Welcome to 2018 

Welcome to Infopest News’ first edition for 2018. Our numbers are slowly growing, and we encourage those of you receiving this newsletter who used to be users of Infopest to register for use once again. We work hand in glove with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) to bring you the most comprehensive searchable database for registered and permitted pesticides in Australia.

Did you know Infopest also lists organic products? Type “organic” into product search and you’ll see which products are certified for the organic industry. With chemical compliance audits around the bend, use Infopest to obtain a copy of the Safety Data Sheets for all the products you use or have in-store. These are just two of the many ways Infopest can be helpful to you business. Happy searching!


APVMA’s proposed approach to spray drift

Any grower knows on-site retention of applied pesticides is vitally important. There are many negative environmental and social issues associated with spray drift that should be avoided at all costs. Regulations around spray drift prevention on pesticide labels have been a topic of scrutiny for many years and they are under the spotlight once again. The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is seeking comment on their proposed approach to spray drift management before consultation period closes on 30 March 2018. The purpose of the proposed approach is to:

  • Enable more reasonable buffer zones to be set
  • Provide clearer label instructions and increase flexibility
  • Support the use of drift reducing technologies (DRT)

Growers have both moral and legal obligations to ensure that spray applications do not impact neighbouring landowners. There are many industry Codes of Practice advocating that growers consider weather conditions, droplet size and other factors to manage spray drift as part of best practice.

Many horticulture industries employ the use of shielded sprayers to better target their pesticide applications between crop rows to reduce the effects of herbicide and minimise off-target drift. The banana industry utilises application methods such as bell, bunch and butt injection to administer insecticides as well as dusting, which takes place in bunch bags. These methods of application all minimise pesticides reaching non-target areas. Growers are consistently undertaking training in Chemcert and similar programs where they are educated in nozzle choice, droplet size, wind strength, temperature and the effects these factors have on spray drift.

However mandatory buffer zones are something that is of particular concern to horticulture as buffers eat into the amount of arable land that growers can use for production. Many horticultural properties are small in size especially when compared to the broad-acre cropping scale. There are production areas that are still peri-urban and these producers are most likely to be affected by buffers or no spray zones.
The APVMA’s proposal has a number of documents that:

  • Describe the framework and its elements
  • Enable a risk assessment to be conducted so that buffers can be set
  • Allow the assessment of Drift Reducing Technologies (DRT)
  • Describe how information and data related to spray drift management may be generated and submitted
  • Offer standard scenarios of worst case scenarios for various application methods
  • Determine boundaries for droplet size offering comparison from different testing facilities which can be compared so that they are consistent with APVMA droplet size standards

APVMA will use the Spray Drift Management Tool (SDMT) to put buffers relevant to the use of DRTs on labels or permits. In the future its use may be expanded to allow users to reduce buffer zones where they are restricting the way the product is used to a greater extent than required by the approved label (or permit). Buffer zones are recalculated according to the chemical users’ own circumstances including their specific equipment, application rate, and weather conditions.

The proposed framework will initially only apply to new chemistries and chemical reviews.
The APVMA is seeking stakeholder input on the draft proposal for spray drift risk assessment and encourages written submission by emailing enquiries@apvma.gov.au 
For further information click here.

APVMA performance improves

The APVMA has suffered much disruption in the last 12 months and this has left a mark on its performance. However the statistics from the December quarter show that assessment being finalised on time has increased to 74 per cent. The APVMA reports that 803 applications were finalised by agvet chemical regulators between October and December 2017 – 594 of which were completed within the legislative time frame. It is good to see these numbers are improving, however one still laments why the disruption was caused in the first place.

APVMA Chief Executive Officer, Dr Chris Parker, is quick to acknowledge the resilience of his staff and their performance improvement in a range of areas, despite intense public scrutiny. Dr Parker also acknowledges there will be continued volatility in the performance figures but is positive that these will improve. To read more click here.

The APVMA was under an independent review of their operational performance commissioned in August 2017. Undertaken by the Reason Group, the review identified the root cause of delays to the APVMA’s assessments. Multiple factors were found to contribute to the fluctuation in performance. APVMA has accepted all recommendations in the review and will implement immediate priorities to improve future performance by:

  • Better use of legislative instruments
  • Exploring earlier rejections of poor quality submissions
  • Improved management of backlogs
  • Lowering sign off of decisions to assessment teams

To read more click here.
To read the review click here.

Grains research shows resistance found – fungicides and herbicides 

Recent studies have found resistance in barley spot form of net blotch in Western Australia and ryegrass in New South Wales. Net blotch is a common disease of barley and is caused by the fungus Pyrenophora teres. It has two forms: the spot form (SFNB) and the net form (NFNB). The spot form is more common in Victoria, due to the widespread cultivation of susceptible varieties. The net form is becoming more prevalent due to the increased adoption of susceptible varieties. Both diseases can be effectively managed by using a combination of varietal selection, crop rotation and fungicides.

Dr Fran Lopez-Ruiz leads the Centre for Crop and Disease Management research team, supported by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and based in Curtin University (CSU). His team has uncovered barley resistance in SFNB to some Group 3 DeMethylation Inhibitors (DMI) fungicides.

