Real Farmers get shafted at the expense of Big Wind

Member for Hume, Alby Schultz spelled out the potential risk to light aircraft safety in this post. Alby spoke about the veteran flyer, Ted MacIntosh’s unsettling experience of being caught unexpectedly by turbine turbulence being generated 9km away.

But not only do aerial spray contractors have to keep a healthy distance between their machines and the ground at all times (tough enough, some might think) from time to time, they are called on to sprinkle crops or pasture with fertilizer or chemicals to control weeds and pests.

In our recent post on the battle for the Yorke Peninsula Heartland  we asked whether there were any takers prepared to try doing this:

spray 1

Or this:


Or this:

fire bombing

In the middle of an environment like this:


According to the Yass Tribune, Ted Macintosh (the subject of Alby’s speech) and John Stokes are a couple of experienced pilots that won’t be taking to the air if the giant fans ever go up at Yass.

Wind farms risk local jobs
Yass Tribune
Joe McDonough
22 May 22, 2013

Ted McIntosh has based his aerial fertilising business, Yass Air Proprietary Limited, out of his Black Range Road property since 1975. He has now found out, through a newsletter, that his airstrip will be situated “not three kilometres” from the 152 proposed turbines. This is inside the likely aerial exclusion zone, which Mr McIntosh says will be at least six kilometres, and will close down his runway, preventing him from flying his two aircraft.

“I found out about it because we got this [newsletter] in the mail, that’s the first we heard about it. That’s when I realised that I better do something about this turbulence. Of course I didn’t get very far there because nobody has ever had an investigation in Australia into wake-turbulence effects from wind farms because there haven’t been that many built so far.

“I first went to the council when this was talked about years ago and the council invited all the ratepayers to come in and have a look as to how the wind towers would affect their properties.

“I went in and had a look and there were about half a dozen blades taken from certain spots along the Black Range Road. I thought half a dozen wind towers that’s nothing, I didn’t expect to see 152, did I?”

There is no such thing as good timing for this to happen but it doesn’t get much worse than when you have had plans drawn up for the upgrade of the airstrip, he said.

“I believe in this airstrip so much that we’ve made plans to have it resurveyed and it would be the only two-way airstrip between here, Cootamundra, Goulburn and Tumut,” he said.

Asked if the wind farm would make these developments pointless, Mr McIntosh explained he was still hoping that there would be a reason to have it up and running by next summer.

“Not necessarily. I’m just hoping the state government will put a stop to all this until people can sit back and think. Obviously there’s been a great push to get these things up but it’s people like us, the sustainable farmers and also the farmers’ contractors, who lose our business.”

Mr McIntosh is not alone. Aerial contractor John Stokes also fears for himself and his clients.

“That’s the country that we spray and exclusion zones will prevent us from going anywhere near them. It’s not just our livelihood but the farmers as well who need that aerial support.”

Farmer Tony Medway uses both Mr McIntosh and Mr Stokes to maintain his ‘Garway’ property just outside of Dalton and says that without the aerial assistance his productivity would be significantly reduced.

“If [Ted McIntosh] goes, we wouldn’t be able to fertilise a lot of our country because a lot of our property is hilly terrain that is only accessible by air. We also get aerial spraying every year and I’d imagine that would come to an end too, so yeah there are a lot of serious concerns for us,” Mr Medway said.
Yass Tribune

Any contractors ready to take the challenge set out in the pictures above, will also need to dodge a legal bullet if turbine turbulence induced spray drift knocks out the neighbour’s wheat crop.

Spray contractors face substantial liability in damages where the chemical drifts onto neighbouring property and causes damage to crops or pasture. And that risk is all the greater in cases where the spraying is done from the air.

In this very recent NSW Court of Appeal Case, the aerial spray contractor escaped liability for damage caused by spray drift because the wind and weather conditions were “ideal” for spraying. The contractor would have been liable, however, if the contractor was spraying in conditions that were less than ideal.

Farming is not the easiest pursuit, what with flood, fire and drought – let alone the economic impact of the high Australian Dollar.  Adding thousands of giant fans can only make a difficult job harder – turbine generated turbulence will not only make flying a far riskier affair, it will mean that aerial spraying will simply not be an option wherever the fans go up.

And losing spray contractors like Ted McIntosh and John Stokes to wind farms not only deprives farmers of a critical tool in their farming arsenal – the community loses small businesses and the type of people that make rural communities tick.


But – what the hay – who cares if Australian food and fibre producers go out of business? No need to worry – the Chinese are ready, willing and able to take up the slack.


About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. It just goes to show.

    That the present Federal Labor Goverment, couldn’t care less about the production of food & fiber for the people of this Great Nation of Australia (soon it will be the Great Nation of Australia, that was, if RED HEAD & HER WEASELS are there much longer). I guess the weasels & greentards think it is better to have wind turbines to force up the price of electricity, so that people can’t afford to have the power connected to their homes.

    With wind turbines all around the countryside, grain, cattle & sheep farmers will not be able to care for their land & animals in a normal & proper way. The wind turbines will prevent farmers from keeping down pests & feral animals, as they won’t be able to >>> crop spray, get rid of weeds & ferterlise their land to control the above with ag-areoplanes, because of the terrain etc, let alone fighting fires.


    Let’s all get back on normal electricity & get this lovely Nation of ours on track again before it is too late. Time is running out, as industry is closing down, Ford is one of many.

    There are health issues which have been spoken about many, many times. Things don’t look too bright with industrial wind turbines, dotted all around the country side.


  2. Andrew Gabb says:

    Farmers of Australia,

    It’s about time we as farmers all became united to fight what is happening. To those who sign up to wind turbines you are extremely selfish and failing your industry long term and your fellow farmers.

    To the NFF and VFF and other associated bodies who represent farmers it’s about time you took a stance to protect our industry, your silence is deafening. You haven’t even got a policy stance on wind turbines, that’s how out of date you all are.

    To the real farmers out there I say, stand up now, as the Chinese and our duopoly of supermarkets (Coles and Woolworths) don’t care if we all fold, as most of the product they sell now is imported.

    The writing is on the wall.

    Andrew Gabb


  1. […] For flyers just trying to get from A to B the additional (and unnecessary) risk created by giant fans is bad enough. But spare a thought for those called on to fly in and among these things on routine basis – eg, crop dusters and fire-fighters involved in water-bombing (see our post here). […]

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