Spray Drift Claims – Our Experience

27 September 2022

In the last decade or so, a number of cases have been decided by various state courts regarding damage caused by chemical spray drift onto a neighbouring property.

Although spray drift claims could be difficult to prove depending on the circumstances and may be expensive to run due to the evidence to be gathered and the number of experts to be consulted with to establish the claim, we are seeing a greater number of spray drift claims as a result of the increased use of pesticides in the agriculture sector around Australia.

In many spray drift claims, there is a three way tussle between the claimant whose property has been affected, the chemical spray operator (either ground or aerial based) and the neighbouring landowner who contracted the spray operator. This will invariably lead to making an early assessment as to how the claim can be brought against each party involved and how the claim may be apportioned against each party.

Of course there could be more than three parties or there could simply be only two parties and each case will differ depending on the circumstances and the issues involved in each case.

We have often been consulted and our advice has been sought in this area in the last decade or so from farmers, agronomists, accountants and a range of other parties who are involved in the agriculture sector.

Moreover, in 2016 we ran a case which was tried in the Victorian Supreme Court which resulted in our client obtaining a record award of more than $7million as a consequence of spray drift which significantly damaged one of their vineyards in the Mallee area. We reported on the case in an article we published on our website in September 2017.

Since then we have been involved in other disputes involving chemical spray drift and in more general disputes or enquiries regarding farm claims in the sector.

If anyone has any interest regarding any possible claim, they should contact Howard Chait of our office at any stage.