Dr Lopez-Ruiz said, “The Group 3 resistance finding in SFNB in WA should act as a reminder to growers and advisers that it is best practice to implement a fungicide application plan as part of integrated disease management strategies for season 2018.” To read more click here.

Infopest list fungicide registrations for the following modes of action: Group 3; Group 7 and Group 3/11. Therefore options are somewhat limited.

Annual ryegrass is one of the most serious and costly weeds of cropping systems in southern Australia as it produces an extremely high number of seeds per plant. It is also highly competitive and is a host for the bacteria Clavibacter spp. that cause annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT). Annual ryegrass can be infected by ergot fungus and many populations have developed resistance to both selective and non-selective herbicides.

Resistance management of this weed has been a constant battle for the grains industry. For the past 10 years CSU, through the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation, has been conducting annual surveys as part of several GRDC investments to determine the level of herbicide resistance across the cropping regions of NSW. In the most recent survey, of the 597 annual ryegrass populations collected across NSW for each region, 497 had enough seed to be tested to five selective herbicide groups: A fop, A dim, B SU, B Imi and D. Resistance to three or more herbicide groups were found in nearly half of these samples, while eight of the populations were resistant to all five herbicides which limit the ryegrass control options for growers. For further information, click here.

Infopest lists 186 products, from modes of actions A through to Q, for use on ryegrass but not all are registered for each individual grain commodity. For registered options, search by the individual grain commodity to avoid confusion.

GRDC recently held a Grains Research Update in Perth from 26-27 February to cover the discovery of DMI resistance in SFNB and other wide-ranging fungicide resistance research being undertaken at the Centre for Crop Disease Management (CCDM). To register for future events, visit their pages for dates and venues suitable for you:
Alternatively, contact convenor the Grain Industry Association of WA (GIWA) on 08 6262 2128 or researchupdates@giwa.org.au

Organic pesticides

A number of online sources have picked up stories announcing a new copper fungicide / bactericide in organic and conventional crop production being registered for use in the US. The fungicide in question, Kocide 3000-O, is now registered for organic use on citrus, conifers, field crops, small fruits, tree crops, vegetables and vines. As with new conventional products, it will probably take some time before this product reaches registration on Australian shores. To read more, click here.

Have you ever heard the myth that organic farms don’t use pesticides? Most of the readership would be aware that this is in fact not true. The Australian Certified Organic Standard 2017 v1 lists 14 crop production inputs which are approved for the purposes of pest management. This means that these products still have to be assessed by the APVMA for the purposes of crop safety and residues, not to mention environmental and human health. Infopest lists 34 products which are sold as organic. They range from Azadirachtin (neem) to pyrethrins and sulphur.

So what makes organic farming different to conventional farming? It’s not the use of pesticides, it’s the origin of the pesticide used. Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly, if at all, before use.

A Google search on “organic pesticides” returns mostly articles on homemade and natural organic pesticides. However, on a commercial scale, the APVMA assesses and registers agricultural and veterinary chemical products. A number of products of biological origin fall into the Agvet Code definition of an agricultural chemical product and therefore must be registered by the APVMA. These are referred to by the term ‘biological agriculture product’.

A biological chemical product is an agricultural chemical product where the active constituent comprises or is derived from a living organism (plant, animal, micro-organism, etc), with or without modification. This includes many products that are commonly referred to as ‘botanicals’, ‘organics’ or ‘herbals’ (where the active constituent comprises an extract derived from an organism rather than the whole organism, it may be accompanied by unidentified components).

Applicants must check their product is regarded by the APVMA as a biological agricultural product before adopting their biological products data requirements. Applicants should seek advice from the APVMA if they are unsure about how a product will be assessed.
There are four major groups of biological products:

  • Group 1: biological chemicals (pheromones, hormones, growth regulators, enzymes and vitamins)
  • Group 2: plant and other extracts (plant extracts, oils)
  • Group 3: microbial agents (bacteria, fungi, viruses, protozoa)
  • Group 4: other living organisms (microscopic insects, plants and animals plus some organisms that have been genetically modified).

The APVMA has detailed requirements for each category. For more on the APVMA’s guidelines, click here.

There’s a map for that!

For people who like visual representations of facts and figures, the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) have produced a comprehensive series of pest distribution maps that show where over 100 weeds and pest animal species occur in Queensland.

Read more…

By clicking on the map and waiting for it to download, viewers can click on the colour coded squares laid over the satellite generated map of Queensland to receive such information as:

  • Weed name (common and botanical)
  • State declaration status
  • Category
  • Notifiable status
  • Weed description
  • Any relevant management fact sheets
  • A picture of the weed

A layer list to the right of screen allows you to select particular weeds and filter in or out with the species of interest. As with Google maps, the user can zoom in or out with the map scale.
So if you’re concerned about weeds? This map’s worth a look.
To view the map, click here.

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Infopest is proudly sponsored by WFI one of Australia’s leading providers of business insurance, farm insurance & strata insurance.

To join our sponsors, please contact Janine Clark on 07 36203844 or jclark@growcom.com.au