of agricultural operations. By preventing chemical wastage, minimising environmental impact, and complying with legal standards, farmers can maintain their productivity while preserving the land and resources for future generations.

Next steps

Project staff will continue to undertake on-farm assessment activities and work with the community by providing as much information as possible on what you need to do when using agricultural chemicals. They will also continue to support agricultural businesses and provide education opportunities.


Find out more

Contact project staff at if you’d like learn more about:

  • shed meetings and workshops
  • assessment activities to better understand your farm chemical application
  • the application of agricultural chemicals in accordance with the registered label
  • recordkeeping requirements.

Last updated: 08 Aug 2023