Jimboomba Times, August 22, 2012
Mr Livingstone from Growcom (above top right) seemed to have swallowed last week’s ‘no dangerous pesticide levels found’ on the Harvest Road farm story in last week’s JT, hook, line and sinker, and here he comes out swinging. His certainty here makes me suspect he did not know of the circumstances of the testing, which were questionable, to say the least. (You certainly can’t say this debate is not somewhat entertaining – if it wasn’t affecting our neighborhood, I’d probably be ROFLMAO …).
We were very pleased to see my letter (‘Results are meaningless’) published alongside his, (thank you JT), as it states directly the reasons why the residents of Greenbank have little faith in the Dept of Environment and Heritage Protection’s testing procedures.
And, just for some more light relief, again, retired famer of 35 years, Douglas Higgins of New Beith, has weighed in. Mr Higgins, we do respect your experience and expertise, we really do. And are happy to read your opinions. If only you would stop lecturing us as if we are misguided fools!
We have been doing our research, (unlike most correspondents from outside of Greenbank who has weighed into this issue). And we beg to differ with what you say. First we have the rather odd and completely unfounded accusation that Crystal Hogan does not care about the poisoning of birds in her area – but i guess this is no weirder than your previous letter (JT, 15/8) where you stated that, ‘It is impossible for birds to breathe in sufficient spray to kill them as their plumage, like the protective clothing the farmer uses, would prevent them from absorbing spray through their skin’. Go figure. A little study of basic biology seems to be in order here.
Mr Higgins’ question as to how the farms can be so productive with such poor soils reveals how little he really knows about the farming practices in Greeenbank. The farms are productive because they grow hydroponically, and rely on manually adding nutrients to the mix. This is definitely an improvement on the open field farming, which in the past used boom sprays that spread the agricultural chemicals everywhere and required copious amounts of stinky fertiliser because of the poor clay and sandy soils in this area.
But the protected horticulture setups are still problematic. Even though they may contain spray drift more effectively than in open farming, concentrations of chemicals still build up in the soil inside the greenhouses and run off these properties onto neighbouring ones during heavy rain events. This has not even been considered by this writer. We believe it should be, especially as the farm is located uphill and only around 50 metres from Crewes Creek. The information on Chlorpyrifos we have posted makes it clear that the chemical adheres to soil particles – which is why it is so dangerous to nearby waterways.
His main argument about how spray is formed and the distances it travels are simply incorrect.
Over the weekend we will post here some graphics from the APVMA (Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority) which clearly demonstrate that, inside 50 metres, spray drift concentrations do not decrease to safe levels.